Whether the rule of President Hosni Mubarak ends sooner or later, things will never be the same again in Egypt. No matter what reforms he undertakes, it will only delay the cries of the political mob.
The development in Egypt is yet a further reminder to politicians of whatever class that they should not overstay their political tours otherwise their search for exit strategies would earn them the lesson that they don’t necessarily have the nine lives of a cat.
The lesson about Egypt is that people everywhere want their leaders to provide the basics of normal life. These stretch from affordable prices for food, health, education and jobs for the youth.
The scenario in Egypt is not too different as in many other countries although many political freelancers often query where Egypt’s political interests lie whether squarely with the Middle East of the African continent.
Only doubters would have ignored the early signs that the genie would come knocking on the fabrics of democracy in Egypt some dew drops after Tunisia was bowled over.
And unless other countries are quick to draw up their socks they are likely to be next on the hit list.
Every crisis makes us discard traditional ways of looking at events, an Egyptian proverb warns and it takes one or two hot heads to chant ”down with this or that” to get a sizeable crowd into the city centre.
But the dodgy politics Mubarak seemed to be pedaling on would hardly save the day.
Doing the hare trick of waiting until September when Presidential elections are due would be suicidal and the hound pack would be louder.
Frequent visitors to Cairo, the Egyptian capital, always remember with nostalgia that the capital never sleeps. Its bustling noises, crazy if not erratic drivers thumping non stop on their car horns are enough to make one care less about the war in Afghanistan or Iraq.
The world itself is heading to the brink and predictions are chilling. Sharp rise in unemployment, increased poverty, weakened middle class are some of the ills likely.
Recent statistics by the labour guru institution, the International Labour Organization forecasts 60 million more unemployed worldwide with about 200 million workers likely to join the ranks of people living on less than two dollars a day.
So despite the appearance of Egypt being gripped by the political fever of one man, other underlying factors are prevalent.
No doubt, President Mubarak has served his innings but he must be careful not to bat his wicket in the process.
As things are looking gloomy now, it will not be in his interest to hang on to a slowly sinking ship when he has a life line to swing from. After all, wasn’t it in Egypt the other day where one woman brought in on an emergency told doctors she had passed out while she was asleep?
It’s not only to President Mubarak that strange things are happening. But like everything Egyptian, it is difficult to predict whether Mubarak would take the plunge and quit before his term runs out or wait to be pushed violently sooner than later.
By Rod Mac-Johnson