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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dictators Don't Leave Easily

It may be history in the making for Egypt. Thousands have gathered under immense pressure and against all odds with unyielding fervour to unseat a dictator. The handwriting may be on the wall for him, but it is hard for him to swallow some very harsh realities.

Regretfully, the Middle Eastern countries and some African nations are plagued by such regimes. Where a man's word and whim becomes the law at any given moment. The dictators do not leave easily, no matter how clear as day the reality may be. It is their false ego and pride, which becomes the biggest impediment in their way.

Undoubtedly, the people are praiseworthy who have taken the batons, the tear gas, the bullets and have still stood firm, all this while. Almost 3 weeks and their spirits have not dwindled. There is one thing for sure, with their undying presence at the streets, the spirit of the dictator is weakening day by day.

Behind the scenes, there are the "invisible diplomatic efforts", of Obama administration, which impact the day to day occurrence we witness in the news media. Mr. Obama's direct yet honest message to the Egyptian people has given them hope, that someone out there is listening, feeling and watching their agony rather intently.

It may be a forgone conclusion, that despite his desperate efforts to dig his heels, Mr. Mubarik may have to leave prior to his planned date of departure. The recent announcement of delegation of some of his powers to the Vice President Suleiman may be a precursor to the inevitable.

At several discussions with my readers at other forums, I raised a simple question of reasoning and logic with them. If people have the right to elect some one to the office, then they have the right to dismiss them from the office as well. It is like an employee who was selected for a certain job by a group of people with consensus. Now the performance of the employee has been so below par that, termination or voluntary resignation are the only options. Mr. Mubarik knows that his days are numbered and sooner he leaves, it will be a great service to his country and the disgruntled employers (read countrymen).

But to the valiant people of the gifted land of Egypt, those empty stomachs and pale faces, here comes the bigger and harsher reality to cope with. Even if the much loathed Mubarik leaves, their woes and cries will not come to a screeching halt. The protests might come to an end, but the pains will still carry on. Any new administration, will have a juggernaut of a task to deal with. A torn nation to unite, opportunities to create and invite prosperity to reign. That's where time and efforts will be needed from one and all. Often the charged populace expects miracles from the new faces, which would be next to impossible. When the pace of change is not up to their expectations, they are overwhelmingly dismayed and disgruntled, and lose faith in the process.

This is where US and its cautious diplomatic engagement will be required. Egypt is not Iraq and policy makers in Washington are hopefully familiar with the fact, that "one size fits all" policy will not work in the Middle East. By the same token, engagement with Israel and the Palestinians will be very meaningful. The stalled peace dialogue between the two must be revived and tensions in the Middle East must be diffused. Hopefully the pundits around Mr. Obama are giving him sound advice. It would go a long way and who knows, he may be able to prove his detractors wrong, who have labelled him the "One Term President", hands down.

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