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Thursday, February 10

This Won't End Well

All night (Egyptian local time; GMT +2) suspense had been building as the news spread: President Mubarak would speak to the nation.

Would he resign?

Would he flee the country?

Al Arabiya reported that he'd already left for the resort town of Sharm el Sheikh, and another report surfaced that Saudi Arabia had offered him a home - but hoped he wouldn't leave.

Well, I hope the Saudis are happy. In a rambling speech which I listened to (in translation, on al-Jazeera's live Web feed since my cable provider is a bunch of assholes), Mubarak stated that he wasn't leaving. He rattled off a list of commissions he had set up to investigate who killed the approximately 300 protesters who've died in this uprising, explore ways to amend the Constitution, and hinted that he might lift the temporary state of emergency Egypt has had for the past 29 years.

He also struck me as a senile megalomaniac, since in his speech he identified himself with Egypt, in the best l'etat, c'est moi style.

When he finished, the crowd in Tahrir Square, previously jubilant, was pissed.

I'll repeat that, with emphasis.

They were pissed.

Friday prayers are tomorrow, and I'm afraid there will be blood. Mubarak and his power structure are dug in like wood ticks, and will take a lot of pain and suffering before they can be ripped off the back of the body politic.

Hold onto your hats, dear readers, it's going to get about ten shades of ugly.

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