February 11 is the 21st anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. His freedom lead to a peaceful South African democratic revolution and an end to Apartheid. February 11 is the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian Revolution deposing the Shah’s regime. It established an Islamic totalitarian theocracy founded by Ayatollah Khomeini. On this important date of either/or outcomes in revolutions past, Egypt now begins advancing on its own either/or, freedom or fascist, path on yet another 11 February.
The world was changed by the horrors of 9/11/1. The world was changed once again, hopefully for the better on 2/11/11.
On that day, Friday prayers across Egypt where answered when a bloodless military coup forced the dictator of 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, to resign from office, handing the government over to an Egyptian military council of generals. These generals have promised all democratic reforms demanded by millions of Egyptians demonstrating on the streets for 18 days will be addressed and if reasonable will be initiated.
2/11/11 is the end of the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution.
I expect there will be a few days of national celebrations, reverberating out of Egypt sending a chill through kings and dictators across the Arab world and black-cloaked theocrats in Iran. After which, the world will watch and wait for the real work to begin. The Egyptian people will face Herculean challenges when they tackle dismantling and politically democratizing the longest sustained and most ancient of autocratic states, dating back 5,100 years to the appearance of the first totalitarian Pharaohs in 3100 b.c.e. Egypt evolved the concept of totalitarian rule without disruption from the beginning of known civilization up to February 11, 2011.
All things must end and most things end later than they should, like dictatorship. However, ancient habits are as stubborn as the last modern Pharaoh, who after 30 years on the “throne” as Egypt’s president apparently confounded his own generals as much as his people when Mubarak on the night of February 10 did not announce as expected that he would step down. The following day, his generals threatened to discard their uniforms and stand with the demonstrators. Now a handful of them run the government by decree. One might hope that their hearts are with the people, that they have abandoned the tyrannical habits and traditions of Egypt’s past. Still, habits die hard. Ancient habits can preserve themselves like a mummy sealed by the sarcophagus of traditional human programming.
The Egyptian army officer corps is a be-medaled aristocracy serving autocracy. These princes and barons of the regime and their families live in gated communities of mansions well guarded, often outside of the squalor of urban Egypt. This officer class controls most of the industry and the wealth of an impoverished developing country of 80 million — 40 percent of which live in crushing poverty.
Are pharaoh’s princelings just another junta? Are they cousin-junta brothers of other gun toting aristocracies who are a breeding ground for new dictators set on and sometimes pushed off the pyramid point of hierarchical power? Is there really any difference between this military class that chooses from its ranks the megalomaniacal figure head-case of state like they do in Myanmar or North Korea, or can we hope for more from Egypt’s military upper crust?
On 2/11/11, the Egyptian people have been handed over to this “Junta-tocracy” by their departing head general-president-dictator. This upper class was sustained and empowered by three decades of Mubarak’s ruthless, perpetual, emergency rule (a euphemism for fascism). Will the army leaders relinquish their power to civilian government when — if — it is or even can be established in Egypt?
Will a general in today’s emergency military council granted the power by a fallen dictator to dictate by decree be the next installment of a modern variation of ancient Egyptian authoritarian habit?
Back in 1952, an officer corps coup lead by Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk I of Egypt, establishing exactly the same model committee of generals in an interim government that led the Nasser’s dictatorship. The question waiting an answer in the future is this: does this new handful of generals have within their ranks, another Nasser, another Sadat even another Mubarak waiting in the wings, or do they have a Mustafa Kemal?
This Cincinnatus of the Muslim world was a general who with the help of the Turkish officer corps became the first president, and some would say enlightened authoritarian dictatorial “President George Washington”, of the Modern Turkish Republic in the early 1920s. Nicknamed Atatürk (Father of the Turks), Kemal instigated what has since been an ongoing, difficult half-century-long-and-counting process taking Turkey beyond Ottoman autocracy towards becoming the Islamic world’s most advanced and secular democracy. The Turkish Army for much of that process has stood guard. In the name of Kemalism, they have sometimes ruthlessly suppressed opposition parties promoting communism or Islamic jihad.
Egypt can go back to the future it knows. It can talk democratic reform until the chaos of such aspirations requires a new strongman, a new Mubarak-like regime to restore order. On the other hand, the interim Egyptian Army officer council could begin the decades-long, difficult task that Turkish officers under their leader Mustafa Kemal initiated after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War.
