Ashish Malhotra | FOLLOW THE LEADER

I know I wrote about him last week, but a follow up on Hosni Mubarak is necessary. After all, I did waste my Thursday afternoon waiting for this man to announce his resignation after over two weeks of vociferous protests against him. Of course, he took his own sweet time to show up. When he finally did, he shocked everyone, including the Egyptian army, by not stepping down. These world leaders really can be stubborn sometimes can’t they?

When the speech finally began, I knew it was not going to go well. “I am addressing you all from the heart, a father’s dialogue with his sons and daughters.” Great start, Hosni. I’m sure the millions of people who hate you haven’t had enough of you patronizing them for the past 30 years.

The majority of the speech that followed was largely an incomprehensible mishmash of words. What on earth was this man talking about? Granted, some things may have been lost in translation. However, the Twitter feeds, Facebook statuses and flabbergasted faces of my friends as we watched the speech confirmed that there was widespread confusion about his central thesis.

Maybe he was trying to confuse us by talking a load of rubbish and lulling us into sleep, boredom and apathy. Maybe this is what he has done to the Egyptian people for 30 years. I must admit that when he casually mentioned that he was delegating his power to Vice President Omar Suleiman, arguably the most important part of the speech, I had already tuned out.

Even the few parts of the speech that had some semblance of grammatical and structural sense showed the complete and utter disconnect between Mubarak and his people. His tangential narcissistic rant about how much he had done for the country in times of war and peace only further angered the crowd. His constant allusions to seeing the country through its current “hard times” overlooked the fact that the turmoil and anger were centered on him. Finally, his strong statement about not giving in to foreign pressure seemed to ignore the fact that the pressure was coming from his own people. Mind you, I guess Tahrir Square is “foreign” when you rarely leave the safe confines of your presidential palace.

Mubarak’s defiance did not last long, with a 49−second address from Suleiman announcing that Mubarak was stepping down, coming a day later. After 18 days of protests, people power had prevailed.

It is unclear what exactly transpired behind the scenes during those last two days. Thursday’s speech could have signified a few things: a deluded dictator who had lost his sense of reality, a calculated political move to either escape prosecution by retaining the title of president despite delegating power to Suleiman or a chance for the Mubaraks to move around and salvage the billions of dollars they had surely stolen from the country and deposited overseas.

Indeed, reports that have come out since Thursday indicate that Mubarak’s speech had been in direct defiance of what the military had instructed and that he really did not have a good grasp on reality. This may not have been because of purely unfounded delusion as much as it was about the way the revolution was portrayed by those closest to him, such as his son Gamal.

I’ll see you all in two weeks, for I believe I have Presidents Day off. I have to say, that I’m glad Presidents Day is not a day off in Egypt. If it were, I am quite sure that Mubarak, who will now have the day off as well, would think it had been created to celebrate Hosni Mubarak (yes, he would be thinking in third person) and all the “sacrifices” he made for his country. Nobody wants that.

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