Clock has begun ticking for progress

Keith Kaczmarek

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The revolution in Egypt has achieved an incredible symbolic trimpuh by forcing the removal of the aging Mubarak, but this is not the time to claim victory.

Egyptian politics has been marred by corruption for the last thirty years ranging from widespread accusations of voter fraud, embezzlement of government money by the military and the use of secret police to kill or imprison political opposition.

As of today, the mostly bloodless revolution has forced the military to remove the President, dissolve the Parliament, suspend the Constitution and promise a peaceful transition to democratically-elected representatives in six months, but this is the time to be careful.

The question is: can a nation with a history of corruption, rigged elections and the widespread use of secret police to silence political opposition actually make the transition to a democracy, or will the exact same people continue to hold power from the shadows?

President Mubarak may be on the way out, but if the rumors of the 82-year-old’s ill health and possible cancer are true, a regime change may have already been in the works. The military power players may have already decided to continue the same old dirty tricks of voter fraud and secret police crackdowns to put their own proxies into positions of power.

Certainly, with Mubarak’s personal wealth gained from the plunder of Egypt’s coffers and estimated to be around 50 to 70 billion dollars, there is more than enough money to manipulate Egyptian politics for decades to come and he is only one of the key players in Egypt’s military who has billions to spend.

For now, hundreds of peaceful protesters have been killed, thousands more imprisoned during the protests, reporters have been attacked and news agencies censored, and secret police have sought out possible opposition leaders in their homes and businesses for arrest and imprisonment.

The international community’s support has been tepid at best out of fear of an unfriendly Muslim government arising out of the chaos and the economic troubles that caused the protests in the first place have not been addressed. That being said, this is a time for hope.

Social media has been used to shield the leaders of this revolution and keep the secret police off-balance and chasing shadows and we can only hope that these same leaders keep to the shadows and work behind the scenes to give birth to a new democracy in the face of men who have been using wealth and military power to prop up a corrupt regime.

The next six months will be a proving ground for the concessions wrested from a government under threat of revolution and we will see if a real democracy will be allowed once the protesters go home and life goes back to normal.

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