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« Intriguing peripheral character | Main | The symbiotic cycle of cable life »

Jan 28, 2011


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Well, actually people were in the streets well before he shut down the net. Point taken, though.

His speech a little bit ago shows no recognition of the current reality, much less an acceptance of it. He spoke as a monarch dispensing favors on the little people. Not that that's a surprise.


I saw someone today who compared events in Egypt with the collapse of the Soviet Union. I don't think that's an apt comparison.

If the Mubarak regime collapses, something needs to step in and fill the vacuum. Does Egypt have enough capable, honest opposition figures that could form an interim government? I don't know. If not, then the vaccum could easily be filled with a military junta. (El-Baradei is the country and under house arrest. He is one possible focal point.)

In contrast, the republics of the Soviet Union had, thanks to Gorbachev, legislatures of not entirely puppet-like status. In fact, this was one of Gorbachev's problems: People stopped paying attention to Moscow.

Russia had its legislature and it had Boris Yeltsin. When the August coup failed, experienced politicians and bureaucrats were ready, and eager, to take down the hammer and sickle.

A very telling moment soon after Gorbachev returned from house arrest to Moscow: Gorbachev and Yeltsin held a live news conference on TV. At one point, Gorbachev, obviously not at all read in on the earthshaking changes that happened while he was locked up in his Crimean dacha, started talking as if everyone and everything would go back to the status quo ante. A visibly angry Yeltsin walked across the stage, stood in front of Gorbachev, repeatedly pounded the chest of the USSR president with his index finger, and demanded that Gorbachev tell the truth. Power had shifted.

I don't expect to see anyone in Egypt pounding a finger on Mubarak's chest.


Compelling live stream at Al Jazeera

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