They deserved it – a celebration. That’s what it was at Trafalgar Square today. “Good-bye to dictatorship, hello freedom”. The people I captured through my camera finder looked joyous.
The tenacity of the Egyptian people who did not compromise with Mubarak deserves to be complimented. As one speaker said at the rally which Amnesty International and TUC jointly hosted, “it was 18-days that shook the world”.
What will be its effect to the rest of Middle East and North Africa? Confronted by their own protests, some political figures have already announced their retirement or some sort of political reform in the near future. But they were only following Mubarak’s line; now the man is ousted. How will they adjust their lip-services?
It is equally true that the foundation of the opposition groups in Egypt and the rest of the region is weak. Surely people were united to get rid of what they did not want but how will they shape-up the new society?
Just to focus on the trade union movement, the “official” national centre ETUF made that shameless statement on 2 February to show their allegiance to the master they have served for such a long time. They have dug their own graveyard by doing so. In the meantime, new unions are born out of this struggle. Some completely outside of the existing structure; others within. We have seen many strike actions in conjunction with the mass protests, too. Can the new unionism replace the old-guards completely? We certainly need an urgent program to foster them, in my view.
The road ahead will not be short and easy. But today they will celebrate their landmark victory to take on that huge task from tomorrow.