Egypt can go back to a new future — a Turkish-like manifest destiny, using the army as an evolving and institutionalized referee in the messy democratic process to come. This committee of officers can be enlightened authoritarians playing the arbiter of fair and measured steps towards a secular-based, religiously tolerant democracy. The army can stand guard against extremists or jihadist parties just as the Turkish Army does even to this day, defining the limits Islamic fundamentalist aspiring parties (such as the one presently in power in Turkey). The Islamic Brotherhood, for instance would not be allowed by the army to exploit democratic chaos in order to establish a theocracy even if it meant rolling out the tanks once again.
The Egyptian military leaders have promised prompt action. Before Mubarak stood down, General Hassan al-Roueini, the military commander for the Cairo area, told protesters in Tahrir Square, “All your demands will be met…”
On 2/11/11, the new military junta loaded action into those words, forcing upon Mubarak a bloodless, inner-palace coup d’état.
Public demand Number One from Tahrir Square has been fulfilled. He has resigned from office, his regime is out.
The next, and perhaps far more difficult, totalitarian power to relinquish by this junta are all the Emergency Laws that Mubarak enabled after taking power when Sadat was assassinated. They are the foundation of his tyrannical rule, granting absolute powers to a thuggish secret police to arrest, sequester without trial and torture Egyptians at any time, anywhere, for any reason, especially if they voice even moderate opposition to the regime.
The new Egyptian regime must rescind these onerous Emergency Laws before I stop calling them a banana republic junta.
It must come very soon, because my oracle is concerned about an astrological aspect approaching after February 23. It heralds a cosmic influence, under which Egyptian masses might mass-unconsciously fall into inattention and violence.
Mercury (ruler of the mind) comes together in the sky with Mars (ruler of new beginnings or impatient tempers, wars) in the sign of Pisces. This water (feminine-emotive) sign is mutable, changeable, like the political currents in the Middle East. It can create a background over which astrological aspects can pass and incline towards their higher or lower potentials. The sign of Pisces as backdrop to the conjunction can promote understanding the universal, the whole, as in a military embracing the universal aspirations of the Egyptian people desiring democracy.
Crowd psychology is ever more prone to the background cosmic forces of negative potential. People in a crowd must retain their individual awareness and forbear Egyptian politics potentially inclining towards mass escapism from hard realities by month’s end. In other words, the people who initiated this revolution with their social networks may start going back to their normal lives under the illusion that somebody, somewhere in this leaderless rebellion will talk with the generals and hash out a plan for free elections.
The difficult work is before the Egyptian people not behind them after 11 February. If they remain leaderless, waiting in limbo for direction, they will grow frustrated and impatient. There could be a rise of a collective and disempowering fatalism when lofty aspirations and dreams for democracy clash in the day-to-day self-interests of politics.
Democracy if it can come rapidly at all will not magically remove Egypt’s many woes. A new and democratic parliament will have to tackle unemployment, overpopulation stresses and remedy the crippling poverty of millions. Perhaps an even harder task awaits a free Egypt, the deprogramming of an institutionalized, vast, government network of corruption. The demonstrators burned the police stations across Cairo. The hated police scattered. Who will replace these thuggish cops? What are you going to do with Mubarak’s invisible terror machine, an army of 1.3 million informers, secret police and bullies, like those he let slip to do violence against the peaceful demonstrators?
Democracy and free elections if these can come at all by September 2011 will deliver to the Egyptian people a new parliament faced with the most crushing of Egypt’s woes — one that toppled a dictatorship of 30 years. A multi-party, multi-self interested set of new legislators will have to confront what took Mubarak down. They will have to solve a problem that took the dictator of Tunisia down, forced the dictator of Yemen to announce he would not run for a new term, nor would his son. A clear and pressing problem compelled the King of Jordan to dismiss and reform his government.
What is the new Egypt going to do about rising food prices?
This crisis will not disappear with a dreamy Piscean “poof” of a magic wand of airy-fairy democratic wishes. The revolutions we have seen in Tunisia and Egypt, the revolutions we will see with mixed success and violent crackdowns in 2011-2012 in Syria, Iran, Jordan, Algeria — even beyond the Middle East in Myanmar and North Korea — are rooted in crop disruptions by climate change. Add to this the unanticipated stresses put upon global food supply to satisfy the demand of a growing, affluent middle class population wave rolling across the world in China, in India, in South America and even numbering many thousands who demonstrated in Tahrir Square, Cairo. A democratic Egypt will have and will continue to have to find ways to absorb the coming, steepening hike of global food prices that could spark the social and political upheavals I predicted for 2011 and beyond.
It is a good thing to see Egyptians in the streets over the last 18 days believing and acting upon that believe that it is not their fate to live under dictatorships. They aim to make Mubarak wrong. They are not children unable to govern themselves, needing an iron-fisted father figure Pharaoh.
