The Egyptian revolution now appears to have achieved an unstoppable momentum with breaking news that Mubarak may be about to announce today that he is stepping down. This will be a momentous step forward for the pro-democracy revolution if it is true - but the devil will be in the details of any announcement.
In my previous I wondered if the protesters had the fortitude and staying power to outlast Mubark in the staring contest that appeared to be developing. The pro-democracy protesters in Egypt have never failed to inspire us and the Egyptian people though.
Far from seeing the protests fade away in the face of superficial concessions by the regime it seems that the protests have if anything gained new momentum in recent days. The protesters have also shown some adaptability as they found new targets such as the parliament building. Other groups in Egyptian society are now coming out and making a stance in support of the protests. There are reports today of doctors and nurses joining the protests as well as strikes by various groups of transport and other workers. This is a peoples revolution which is increasingly drawing to itself all sectors of Egyptian society in a mighty roar for freedom.
The regime has given concession after concession in the face of this pro-democracy revolution but there had until now been little which concretely changed the fact that Egypt continues to be an undemocratic autocracy. Nevertheless, the fact that the regime has felt the need to be seen to make concessions is an indication that it has no real answer to this popular uprising.
Now it seems that the revolution may be about to wring real change out of the regime.
There remain grave dangers of course. Today's shifts appear to have coincided with the emergence of a military council which now seems likely to emerge as the interim source of authority in the country. The people have placed great faith in their army and the hope must be that the army will not betray that trust but will help guide the country towards a functioning democracy. The risk is that what will emerge is an army led regime - a sort of generals council which continues to hold the country in an autocratic rule.
There are hopeful signs though with announcements seemingly coming from the army that the people should expect announcements that the demands of the people will be met.
For Egyptians believe in freedom and democracy these are momentous times but they must remain watchful and ensure that this revolution is not hijacked by interest groups intent on replacing one authoritarian regime with another. At this stage though one must remain hopeful of a good outcome for this revolution as far as the Egyptian people are concerned.
Others will remain unsettled and deeply disturbed by these events. A democratic Egypt which challenges the status quo over Gaza and the Palestinians will be a real challenge for Israel. If it has sense it will seize the opportunity and try to ride the wave of democratic change in the Arab world.
These events also pose major challenges for other dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. The Iranian regime which at first tried to co-opt this revolution as some sort of Islamist revolution is now clearly worried. Not long ago it faced its own popular freedom movement and events in Egypt seem likely to give support and legitimacyacy to pro-democracy activists in Iran. China too faced its own pro-democracy challenges which it brutally suppressed and it too has clearly been worried as it has tried to suppress the flow of news about the Egyptian revolt within China.
We live, as the saying goes, in interesting times. Interesting but wonderful times - for those that hope that people around the world can secure their rights to freedom and democracy.