I’m not entirely sure if there are any “good guys” in the whole Egypt political situation, but I’ve nonetheless been impressed with the Egyptian military. Whether they truly believe in their role as protectors of the people, or they’re at least smart enough to appear as though they do. This is twice now they’ve stepped in to recognize the public vote of “no confidence” in the ruling government and forcing elections. I don’t know the situation well enough to say they haven’t done their share of meddling in the elections they call for and help ensure, but seriously, how often do we see a military back the people over the entity that pays their paychecks?
Perhaps that’s the problem. Maybe the government hasn’t been paying their checks.
But usually the military props up the unpopular ruler, not gives them a deadline to step down in response to the people. It appears that the military there is doing a pretty good job of trying to uphold rule of law while honoring the will of the people. They haven’t attempted to wrest control of the country for themselves (perhaps that’s a statement on the state of the nation–they don’t want a mess that big!). They’ve simply stepped forward and said, “Enough is enough. The people are upset, and will only be placated by your removal. You will therefore respect their wishes and step down while we choose someone else.”
Meanwhile, the people themselves are showing amazing solidarity. I’ve been seeing headlines lauding the largest protests in the world. Granted, that may only be because they feel they can trust their military to protect them from the government, but it’s telling nonetheless. They may not agree on what shape the change should take, and it may take them a few tries to get it right, but they are coming together in unprecedented numbers.
It’s exciting to see–from a safe distance–but it seems apt to salute the people of Egypt on the day we celebrate our own revolution. I wish them luck and hope they can find a better road forward.