Sunday, February 27, 2011

Growing Pains - It's Time to Stop

I thought I might have heard gun shots during the post midnight celebrations, but figured they must have been fireworks. The news the next morning reported that indeed it was gunfire, directed at the air and aimed to get protesters to clear the square. It's not clear how extensive the conflict was, but apparently several were mishandled as the army tried to exert some authority. By mid next day, the army had issued a formal apology.

A movement of this magnitude is bound to have mis-steps - whether by protesters or authorities. In general, it seems, it has been remarkably orderly and mature. From many - old and young alike - I've heard that it is now time to stop. Not that all has been achieved, but many recognize that it will take time for changes to take effect. No doubt most are pleased that Mubarak is gone (although many are careful to lay the blame not on him personally, but on the excesses of one of his sons, Gamal). Some wish for a full cleansing of his ministers and continue to protest for their removal. Many others, though, seem willing to give the military time to re-organize the government and to accept the continuing role of some of Mubarak's associates - especially Shafiq, the former head of the airforce.

"It's time to be quiet," said a teacher to me in the square last week. "We need to be careful now; these are good people that are leading us now." "We've done enough now," said 22 year-old Walid, who had spent several days at the square during the movment. "It's time to let the government and the military do their work."

With full confidence he completed his thought: "If they mess up. We'll go back to the square."

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