Today Hosni Mubarak decided to bring the last of his regime down. Egypt’s former president had already made this decision throughout his 30 year reign, and again when he ordered a futile crackdown on the Egyptian masses. Now, in legal transcripts obtained by Al-Dustur and confirmed by Egyptian officials, Mubarak has denied any responsibility for the thousands of casualties Egyptian security forces produced over a brutal two weeks.
"These accusations are not true at all,” Mubarak told investigators. “I would never participate in the killing of Egyptian citizens. I gave orders to deal with protesters without violence, peacefully, without the use of weapons, or bullets or even carrying weapons during the protests.”
He added of his staggering corruption charges, ''I would never seize state money and I have never acquired anything illegally.”
Not that they needed any more motivation to harden their resolve, but Mubarak’s defiance has already rallied Egyptians to Tahrir Square. Protesters couldn’t have asked for a better kickoff to their “Friday of Last Ultimatum.”
While the swelling of protesters in Tahrir may be new for this week, the Square has remained a hive of activity since Mubarak’s fall on February 11th. Predictions that Egypt’s revolution has stalled or run out of energy are overblown. Revolutions do hit walls and come to a crawl. They are also protracted conflicts by nature, a fact lost in the modern Western idealism of instant gratification, and Egypt’s revolution accords to the preparation and struggle necessary for total revolution. Having witnessed an improper transfer to a military council, Tahrir has experienced periods of quiet without ever going completely silent.
Their struggle for total regime change won’t end in the coming days, but Egyptians will march closer to their ultimate goal over the weekend. After raising a series of protests against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), a de facto government body that has retained control of Mubarak’s security apparatus, Egyptians have built sufficient pressure to openly challenge the military. A general lack of accountability and responsibility has left many revolutionaries to conclude the SCAF, once considered semi-trustworthy, is now their main obstacle in securing their freedom.
Last week many began to demand the resignation of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who heads the SCAF.
Noticeably feeling their heat, the military responded with a pronged assault of token reform and warnings against political escalation. On Tuesday Interior Minister Mansour Al Essawi fired 600 police officers involved in Mubarak’s crackdown, in addition to transferring another 4,000 to new assignments. A national election was also postponed to October or November, as demanded by most protest groups requiring organization. Only these meager measures failed to satisfy Egypt’s hunger for self-determination - most officers won't be tried - then further combusted after the government warned protesters against escalating their demonstrations.
Mohsen al-Fangary, a spokesman for the Armed Forces Supreme Council, told Egyptians on Tuesday night, “the military is supported by the people’s trust and will not tolerate a hijacking of power.”
al-Fangary’s vaguely threatening remarks left protesters infuriated and resolved to continue their revolution to the end. Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, had responded earlier in the day, "It's good that they pushed back elections. That was one of our demands. But they met us partially. We need them to meet our full demands." To that end Friday’s “Last Ultimatum” will demand a time-table for completing Egypt’s revolution, centered on replacing the SCAF with a voter-approved transitional council. Protesters will also reaffirm their demands for justice, from Mubarak’s head to the fingers and toes of those who committed his abuses.
The ex-dictator’s logic is obviously lacking; he generated the very security environment that he now claims to have lost control of.
Far from a cause for negativity, Egypt’s revolution is a beacon of courage, intelligence and perseverance for protesters across the region. In Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, revolutionaries understand from their own circumstances that a long fight lies ahead of them. However they also cite Egyptians as a driving influence in their own quests. “Immediate,” “peaceful” and “orderly” only exist on Washington’s teleprompters and flash cards.
The real world is found in Tahrir Square.