The last Pharaoh is gone

Mubarak has finally been forced out of office by the will of the people. Egypt's revolution has triumphed...and while the party will continue for some time, there's a major workload ahead for the military ruling council which is now in charge.

Talk about an emotional roller-coaster…but I suppose revolutions are like that!

Mubarak finally got the message that his reign of tyranny is over, and Egypt has erupted after a proud and dignified 18 day fight for basic human rights.

After thirty years there has been an explosion of euphoria in Tahrir Square, throughout Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and across this critical North African Arab state, and the world is witnessing a truly historic moment in this emancipation.

This revolution owes so much to young people who have only ever known Mubarak as the country’s President, and despite his three speeches declaring he will not be moved, and his setting his thugs loose on the crowds, the defiant refused to give in.

A number of them have lost their lives, many thousands others injured in the battle.

The interviews being played by Al-Jazeera live, the BBC and other networks are of people in the crowd and they are choking with emotion and pride.

The party of people from every walk of life will go on for some time but there is no doubt what is ahead will also be challenging.

Mubarak fled Cairo for the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik, and then his Vice President Omar Suleiman announced the President has given up his post and asked the armed forces to be in charge of affairs. The military has been welcomed by the people because it has refrained from firing on them, and in many cases has actually protected the demonstrators. It has a long history of respect from the Egyptian people and over the last 18 days has proven its street cred. The history books will show the army as having seized the opportunity to make a difference for Egyptians in the future. It is likely the army made it clear to Mubarak that it would not turn on the crowds, particulary as it had expected Mubarak to stand down a full twenty four hours before he did.

The military now has a daunting task to complete in satisfying Egyptians who have been willing to risk their lives for freedom, that it will carry out the required purge of the corrupt, and put in place a process that will eventuate in free and fair democratic elections as soon as possible.

As for the wider Middle Eastern-North African community, there will be other autocrats who will be shivering in their jewel encrusted or blood spattered boots. 

Others, in particular Israel, will also fear its ability to continue business as usual.  Its concerns will encompass the continuation of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, the stability in the Sinai, and the security of the Egyptian border with Gaza - i.e. will it stay closed to prevent Palestinians from buying goods from Egypt.  However Egypt is a sovereign state and a new government that will hopefully be democratically elected will make decisions according to the interests of Egyptians, not a neighbour state who occupies Arab lands.

The rest of the Mubarak regime will also be extremely concerned. Their lives of privilege and the baubles of corruption are either over or seriously numbered. A watch on the private jets at Cairo airport would be a fascinating exercise.

It is a critical period of transition and there will be many answers demanded of those who have governed Egypt.  The military governing council will get to work immediately on a transitional constitution.

There is also likely to be a civilian council that works with the military to ensure a transparent implementation of the wishes of a people who refused to believe for one second longer Mubarak's promises of change. Egyptians now have to believe in the next stage of this process, and already the European Union has offered its support for the upcoming election process and the construction of civil soceity that ensures a deep democracy.

It has been an unbelievable 24 hours.  Egyptians have shown they were not prepared to accept anything less than their democratic rights. There is no doubt the last minute turn against the regime by the Egyptian state media –essentially Mubarak’s propaganda machine – had a role to play, but whatever it took will now be for historians to dissect.

Mubarak failed in his last ditch effort to hold on to power. He seriously underestimated the will and strength of a people who finally had had enough oppression. They had not only critical mass, but unwavering conviction that they held the moral high ground, and they have won the applause of many countries from around the world for the dignified way in which they fought this revolution.

They won. He lost. Eat that.