Mubarak Steps Down

At 9:15 on Friday morning, I woke up (no school thanks to Winter Break!), wondering what would happen in Cairo.  I learned from the New York Times that Mubarak had reportedly left Cairo:

So where did he go? Apparently, he has a palace on the Red Sea:

With all the people praying on Friday in and around Tahrir Square, ready to take action once they were done praying, I guess it made sense for Mubarak to leave town.

Here are some tweets from Nick Kristof at 9:20 a.m. on Friday (that’s 9:20 a.m. North Carolina time, so 4:20 p.m. in Egypt):

The next time I was able to check the news — about two hours later (11:20 a.m.), I learned that Egypt’s Vice President had announced the news everyone was waiting for:

Mubarak resigned!

Here’s a sampling of headlines from the web, starting with the New York Times:

The Washington Post:

From NPR, with a nice picture of the mass of people in Tahrir Square:

From the Wall Street Journal:

And from the BBC:

“So it’s over?” I can hear some of my students asking… well no, there’s just a different leadership.  Now Mubarak is gone, but he’s been ruling for 30 years and he’s shaped all sorts of aspects of the government.  I mean, think about how much FDR shaped the U.S. government during his New Deal when he was President for 13 years (1932-1945).  Mubarak has been leader of Egypt for TWICE that long.  It will take some doing to establish a new government — one that ideally will be more responsive to the people.  But what shape that new government will take place is unclear.

I just (early Sunday morning) read an account in the Washington Post that says that intellectuals and leaders are wondering about the timetable for a new election.  When will that happen? 

Other concerns include where Mubarak is located (more on that in a little bit), and interestingly, the events in Cairo have also inspired protests in Baghdad (though only about 200 people showed up)

And once again (just above this text in the lower left corner), the issue is raised about where Egypt’s money went for the past 30 years — a good question to ask, since Mubarak himself is worth at least 40 billion dollars.

This story is far from over, but let’s take a moment to celebrate the power of the people with this great headline from the L.A. Times that captures the exuberance of the protestors in Tahrir Square at the moment when they learned that Mubarak had stepped down:

To further “bring history to life,” here’s a great selection of more than 200 pictures that are arranged by date, going from the start of the protests on Tuesday Jan 25 through the Step-Down on Friday Feb 11th.  Here’s one picture from that series I like a lot — mainly because I can’t figure out how this guy is balancing the bread on his head 🙂

When you go to the pictures, you will see this timeline:

Actually, they keep updating it — I just checked the link to make sure it still works, and this is a picture from Feb 12, of people cleaning up Tahrir Square:

The cleaning theme was big in Saturday night’s news as well — here are two more pictures of people cleaning up Tarhir Square.  The first, from the NYT, also asks the question about whether what just happened in Egypt with a leader being toppled might look similar to what happened in Iran in 1979.

And here’s a final clean-up picture from the LA Times on Saturday:

Speaking of a clean-up, what’s going to happen to Mubarak?  Here’s a nice map showing where (we think) Mubarak went:

It’s stunning how much the world of the Middle East has changed in just 18 days.  But as this headline shows, many issues remain, and the protests have moved into Day 19 and Day 20.  Tahrir Square may look clean and tidy, but the country underneath is messy and will take time to sort out…

I like thinking about what the scenes of celebration among Egyptians abroad look like.  The lower left of this account says there was Euphoria in D.C., presumably near the Egyptian Embassy.  I heard a piece on NPR about a section of Queens, NY, with a high Egyptian population (it’s called “Little Egypt”) that also had a big celebration.  The effects are being felt all over the world.  Here’s a nice mother-daughter picture from Atlanta:


About Steve Goldberg

I teach students at Research Triangle High School (RTHS) about US History. RTHS is a public charter school in Durham, NC, whose mission is to incubate, prove and scale innovative models of teaching and learning. The blog posts here reflect my own personal views and not those of my employer.
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