tv Charlie Rose PBS February 14, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PST
>> rose: welcome to our program. to want, our third and final day from cairo and we begin with naguib sawiris. he is a billionaire businessman and one of the so-called wise men who served as a mediator between competing groups. >> egypt has lived under military rule since nasser, correct? nasser, sdashgts mubarak. you're now asking the military to make a transition to civilian authority. are they prepared to do that? >> we will find out. >> rose: that's the big question. >> that's why i was more an advocate of the solution to try
to keep the constitution. but my feeling, the answer is yes. >> rose: they're prepared to do that. >> yes, i think they are. because they would not have let mr. mubarak go easily out of being the loyal and faithful to a man they served with. but they understand it. people have heard the demands of egypt. look. there gz there's something happening. we always said the square will be there and the young people will be here. >> rose: and we conclude with some analysis from john simpson of the bbc, richard engel of nbc andrew hammond of reuters and robert fiske of the british newspaper "the independent." our final day of from cairo next.
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>> rose: we begin this evening with naguib sawiris. he is a leading tech billionaire who lives in cairo and was a mediator with the group of people called "the wise men." starting with january 25, what did you think was happening? >> you know, after tunisia... i mean, i don't want to seem like a guy who can predict the future but after tunisia i told... reporters asked me "will we see something in egypt? " i told them, look, the history will be before tunisia and after tunisia, the whole region. and me i was sure january 25 will be massive. i can tell you another thing, i sent my family, kids, and wife on thursday, which is january 24 to the red sea. >> rose: because? >> because i anticipated that this is going to be act scenario like tunisia. >> rose: why did you assume
that? >> because it's the same symptoms, you know? you had a dictator y'all system which has been denying its own people all the minimum and basic rights of freedom of speech, human rights and so it was bound to happen now. the last elections to here, this was like the... what do you call it like that igniter or the match that blew it. >> rose: the parliamentary election? >> yes, because we always knew our elections were rigged but they were rigged with some kind of space. they left a little space for some part for the muslim brotherhood, some part from the opposition so in totality the parliament looked rigged but with one window opened then the last election came and closed this one and only window so it was about to blow up. >> rose: so when it blew up, what surprised you the most about it? >> what surprised me the most about it, because my fear as
that the muslim brothers are going to be the ones who will lead the movement and do this movement and do the coup d'etat or whatever and take over like iran, you know? and what did we find out? it was the pure, brave innovative kind loving intelligent youth. you know, kids from rich families, kids from the middle-class poor guy, rich guy. everybody was in that square. half of my staff was in the square and i looked... i was laughing. i walked into my office and it was empty. people went. so it was like facebook united to ignite the revolution. >> rose: and for them it was about what? >> it was about mainly freedom. mainly freedom. when they tell you this is like
hassan nasrulla says this is a revolution of the hungary. i could tell you a bad word now but i will not because i'm well behaved but he deservest. it's not the revolution of the hungry. nobody is hungry here because he doesn't have enough food in egypt. it was mainly the freedom and unjustice people feel. they're not treated equally. they don't have the basic freedom of speech. they have to go scared all the time, scared from the police, scared from the system, scared from the regime. >> rose: when did you know mubarak had to go? >> look, i was not an advocate for mubarak had to go. so you might find that weird, but... because i'm an emotional person when i heard this announcement came i was somehow sad somehow. someone i've seen and known for 32 years, i can't just forget him or say, oh, good riddance
like everybody's doing. just like i couldn't somehow... i took it very... maybe emotional. >> rose: even though he was responsible for all the reasons... >> my brother was telling me it's like you get the relation between the prisoner and the... the imprisoned and the guard. >> rose: called the stockholm syndrome. >> yes, i think it was this way. and also i believe he did not deserve... i do not wish this end for him. he did very little to avoid that to be honest. but i do not wish that end to him. he's done a lot of good in that country. if you got into balance you had to say what good he did. we were a totally socialistic country. the country grew up, the infrastructure was build. we had all... we had a stock exchange. >> rose: but the price of that was the absence of freedom. >> yes. this is exactly the point.
