Friday, January 28, 2011

Hosni Mubarak, our man in Cairo: Egypt’s protesters have grown impatient with U.S. realism

By Eric Trager, NY Daily News, Thursday, January 27th 2011


Obama meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the White House in August, 2009.
Pool
Obama meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the White House in August, 2009.
CAIRO – Last night, as the second day of popular demonstrations that have gripped huge chunks of downtown Cairo and beyond continued past dusk, a hundreds-strong crowd outside the Lawyers Syndicate suddenly swapped slogans.

After hours of chanting, “usqut, usqut ya Mubarak!” – “Fall, fall Mubarak!” – they turned their tongues toward another target: “Mubarak ‘ameel American!” – “Mubarak is an American agent!”

It remains unclear where these demonstrations are heading and what their long-term implications will be. But there remains one long-term certainty: Someday, President Hosni Mubarak will either retire or die. And when this happens, he will leave behind approximately 80 million constituents, many of whom will blame the United States for backing his brutal rule even in its most unsympathetic moments.

And the blame game is already starting.

This is not to say that the United States tops the demonstrators’ grievance list – the regime, which has ruled the country for 29 years, does, along with the many facets of its domestic repression. But in conversations, demonstrators routinely express their disapproval of the United States’ longtime financial support for the very security forces that stand in the way of their freedom. They call the U.S. “arrogant,” “disrespectful” and “hypocritical.”

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