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.      

Comments (7)

by John O'Neill on February 12, 2011
John O'Neill

Has there ever been in human history a more civilised revolution? I salute the new  Egyptians.

by Ian MacKay on February 12, 2011
Ian MacKay

John. Hope you are right but the next few weeks, months years will be pretty tough. How do you dismantle a system that is at least 30years old? What do do with the corrupt, the torturers, the owners of the big hotels in a way that do not replicate the previous injustices? What do you do with the political prisoners and how do you reduce unemployment? (A clever economy like NZ doesn't seem able to do the latter.)

by Ross Forbes on February 12, 2011
Ross Forbes

I wonder if the Egyptian military was,... how does one put this, ....offered a small "inducement" by the U.S to unseat Mubarak.After all the 1.5 billion dollars worth of "aid" given by the U.S presently almost wholly goes to the Egyptian military to act as sherrif enforcing israeli dominance over the the stateless Palestinians. A steel wall buried 80 feet deep and running much of the length of the border between gaza and Egypt is but one of the civil monuments  bequeathed israel by this "aid".... a fence designed to prevent, among other things, chocolate, concrete and vital medical supplies reaching the drone patrolled desperate region of Gaza.The joint U.S./ Egyptian/Israeli campaign to prevent an outbreak of democracy in the Arab world---[gaza having elected a government in free and fair elections in 2006]---is now under threat and with it the alarming prospect that Egypt might follow Gaza in having a government that respects its people's sovereignity.  

by Jane Young on February 13, 2011
Jane Young

Ross I think you are appears that the military was the conduit between the US and the Mubarak regime and according to the New York Times report today, the military thought Mubarak was a gonner on Thursday night but he changed the script at the last moment which left them all more than a little gob-smacked...the writing was on the wall though - perhaps because it was buried 80 ft deep the old dictator couldn't see it when he needed to!

by Ian Dalziel on February 13, 2011
Ian Dalziel

The last Pharoah is gone

whoa... you "mite" be thinking of Varroa
Mubarak being a honey loving parasitic creature and all...
or even of Farouk

...but I think you mean Pharaoh ... [corrected, thanks Ed.]

and even then he ain't really a dynastic ruler
though once the CIA is involved in placing
heads fo state, they all tend to die nasty...

It will be interesting to see if Suleiman can fill the large boots of his namesake and Middle Eastern predecessor Suleiman the Magnificent and whether he may also wish to sort out, once and for all, the Jerusalem problem...
...  I'm not holding my breath

by stuart munro on February 14, 2011
stuart munro

There's a rumour doing the rounds that Muburak was ready to concede last Monday, but was waiting to complete the repatriation of his wealth.

Nevertheless, a hopeful moment for the middle east.

by Tim Watkin on February 16, 2011
Tim Watkin

Ross/Jane... What I've been wondering is whether the US will use that financial leverage to get elections held, rapidly and fairly. They need to make it quite clear to the generals that the temptation to retain power must be resisted.

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