this is where he was completely wrong and autocratic and he even didn't leave any inch without interfering and forcing and not allowing that was a scary time. even someone like me was scared. >> rose: scared? >> scare too. because the you look at my... i asked one guy now just for myself to prepare a t.v. of all my interviews in egypt here against the system, you know? to get all the phrases that i was that i was risking on saying because if you went a little bit overboard the next day something would be faked against you and would arrange against you or the interest will be hilt. >> rose: what do you think happens when he had a chance to make a speech? what was he supposed to say? >> the last speech? >> rose: yes. >> i will tell you something if he would have gone out and said
"i see my people suffering, i see my country suffering i see blood has been shed, i will not allow that to continue, i've decided to give all my presidential powers to my vice president mr. suleiman. i entrust him with this role. god bless you and bless egypt and he would have left, the matter would have been finished. but he went out in the same old style saying the people know mubarak and he thinks the majority of the people of egypt know him and saying the things he did and mentioning the attempt on his life in addis ababa and then he said he is going to make sure himself that these things are going to be done until next september so people were shocked. >> rose: people didn't trust him? >> you know, his own people worked against him. >> rose: how so? >> i'll explain to you.
not even a leakage, there was press statements by two people who were in contact with him. the prime minister and the other party. the wafd party. they made statements one in the morning and one in the afternoon saying the president of the president resigning is also there. so the streets were already... >> rose: that was the expectation? >> the expectation was so high and the speech came so low. >> rose: did he leave the script off on his own he? >> this script should have been written by someone like me, for example. i would have given him these two sentences. i would have said like i have seen my people suffering, i've seen bloodshed, i will not allow that to go on like that, i love
my country and therefore i'm going to give all my powers to my... to the vice president mr. suleiman, god bless egypt, got bless you. he would have left one sentence, two sentence, it would have worked. of course he had another chance before, this famous friday when he made his speech that night and said i'm not going to run again for sure in september the next day many people felt sorry because, like me, we don't want to see our president broken. we don't want to see our president's pride squashed. >> rose: you used the word dignity with me in a phone conversation. >> yes. we wanted to preserve his dignity so people felt this dignity is coming into question right now after his speech when he said "i'm not going to run in september" and therefore many people-- friends of mine who used knob tahrir square-- moved to the mosque to support him.
an then the geniuses and beneficiaries and the scum of the earth who hired these thugs and people who came on the camels and horses riding from pyramids to tahrir square to beat up these young kids and throw stuff at them and they caused all these casualties. >> rose: who was responsible far? >> look, there's a lot of... they know. and there's a lot of evidence reaching to some of the members of the party, ms. men who fiennesed this as a way to gain some points with the regime. >> rose: they're responsible for unleashing the thugs? >> yes, yes. and they spoiled everything. because there was no need for that and people saw the old way, scared them, attacked them, beat them, shot them. >> rose: what was advising him at this time? who was he listening to? >> that's another problem. i don't know who he was listening to.
maybe his son. maybe some of these businessmen who are always around him. and he has grown old also. he was not... how can i say? the end he wasn't listening too much. >> rose: it's said... there's a rumor in the city today that he's very sick. is he sick or is he simply a broken man? >> i think he's a broken man. i think i did my best to avoid that. >> rose: what happens to him now >> rose: what happens to a broken man? people didn't give him the tool, when you're like that you only hear what you want to hear. people are scared... when you scare people they don't tell you the truth.
it's known. i remember one phone conversation with him where he called me and shouted at me... it was younger, eight, nine years ago and he shouted a certain minister, accused him of a lot of things and there was only a split second for know answer, okay? so there was two answers, the usual answer that everybody would have given him. okay, sir, yes, sir. if i would have said that i would have condemned an innocent man. so because of my belief in god, he's the protector or don't lose him for anybody on earth. so for a second i said i'm not going to tell him yes, sir, okay sir. i said i'm sorry, mr. president, this man is not true, he's hated by many other ministers because he doesn't do everything they want he's very autocratic and he gets things done. he'she only one who finishes
our problems with all the investments we are doing. we have to have someone that's really working hard. so to my surprise he posed and the anger vanished and he told me "he's not asking you for money?" i said you know my family, we're from the south. nobody can bend our arm, you know that, you're the president. if he did, i would tell you. he said "he didn't come to your offices? >> i said no, it did not happen. so he told me it's okay, if he's finishing your businesses it's okay and he calmed completely and started to laugh with me. after this story the thing that stayed in my mind was everything was okay. >> rose: the role of the army here? >> the army felt that any further... nothing was working because he went out with the speech and it didn't work. so the army saw the situation as
not working and meanwhile there were demonstrations all over egypt and workers were going on the street, striking, occupying factories, people working in newspapers were kicking their chief editors, the country was completely going to be loose and gone so the army felt any delay of the president to leave would not be accepted. that's what happened. >> rose: but you were part of a group of people, and what role did this group of people play? this role was called the group of the wise and it started immediately on the 24th of january because we felt that... we analyzed the situation and we said that the best way out of that is to get get all the reforms mentioned, clearly mentioned, what are the demands. because from the square there were many screaming and demands
and so on. so we had legal people, we had i'm a businessman, squalors, chief editors, 11 people who represent a lots of intelligentsia. so we put all the demands except the one thing the president leaves. so the president gives his powers to the vice president, the vice president being a military man and now would guarantee together with the military that these uniforms would happen. and this is the scenario that the president went out to say. if they would have taken our possessions eight days ago it would have worked because most of the square was happy without that. some said he has to leave but i was sure if we would have made that compromise it would have worked. it would have been enough.
