Hosni Mubarak’s reaction to the unrest in Egypt reminds me of the Shah of Iran at the height of the Iranian Revolution. He, the Shah, acted as if he were a constitutional monarch who had been badly advised by venal, corrupt, and unresponsive ministers. He felt that reshuffling the second and third levels of leadership would be enough to quell the opposition. Refusing to take responsibility for the system he created and maintained, the Shah never understood the depths and causes of popular discontent. He went into exile in a haze of total unreality.
Mubarak too is acting as if he has been a constitutional monarch whose ministers have let him down. He names a Vice President and sacks his cabinet then instructs the new group to be responsive to popular demands. He is attempting to identify with public opinion against the government he leads thereby denying responsibility for system he has led for a generation.
As in the case of Iran thirty years ago Egypt today has reached this juncture because of what was done or not done at the very top level of decision making. At any point is his reign the Shah could have initiated serious political reform. He refused to change and lost his throne. The same can be said of Mubarak. His has been the only voice of consequence in Egypt for three decades. He could have raised that voice favor of transformation but he was silent. He too will lose his throne and go into exile wondering what happened.
Donn M. Kurtz II, Ph. D., taught political science at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette from 1969 until his retirement in 2007. He lives in Grand Coteau, Louisiana.
"[DNC Chair Tom Perez] has gotten instructions from Bill Clinton not to let the party go to the Bernie Sanders folks." - Jonathan Allen, co-author of Shattered, revealing new material in the upcoming paperback release pic.twitter.com/dLEnwl7kIc— HootHootBerns 🌹🐦 (@HootHootBerns) May 3, 2018