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02/12/2011

Jim Dolan in Egypt

The bridge over the Nile was so packed with traffic, both cars and people, that we worried for a time about collapse.

 

Horns blared and flags waved in the final cacophonous moments of a dimming day, the final day and the first day and a day like the world has rarely known. The bridge almost seemed to sag. What could possibly hold up beneath the weight of all that hope?

 

Egypt is just now a giddy nation. It is so easy to get all gushy and romantic about this. It was brave beyond words and bold and righteous and it was so dramatic. But the people of Egypt are no more capable of free elections tomorrow than I am of striking out Derek Jeter on two pitches. They have no parties they have no infrastructure, they have no candidates, they have no history of running anything but pretend elections, shows for the camera’s that were more fiction than reality.  And, even if they could field a decent field of candidates and parties, take a look back through history and count how many military’s have ever voluntarily given up power just because the people wanted it. Few, but that’s what will have to happen here: the military runs Egypt now and they will have to usher in this ancient nation’s modern era of openness, if it's to happen. I’m not sure where the smart money is on this, but I do know they’ve been in charge for a day and all the camera gear Joe and I brought to Egypt that was confiscated under the old regime is still impounded under the new regime. They don’t want the world to see what’s going on here anymore than Mubarak did.   

 

So from this reporter, a salute to the bravery of a nation that today can raise its children to its shoulders and tell them with confidence to look to the horizon and a future as bright as it has ever looked. But to those who thought the hard part was getting rid of Hosni Mubarak, be aware that Democracy is harder still, and crossing the rugged terrain from here to there will take the will of a nation and the patience of a saint. And it will require the strength of steel - a steel strong enough to carry the weight of all the hope this country has invested in the future.

 

That bridge over the Nile, so loud and joyful and teeming with optimism, still stands, by the way. Strong steel for a suddenly muscular nation that this week chooses its destiny and all the work that goes with it.

Jim

(Below is Jim's report from Friday on Eyewitness News at 11pm)

 

 

 

 

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