>> rose: you're not happy with the way it turned out? >> i don't know. i will find out. my hope is that the army wl understand that these wishes on the square are for real. the square will not let go on the demands. we need is for this country. you are not better than us. europe is not better than us. it's the day of equality. we need our democracy. >> so you believe the army will keep its promises that it outlined in the communique. >> yes, i always believed that, i had no doubt. but what the young people didn't understand, what was the beauty of the president giving his party a vice president and the vice president giving these guarantees and the army guaranteeing these reforms. that the whole constitution instituted would have been maintained. right now we are not in a constitutional... because the president gave his powers to the army so now everything will be disdovr solved.
>> rose: the army says it's dissolved. no more will there be an emergency law. >> we have to start from scratch >> rose: a new constitution? >> i don't know now exactly. that's the point. >> rose: you don't know? >> i don't know what's going to come. i don't know. i know that they will do the right thing. but we will have... they said this in their statement that the army is no substitute for the constitutional way. >> rose: but these are men that came to power under hosni mubarak. >> rose: true, i lost my speech now. >> rose: (laughs) >> i survived many things so let me please survive coming here. >> rose: (laughs) >> rose: here you have the army promising it's going to make things happen. how is it going to work? you're on the inside. >> rose: no, i'm not on the
inside. >> rose: but you're part of a dialogue where the army that was one party. there was the army, the people in the streets. >> rose: many young people in the square were saying... were calling me to come to the square. i didn't go. >> rose: why not? >> i told you already, i was dying to go, of course and everybody went because if i want to be an honest broker i can't take sides too much so i maintain my position. if i want to talk to the government and talk to young people i need knob the middle. i want what's best for egypt. so everybody that went to the square was accused of trying to hijack the revolution. i was not... i was only when anybody asked me what do you want out of this for yourself i will tell you i want my kids to live here and hopefully die here like i'm going to live here and die here. because this is my favorite country. this is a beautiful country.
look. look behind you now. you've come many times here. the people here are beautiful, are kind, are witty. look how many jokes were made during this i defy any country the whole world who would generate so many jokes like the jokes generated in.... >> rose: what's the best joke you've heard that >> one guy was holding a sign saying "leave because my hand is starting to hurt me." (laughs) >> rose: (laughs) >> the other one, another sign saying "please leave, i haven't seen my wife in two weeks." >> rose: (laughs) >> so there was a lot of nice jokes, you know? >> rose: do you believe that this change as you said earlier will sweep the middle east? this kind of populist revolution? >> 100%. >> rose: and where might it go next? >> next station is algeria. after that i would predict libya
maybe syria, maybe saudi arabia, the whole place. >> rose: and the difference about this is that it's not... it's simply based on a populist need, desire, imperative for frenl. >> freedom and fairness. >> rose: and fairness. >> equality. see, what a lot of these people here are... i used to hire... is someone very important sends me asking me to hire someone i used to always when i had this someone hire someone who was just i didn't know and send me his paper asking me to hire. you understand? >>es. >> because i felt it's not right. i need to give it a chance to everybody in the same way sew many young people felt they were not getting a chance. >> rose: what do you worry about the most at this point? >> well, if you look at the
first interview we made together... >> rose: you and me. >> yes. i said this deprived the secularists, the young people to have someone to represent them. so the only force that was there always prepared, organized, even militarized is the muslim brotherhood because they were working underound. and everybody was decent, couldn't work on the ground where they didn't have these facilities and so on so he didn't so the force which is today, even today which is organized militarized, well-fundd is the muslim brotherhood. >> rose: what's the threat the muslim... >> to manage the hijacking or the kidnapping of a revolution. >> rose: you think they can do that? >> i think they've started to do that. i think they've started to do that. >> rose: so you fear the muslim brotherhood? >> i will tell you something and i'm responsible for what i'm saying. if you took a sample on january
25 of, let's say, one thousand young kids, one thousand people from the square and on january 25 you would find there would be 20% muslim brotherhood youth and 80% i would call them the free youth. these kids made us all look really bad. >> rose: of course that's true and the fact that they stood their ground. >> stood their ground. they had molotovs being hit at them. bullets being shot. i mean, it was a massacre. i remember that one night i was on the phone trying to to catch these hooligans, trying to send medicine. we had to actually smuggle medicine for the people. >> rose: smuggle medicine into the square? >> yes! i was involved myself. i sent people to get the stuff and because they were trying to prevent that i asked guys to hide things in their pockets.
