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Egyptian unrest

The editorial “Egypt shakes West Asia” (Jan. 31) and the article “Egypt: how India should respond” (Feb. 1) have presented the Egyptian imbroglio in the right perspective. The Egypt uprising is spontaneous, with people from all walks of life joining it. The country has a long history of oppression, though all its leaders are celebrated as secular stalwarts and India's friends. Poverty, sky-rocketing food prices and unemployment not addressed by successive governments are obviously the immediate reason for the present turmoil. President Hosni Mubarak should step down. Procrastination could result in the ascension of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood to power.

B. Raghavendra Rao,

Tanuku

* * *

The anger of Egyptians has been brewing for three decades, waiting to explode. Egypt will now adorn the pages of history books, not just because it is a land of great pyramids but also because it staged one of the biggest revolutions for democracy in the Arab world.

India thinks it will antagonise American interests and those of Egypt if it supports the protests. It should understand that Mr. Mubarak's days in power are numbered. It should respond positively to the people's aspirations. Gandhiji spoke against Apartheid and colonial rule even when he was in South Africa. He did not hesitate about speaking on the country's internal affairs. People there still respect him as much as they do Nelson Mandela.

Ritvik Chaturvedi,

New Delhi

* * *

Perhaps the most common word in Cairo these days, shouted and painted on banners, is irhal, meaning “go.” But for some Egyptians, and certainly for western governments and Israel, the sudden disappearance of Mr. Mubarak — a crony of the U.S. for over 30 years — may mean potential disaster. The fear is that a power vacuum would lead to utter chaos in which armed Islamist groups might thrive and the army would need to take over the running of the state. But some kind of order may emerge once the churning is over. One thing is clear: Egyptians will not tolerate another crony.

Anand Khurana,

Agra

* * *

The protest in Egypt has been triggered by huge price hike, unemployment, corruption and social anarchy. Egyptians have been inspired by the people of Tunisia, who ended Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year rule recently.

If Mr. Mubarak has any respect for human values, he should end the intimidation of the protesters and negotiate with all political parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Otherwise he will go where all dictators have gone.

M.T. Muhmmad Ashib,

Palakkad

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