Like most people living in the Middle East I have been glued to Al Jazeera and internet coverage of the momentous events taking place in Egypt. Since 25th January, the beginning of the protests, I have been constantly impressed by the mostly peaceful nature of the protests on the part of the Egyptian citizens. I have noted, with some disdain that the majority of violent acts have been perpetrated by the police force, up to and including murder of protesters.
|Egyptian National Museum|
As we enter the fifth day of the protests there is a complete absence of police officers. They have simply vanished into thin air. Security is left to the army who are patrolling and guarding the main thoroughfares and business districts. The neighborhoods however, have no protection against the unsavory element that has emerged over the past day. These people, in groups and singly, have been looting shops and private homes. They even entered the Egyptian National Museum and damaged many priceless historical objects.
|Ritual figures of King Tutankhamum dating from 1324 BCE|
In response to the damage to the museum artefacts Egyptians formed a human chain around to prevent further entry and damage.
With the lack of a police presence and the army busy in the larger areas, citizens have taken on the role of protectors of their homes, streets and neighborhoods. In most neighborhoods around the city men have formed watch groups. They stand guard at intersections and entrances to residential areas stopping cars to ensure they have legitimate reasons for being there and they are patrolling the streets to ensure no more homes are broken into and robbed.
Again I am impressed by the citizenry of Egypt. They are comporting themselves with pride and dignity worthy of admiration.
The demands of the Egyptian people are very simple. They want to live a life that allows them to work and support themselves and their families. Currently the vast majority must try to subsist on less than two dollars a day. Unemployment is rampant and hope, until now has been nonexistent under the thirty year iron fist of a ruthless dictator.
Every person has certain inalienable rights to the four freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are: freedom of speech, belief, freedom from want and freedom from fear. The will of the people is supposed to be the basis of the authority of government. That right has been denied Egyptians for thirty years. Now, they are taking back that right. Their voices are being heard round the world and eventually must be heard by Hosni Mubarak. The time has come for the dictator to relinquish his office and allow the people to decide what form their government will take.
I stand in complete awe of the people of Egypt.
They have my highest admiration and my constant prayers for their success.