>> rose: people say the muslim brotherhood doesn't represent more than 10%, 15% of the people of egypt. >> less, maybe. >> rose: so why do you overtake this revolution. >> i will tell you. an organized 10% is better than an unorganized 50%. so the day before the demonstration we would have all the patriotic discussions and everything and in the morning i found myself as the only one in the sqre working for the demonstration. everybody was scared to death. anyhow, we managed to go out, i looked for all these leaders who were pushing us at night and they were not there. >> rose: egypt has lived under military rule since nasser. correct? nasser, sadat, mubarak.
you're now asking the military to make a transition to civilian authority. are they prepared to do that? >> we will find out. >> rose: and that's the big question? >> that's why i was more an advocate of the solution that... to try to keep the constitution. but my feeling the answer is yes. >> rose: they're prepared to do that? >> yes, i think they are because they would not have let mr. mubarak go if they did not let him easily go out of being loyal and faithful to a man they served with. but they understand the people now. they've heard the demands and... look the square will always be here and the young people will be here. >> rose: that's what they say. we know the square is, we can go back to the square. >> i will tell you something, if we don't get that, you know who will be one of the first to go
to the square? >> rose: you. >> me. so if they don't allow civilian rule and a civil society to emerge and a new egyptian... >> rose: then we should all die, we should all go to the square and let them because it's enough it's enough. 200 people died for this revolution. we will not allow anybody not to give... to make sacrament their blood. >> rose: so the spirit of the square will prevail. >> i'm sure. >> have you ever seen anything like that? three million people in the square. we've never seen anything like that. >> rose: so what happens to egypt if it does prevail? >> the only problem is we're going to have an economical challenge. so i'm calling on the u.s.,
europe, the gulf countries help egypt to stabilize economically because if egypt falls you will all fall. >> rose: but the gulf countries are worrying about staying in power. >> well, they better have a stable egypt. we have we have the biggest army the army is not going to be used against israel anymore. we have a peace treaty, we'll use it against anybody who will attack our neighbors. i was a founding member of these wise men's committee and i was the only businessman which was a member of this commute tee that went on al arabiya and said these denoondz the shock of my family, to my father. because at that time the regime was in place. ask me why. >> rose: why? >> because it was the moment of truth. i had to take the risk to say what is right. it was the right thing.
and then the person asking us made even a meaner question. he said you tell the guys in the square now to leave or to stay. so i said... i asked my doctor who was the chairman of our committee who is rewriting the constitution which is a good sign. they asked him, he said they should stay and he asked me and i said definitely he should stay. and that's it. that was the day i took a siti. >> butt he met ask you this. was there another time later in the game in which you said he should leave? >> to the president? >> rose: no, the people in the street. >> yes, because the army had issued the statement saying they will guarantee. what happened were two things that was the solution i was proposing in the beginning. how can i not tell them to leave. we said the president should give his powers to the vice
president and the vice president should guarantee should enforce the reforms. so it all happened. so it's not like a fight for nothing. i told the people i personally believe we have won. look what we have all won. there's no immortal president for life. there's no what we call inheritance of the presidency the national party was completely smashed. we got our freedom of communication and media. we got a committee of very reputable people who are... 90% of them have the best at rewriting the constitution and the president gave his power to the vice president. when the president left i was emotionally sad i have to tell you. i... it's someone i know... >> sad for the president but happy for egypt. >> yes, that's a good thing. that's a good thing. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> you're welcome. >> rose: thank you.
>> rose: we continue our conversation with cairo with john simpson world affairs editor of bbc news, richard engel, chief foreign correspondent of nbc news, and andrew hammond, robert fist, middle east correspondent for the british newspaper "the independent." i'm pleased to have them here. what are the questions we ought to be raising. >> we don't know who's in charge of this country right now. the military says it will form a new government. that it will oversea this transition to power. we don't know when elections are going to be. we don't know who the new leaders are, we don't know if the army... how serious the army is about allowing this political process to devop. we know that the people will come back out if necessary to ensure this process continues. right now we're in a state of limbo. mubarak is out. they're holding the ship together but we're not sure where it's sailing. >> rose: what do you think about
the army, andrew? >> they said regional agreements should be respected. i think there are going to be clear guidelines for what kind of system they want to be i think the question is how long it is before we get to new elections for the parliament or the president. >> rose: any consensus? is it soon or six months or two years? >> i think six months is perhaps one. for the parliamental elections it could be sooner. >> what issue might provide the greater conflict between the people and the snaerpl >> well, the first thing is we do know he's in charge. it's the army. hos mubarak didn't hand his powers to the vice president. he handed it to the army council. and mubarak's council, the vice president was a general, the minister of defense was a general, the minister of intelligence, actually the minister of the interior and it was mubarak's ministry of defense head of the army council. i'm not saying he's mubarak part
two but he's a long life friend of the ex-president. so the idea that we're suddenly turning this new revolutionary leaf and suddenly this wonderful group of generals has stepped in to bring about a 21st century constitution, we're already talking about amendments to the constitution. many of the people down in the square believe the constitution is as rubber as the parliament and the elections and everything else to do with this regime which hasdom natded this country for 30 years. it's wonderful news, a happy story, i loved writing it yesterday. i've written so many stories about bloody upheavals that ended in tragedy. this one did not. but the day after when everyone is getting over the euphoria and drunkenness of delight, they're going to start saying now we have to safeguard everything we've won which was dignified, non-violent and beautiful and mike sure the people speaking on our behalf are saying what we want them to say. come to heel and do what they're
told. >> rose: what could torpedo this thing that is in motion now. >> a lot can torpedo it. but at the same time i think the kind of atmosphere which we've seen will still hang over this city and this country for some time. you'll find that the army though it probably could do all sorts of damage to what we think has been settled here we'll feel that it's more sense to believe go along with the prevailing atmosphere. the problem comes after we get new elections and the people who get elected will then have to make their arrangements with the army if, indeed, it isn't the ruling party which is the best organized and biggest political party in egypt. if that doesn't simply manage to do quite well, i don't know. >> rose: so what do you make of
where the muslim brotherhood is now? >> well, they here in a beautiful position be because they can hold back, take a certain amount of credit, not as much as they thought they were going to take early on, i think in the whole business but they'll be able to sit back and say well, it was really we that put the lead in the pencil and got this thing done. >> robert is right about one things which that revolutions never go in the direction you think they're going. you've only got to look back at the european revolutions which turned out to be generated by the secret police and lo and behold the secret police came back in businessmen's clothes afterwards. and so this one it's a very different one but people will take over this revolution and the people who are hanging out in the square for 18, 19 days will not be the ones that
inherit the earth. >> rose: the first thing that has to happen is parliamentary, restricted to four years to stop this ridiculous state elections, president for life. >> rose: they'll put that in a new constitution. >> but can they keep their organization while all the bad guys move in to betray the revolution, take it over and eat them up. that's what always happens. >> rose: is that an even bet or what? >> i hope it won't happen. i keep covering stories where it does. it happened in al syriaia. and look what's happening in algeria. you'll cover that in a moment. >> rose: of course. >> i think what happened with this revolution and the enigmas of it is that it really didn't have any clear grip on who was pushing it from the very beginning. as onef the things that made it such an enigma and success, it means you have a situation which is hard where you talk about leaders forming to see the near future intoer who could take charge of this. it's something people talked about in the last week, who could speak in the name of those in the square and say will we stand down? will we not?