Arab DNA has proven it can aspire to democracy. Such ideas are born in the Piscean collective atmosphere. They are the background over which comes in a few weeks a new trial by fire brought to them by the Mercury-Mars conjunction.
Can they have a future NOT chained to any dictatorial destiny not of their making?
The Mercury-Mars conjunction will challenge them to face themselves, to get real, to organize, to find common ground with those who have differing dreams for Egypt’s future. Piscean dreams of liberation must come down to earth and get practical because this rare configuration of Mercury and Mars in Pisces can provoke a mob to lose its collective temper. Run amok. Rampage.
Vacillation, and confusion is quite rife from 23 to 28 February, when this Mercury-Mars conjunction in Pisces is at its peak.
At that time, the Sun (ruler of ego) will also be in its early transit of Pisces compelling all you egos out there in Egypt to get real and achieve dreams or get fatalistic and renounce dreams of democracy when it conjoins with temperamental Mercury and Mars.
At the same time, Uranus advances through its final and most intense degrees while in Pisces. Be watchful, Egyptians, of temptations to fall under the impatient spell of impractical idealism. Don’t punch out. Don’t zone out. Plug in. Stay connected. Face hard facts and opposing views with patience. Tell the truth to friends and adversaries alike and Uranus in Pisces can help you seek authentic and fundamental liberation from Pharaohs past, present and future.
The remarkable patience and disciplined non-violence Egyptian demonstrators have shown the world so far will be tested hard in a few weeks because Mars when mad is impatient.
The new crisis I see from Mercury in Pisces under Mars is an Egyptian Revolution advancing forward into a new era leaderless. Both the military junta and the demonstrators will still be looking for men and women to step up and be counted as their spokesmen and women. When everyone is waiting for somebody to show up, nobody shows up. People under the influence of this dreamy Piscean conjunction of planets can see a gulf widen between the abstract idea of freedom and democracy and its practical application.
It will be seen by end of February that people can easily twitter and Facebook a socially networked revolution into being. Yet prophecy teaches us that the more you progress forward, WiFi-ing up the world, the more you will find it strangely looks the same. It still requires the same hands-on participation. Facebook will have to face blood, sweat and tears. MySpace becomes “in your face”, day-in-and-day-out wheeling and dealing to sustain social engagement for revolution to take root.
The founding fathers of the United States did not entertain themselves with laptops and cell phone messages, like, “Gee wouldn’t it be nice to have a new constitution? Meet me at the square, bring your tent…tweet, tweet…”
They had to scrum democracy out in a stifling room, in the sticky spring and summer heat of 1787 in Philadelphia, getting in each other’s faces. Pounding tables. Making painful concessions. They had to taste another’s bitter spittle of argument and get close enough to smell the armpit of anger for months in a torrid Constitutional Convention before they had a body of laws and a bill of rights upon which to base their more perfectly imperfect union.
Democracy is a social network on and off the net that requires our attention and vigilance 24/7, for the life of a nation, not just a few weeks camping out tweeting and texting in Tahrir Square.
The younger generation of social networkers, like the Google marketing exec, Wael Ghonim, who, on hiatus from the Internet search engine giant, triggered the Egyptian Revolution through the power of Internet, and was only recently freed from arrest, will have to think twice about going back to their jobs, leaving the work of revolution to someone else, unknown.
My oracle has a message to all social networking revolutionaries. It speaks to Ghonim and every single one of you reading this right now:
You cannot go back to your day job at Google. You started something. Yet you and other young Internet-savvy revolutionaries who clicked and tweeted into the rebellion will feel tempted by the end of February to move on with your Inter-nettled nit-twitted lives, under the illusion that the dream of democracy will go on without you.
If you think you can go back to your old lives before 2/11/11, think again. Do you want to be remembered as one of the flakes who started a revolution that did not survive your short attention “spam”?
Drag that negative future into “Trash”!
You have keyboard click copulated a revolution, given it birth.
Do not abandon your child.
If you do so, you might as well ask Mr. Mubarak to come back to Cairo. You might as well give him back his job.
If you log off of this revolution, it only means you still need a fascist dictator to be your scolding and terrifying parent.
If not “you”, who then will lead and nourish to full maturity this infant revolution
(11 February 2011)
(Posted 12 February 2011)
PS — Political upheaval is not only the dominion of the Middle East. Read Predictions for 2011 to find out in detail how the Mercury-Mars conjunction will define the domestic political debate in America between Democrats, Republicans, the Tea Party and President Obama. America also, stands on the edge of a knife. Find out just how potentially near a street revolution in America may be.
Read my Predictions for 2012: