February 11, 2011
At one point I had some sympathy for Hosni Mubarak’s desire for an honourable way out. He had ruled the roost for 30 years, and if he could be eased out with “honour,” it would make the transition easier.
But the more I think about it, the more I have to come to the conclusion that Mubarak, like all despots, plays a dangerous game. When you hold onto power with the use of force, the only way you can be removed is by an equal and opposite force.
In Mubarak’s case, he had to depend on the army and security forces to keep a lid on dissent. When the people found a way around that — by routing the police and befriending the army — the game was up.
And as for Mubarak’s so-called honour, well, many Egyptians would likely scoff at that idea when they have been treated with dishonour for decades. Mubarak and his cronies have amassed a fortune in the billions. He lives in palaces built for him in various parts of the country. And all this while ordinary Egyptians are living in poverty and have no real hope of even aspiring to middle class status — because disparities between rich and poor have become so great that a middle class no longer really exists.
In military terms, Mubarak has been discharged without honour. And he deserves it.