have l we deliver our demands to whoever in the regime? the muslim brotherhood has been very careful not to look like it's taking over. >> rose: just for historical sake, what's different about the components of this and what happened in eastern europe? >> it's rather similar. it's quite similar to what happened in chex slovakia where people came out in larger and larger numbers not willing to take it on the cops or secret police or the army or anything like that very nervous. that they might actually be beaten up and... or possibly killed but nevertheless feeling that kind of peer pressure to get out, come out in large numbers. they came out in larger numbers-- i have to say-- than happened in egypt. and in the end it became impossible for the government to carry on just as it became impossible for mubarak to carry on. so that... in that sense... and the difference was that there was a leader, there was a man
who was clearly more than fitted to be president, vaclav havel whereas there's no way... >> rose: there's no havel here. >> you can't find anybody to organize anything. >> mainly because mubarak made sure they couldn't arise. anyone with charisma left the country. exiled from the country. he's a very boring man but nonetheless egyptians don't like boring people that's why they chose nasser, he was exciting. but the problem is they've exiled them all. the best egyptians are working on the board at harvard. 15 of them there. >> i agrew with andrew that the fact that this didn't have a leader meant the secret police couldn't crush it. we've all dealt with the secret police in this group here. >> and we all love them dearly. >> rose: are there things about egypt that give this a likelihood of success? the nature of the country? the people? >> yes. it was a young person's revolution carried out by these new electronic means which they're painting the square as we speak. sitting there painting the
square and cleaning it up. now they're painting the stones and putting it back in place. >> but it was those people with instruments that mubarak couldn't even conceive of, couldn't understand and couldn't understand the effects of which won this election? what did he do first? he put the tanks around the television stations. for god's sake. that is so 1970s. >> fighter aircraft, f-16 staging an air display between the hotels. i've never seen that before. >> this is what i was saying about the secret police. we dealt with them. i remember when they used to tap my phone-- as they did yours-- and you could hear them clinking as they stirred their tea and coughing. they were overwhelmed by technology and didn't know how to deal with it. by the fact they sent in tanks to ring the t.v. building shows they were clearly out of touch and mubarak himself we were told was out of touch. he firmly believed that this movement would go away. he believed in his heart of hearts that it was being inspired by journalists
>> he believed his people loved him. >> he thought these were busy children who had gotten overly excited. >> rose: and he clearly believes to this day that he was... he stood between chaos and stability. >> he think he is got a raw deal. he thinks he fundamentally got a raw deal. >> i was going to say what's the point of him being there if he didn't believe that? you have to believe it otherwise you go and have lunch. >> i really think he believed or those around him convinced him that this was a process manipulated by qatar through al jazeera. right to the end even the last speech by omar suleiman when he briefly looked like he was in charge of the country. >> television stations and radio stations. >> he mentioned biased media. >> this is very trivial in how he refers to people like us here but nevertheless i still feel really, really angry that they would have pointed the finger at
foreign journalists and said that television crews were likely to be israeli agents touring the country in disguise we got beaten up because of that in saqqarqa. you know, that was a really old-fashioned, silly approach to it and failed. i'm glad it failed. >> rose: the real problem going forward is that you have a population that has been deliberately undereducated. deliberately treated like ching for a long time. now it's empowered and next time there is a major international crisis, how will they behave? omar suleiman said "these people aren't ready for democracy." >> rose: i was coming to that. >> he deliberately made that the egyptian government made sure they weren't ready for democracy. i don't know if they're right but they are very impassioned. >> rose: but if you look at what happened in the square, doesn't that suggest they're ready for democracy, or no? >> it certainly does. but when you talk to people in the square it was totally
non-violent. it was peaceful. people were lovely to us. but i don't think they share mubarak's values. i don't think they share his foreign policy. >> rose: are the people in this square right when they say the following? if the army doesn't do right by us we'll be back in the square and that will change everything. >> i'm sure they will. >> rose: so that is a threat that has power. >> i don't know whether it will happen but it's something which you dare not risk now. i don't think the army or anybody else would dare to run the risk that it might have. just for a few months why work for that long. it will work i hope until the election. >> rose: there's also this. there's a pride i felt and saw and talk about as i made my way around this city that egypt is back. we have all been writing and reporting about somehow new powerful forces in region of which egypt was a declining one in terms of influence.
iran, turkey. a whole range of other countries cut and what it's trying to do. does this mean if it works that somehow, again, egypt is a focal point of the middle east? >> yeah, i think you might that put one to me. it should be. there's certain problems for egyptians. there's no doubt if you talk to people down there they are very aggrieved about the fact that egypt has been part of the israeli siege of gaza. the fact that egypt has put this wall up means that they are participating in the siege of palestinians who many of them regard as their brothers. now at some point america's got to grow up-- which it probably won't do-- and realize this is an egypt that knows what's going on in the west bank and gaza. this is an egypt which will not tolerate continued colonization of the occupied west bank and for israelis and israelis only. >> we've seen here the neutralization of the... just in one what is essentially an american ally and i think it
will be... >> that's what i've been talking about. the longer term change, supreme a different mind-set. >> different people and they're younger and have a different approach. >> rose: what does that say about the face of the middle east? is it this idea that can spread to algeria, jordan, saudi arabiad? >> no, it's a different idea all together. it's an idea that you don't want the government sitting on you all the time. it's a sense that you've got a value-- a value that you never had before. and that is something that cannot be taken away. doesn't matter what government tries to take it away from people. we've seen already in algeria the first stirrings of something which is probably, i don't know, probably going to go somewhere. we have seen it, we actually saw it before any of this in iran there 2009 after the election which is pretty much stolen. we'll see this in all sorts of
places where governments had just set very-ly on the heads of the people and it's going to start. >> rose: so, john, what happens in iran? we saw what happened after the elections. >> in iran i think we'll simply whack the heads of anybody that comes out. >> they tried this in iran. >> but nothing worse was done to the people in the streets in tehran than was done to the people in the streets or in the square here but the people here put up with it. >> i think the secret police in iran we mo efftive. the secret police here, i was shocked they were not able to do anything. >> because they were also undereducated. that was part of the system. you didn't want an educated secret police force because they might take over. >> i think they were in the back with their own telephones listening to land lines watching the police. and these kids were online, they were not the group... the secret police was watching the muslim brotherhood.
didn't even think about them. >> rose: >> we're all looking back to the domino theory. vietnam goes and then come cambodia goes and on on because we believed that communism would spread and the evil seeds of communism would work its way: and there was a basic faint foundation of truth in that the communists were set on expanding. whereas here you've got the expansion of democracy and all the west is frightened. we knew where we stood with vietnam but with egypt, my goodness, they're going to do what they want to do and not what we tell them to do. this is terrible news! i think algeria, actually, might be a little bit different. algeria is a very hard, tough, dangerous, savage country. not the people, they can be immensely kind but they can be brutal when they fight. i was there covering over and over again week after week year after year the algerian islamists, the civil war between the government and the islamists. i went to these massacres were babies were having their heads chopped off. i don't think people in algeria... it's not the same
country. they've got mountain there is which is a complete different form of guerrilla warfare. everyone's got guns. they'll use weapons. there this will not be a soft revolution of people. and the algerian police 35,000 today against... it's not going to be the same. it will be much worse. >> rose: from you therefore saying that's what's different than what we just saw was the reality of the army and the ineffectiveness of the secret police? >> i think there were four reasons. andrew and i were in tunisia at the time and we thought okay, when are we going to egypt? >> rose: you were sure this was going to explode in egypt? >> we didn't think it would go ease easily. >> we thought something. one because it was the tunisia model inspiring, incredible, it showed that they could do it.
