Last night, President Hosni Mubarak spoke on Egyptian state television to say that he is not stepping down. Today, there are large crowds in Tahrir Square and across Egypt. Tarek Osman, author of Egypt on the Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak, joins us from Cairo to give us an update and describes how the role of the military has changed in the last few days.
On Wednesday, as events continued to unfold across Egypt, Leonard spoke to Tarek Osman about what’s happened in Egypt over the last 55 years, since the rise of Gamal Abdul Nasser.
While Osman, the author of Egypt on the Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak, saw the roots of today’s events as going all the way back to Napoleon, he described great changes in the last 60 years:
"If you look at 1950, the midpoint of the 20th Century at Egypt and try to speculate how this country would look 50 or 60 years down the line…most speculators, most strategic thinkers would have imagined an Egypt that is very different from Egypt today. Today, Egypt is very conservative; at that time it was very liberal. At that time, in the 50’s, it was very nationalist. Today it’s very sectarian oriented. It was very cosmopolitan. Today it’s not cosmopolitan. At that time, Egypt was a worldly city – even in terms of social glamor. Today, it’s certainly far from that.”
Yesterday, President Hosni Mubarak announced he would continue to stay in power through September, despite massive demonstrations around the country demanding that he step down immediately. Tarek Osman, author of Egypt On The Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak, talks about what's happened in Egypt since President Nasser came to power in 1954 and what's been happening on the streets this week.