Editorial: Power to the People
Forty years ago, John Lennon sang about "Power to the People." It was a message Egyptians took to heart to bring down a repressive regime.
Throughout 18 days of ever-growing demonstrations in Tahrir Square, the Egyptian people stood resolute that Hosni Mubarak must step down—and on Friday he did just that, ending three decades of autocratic rule.
This was the first revolt fueled by computer technology and social media, with Twitter, Facebook and e-mail messages serving as rallying points for the populace. Young people ages 10-24 make up almost a third of Egypt’s population, so it was only fitting that they turned to the internet to draw these disparate groups together. That tech-savvy youthful enthusiasm was one of the hallmarks of this revolution.
Americans were kept in the dark about Mubarak’s rule in Egypt. As long as he was a reliable ally of the U.S., both in the fight against global terrorism and in dealings with Israel, we turned a blind eye to the state of martial law that existed in his own country’s borders. Recently, it appeared that Mubarak was setting the stage for a monastic dynasty, with the possibility that he would hand the reins of power to his son, Gamal. That concern may have been the final straw that drove Egyptians to action.
Much is unknown about the eventual outcome of this situation: Will the Muslim Brotherhood assume a large role in the new government, turning the country into theocratic republic akin to Iran? Will the new Egypt be hostile to U.S. interests? Will Egypt’s relations with Israel sour?
But despite these fears, there is much hope that this new nation will emerge as a friend and partner, and a model for other countries suffering under the despot’s heel.