the poverty here. egypt has always been a poor country but the gaps between the rich and the poor have become intolerable. people couldn't take it anymore. the lack of an ability to express themselves. the inability to speak out and organize politically and then this technology which the secret police couldn't deal with and which allowed people to get together quick. when you have all four of those things come together, this paper tiger fell. >> rose: having said that, i think... >> i think we should have seen it coming. this has been going on for five or six years since the movement in 2005 when they are standing in the streets of the younger mubarak taking over. workers got involved, they were striking on the last two or three years. we would have seen it coming if we'd been reading what w happening in society but we weren't. >> >> the icon of egyptian journalism who is speaking for the first time in state television just down the road for us. >> rose: speak organize being interviewed or... >> being interviewed. and he was telling me after he was released from jail under sadat by mubarak within six
months he was very grateful for mubarak taking him out of prison. six months he said this country will implode. he said 30 years i begged cigars from him so he could tell me the right thing. we were talking about this paper tiger... >> rose: so you got 29 cigars? >> i got one of them. but the thing about this paper tiger is untrue. this was a very vicious police state. i spent years inquireing into the state security police. >> are you optimistic that the essence of this will succeed in this transition to civilian authority and a new egypt? >> yes, i think the essence has been about egyptians grabbing their dignity and saying we will not have the state on our throats anymore and that message is going to spread across the region and people will say you know what? we don't to take it. we don't to accept it. that i think will happen. there will be a transition period and they will probably
have democratic elections who... how that political process shakes out remains to be seen. how this country's foreign policy ultimately settles and the direction of the state and what the state looks like in a few years as groups like the muslim brotherhood and i think will rise forward and i think they will rise forward as soon as there is major other international crisis that galvanize it is people, i think egypt could look very different in a few years but, yes, people have seized their dignity, they are proceeding to more democracy. what that mocracy will mean for egypt is in my opinion the unanswered question. it will be confused, chaos, it will be corrupt in many, many ways. it will be at least as awkward as indian democracy but my feeling, gut feeling, is that in the end it will be as successful as indian democracy which is,
you know, not bad. if that's not too patronizing. >> i basically agree. i think there will be... i think the army is genuine about some kind of transition but i think the issue is the forces that were in the background and in the foreground as well that were so oppressive in people's lives and there were so many security apparatus in the country. many of them. what happens to them? do some of them survive? what's the relationship with the army? it's key for the society. i think there's going to be a problem with the people's... what people want from their country and how it deals with israel and the palestinians and what the army will be happy with considering they are also very closely allied to the americans. they have a lot of equipment from them. so i think there's going to be some cause of tension there.
>> well, i don't like armies. it was a wonderful moment when obama could have shown his enormous love for the democracy protestors here. went to the university of cairo 18 months ago, preached freedom, liberation, et cetera. when these people demonstrated their courage, he didn't know which side to take. it was he who produced the clenched fist rather than the hand of democracy. there would have been some american flags around today if he had come out in the beginning and that would have solved so much anti-american rage in the middle east. not al qaeda's rage, but the u.s. would have suddenly... you'd have american flags and egyptian flags together. obama came out, honored his word at the university from the start he said the state security police he didn't do that, he went along with the torture state but i'll say this, up to now this is probably... up to this moment in 36 years in the middle east probably the happiest story i've ever covered. but i'll tell you a little instant just to show you the edge here in our western world. my colleague don mcintire is
talking to some british tourists who were leaving and he asked about their experience because they'd seen tear gas and when he asked them for their name the woman said "i can't give you my name because i work for a governmental department" and flew back to england. almost everyone in the square here-- surrounded by state security police-- gave their full names and were ready to have their addresses printed. >> rose: not only that, they wanted to make re y got the spelling right. so everything we said, it succeeds to the level of... that we hope for. it will be in history how large? >> every history book in the middle east will have the events of the past three weeks not in its footnote reference for hundreds of years to come. >> i think that could be right. i think it's... might go down as having been the most important event since... on terms of foreign policy since egypt had
peace with israel. it's hard to say but definitely it's going to be... >> right up there with the collapse of the soviet empire just as we all remember 1989 we're all going to remember 2011. >> i think it's a seismic shift in the middle east and it changes the way people view their relationship with the states and i think that fundamental psychological shift here to stay. >> thank you. thank you. >> just as you spent your effort in coming here. >> rose: so we come to an end to this series of program from cairo. it is history in the making. the story's not over, it is just beginning we will continue to follow this story. it's a story about a great country coming to a new discovery of self, a great country moving forward. it is history, it is about the
power of people, it is about institutions of government, seeing their responsibilities. my thanks to my producers here aaron clark and stephanie thomas they have helped us bring to you an array of characters who have talked about what they have seen. we haven't talked to everybody that we wanted to talk to, to be in the streets, to hear and listen to these people and to bring them here at a very crowded time was sometimes impossible but you felt that if you were here you could see it, it was something remarkable. i am pleased to be able to have been here telling you a story that we will not soon forget and as one of our guests says, will be in the history books. thank you for joining us. see you back in new york.
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