Autumn of the Pharaoh

Hosni Mubarak just finished telling the people of Egypt and the world that he has no intention of stepping down from his seat of power until September.  In the meantime, his Vice-President and former head of Egypt’s internal security apparatus has assumed some of the president’s duties, including the military.  One anticipates this with a certain amount of fear for the Egyptian people.  Naturally, the reaction of the millions of people protesting around Egypt to Mubarak’s announcement was one of incredible and justified anger.  It is a definite certainty now that the next day of protests will be very large and angry.  The reaction of the army and security police is difficult to predict.

A report I read on Thursday quoted Alon Ben-Mair of New York University’s Global Affairs department regarding the demand that Mubarak step down.  He was quoted as saying: “Mubarak’s ultimate fate will send a very strong signal to the rest of the Arab states. No Arab leader wants to leave his office in disgrace; they will resist and resort to any coercive means at their disposal to stay in power. Egypt can provide an example of an orderly transfer of power, allowing its leader to depart in a manner befitting Egypt’s standing.”

Besides pointing out the professor’s preference for Washington’s stability-over-democracy approach to Arab governments, his statement also assumes a rather trite and Orientalist bit of nonsense.  Are we supposed to believe that Mubarak is having a more difficult time giving up his powers as head of state than Richard Nixon, the overthrown dictator Nicolae Ceau?escu of Romania or South Vietnam’s President Thieu?  Are we to assume that they were not disgraced by their fall?  Furthermore, are we supposed to believe that the reason Mubarak is having such difficulty admitting that it’s the end is because he is Arab?  This Orientalist tripe has been an underlying part of the narrative around Egypt’s revolution ever since the first protests against Mubarak’s regime on January 25, 2011.

Mr. Mubarak’s refusal to heed the masses demand that he leave before any transitional government takes over is not related to his Arab ancestry.  It is related, however, to his sociopathic megalomania.  This sociopathy afflicts almost every powerful man to some degree and reaches its zenith in the psyches of authoritarian rulers like Hosni Mubarak.  This is why virtually every other authoritarian ruler that has left their office has departed via resignation, popular uprising or coup.  In Mr. Mubarak’s case, he also benefits from the monetary support of Washington.  In fact, until we are told differently, he is still the beneficiary of that capitol’s political support as well.  I won’t be convinced otherwise until the monetary support is suspended.

There is a statement attributed to John Kennedy that reads: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”  One wonders if these words will come true in Egypt in ways much bloodier than they already have.  If they do, the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of the man who claims to love his country more than his power—Hosni Mubarak.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625@charter.net

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes