For many Egyptians this is the greatest day of their lives. For the whole world, the Egyptian revolution will go down in history as an extraordinary example of people power.
John Rees arrived in Cairo this morning and went straight to Tahrir Square. He said, "it’s impossible to move in the Square, the scenes are emotional and exhilarating. There are millions of people on the streets - a sea of humanity - car horns, fireworks and most importantly a feeling of freedom, confidence and change is in the air."
The determination of the Egyptians has proven to people everywhere that collective resistance by ordinary people can change society.
They battled thugs on the streets, cavalry charges, and family members and comrades have died. Day after day, for 18 days, they came out on the streets in the belief that they could bring an end to the Mubarak regime.
When Mubarak dug in his heels, they came out in greater numbers. And the mass movement then led to a wave of labour unrest, which only deepened the crisis for the regime. Everyday for the last few days, demonstrations have been growing. Now they are celebrating.
The Egyptian army now knows that if civilian rule doesn’t follow soon, the Egyptians will be out on the streets again. The revolution has raised the level of consciousness in society to a point where things can never be the same again.
The revolution has been a genuine people’s revolution. It has been peaceful, other than when the Mubarak regime provoked the demonstrators and shot people in the streets. If there was any violence in this revolution, it was due to the Mubarak regime, not to the protesters.
For all the dictators of this world, this revolution will put the fear of God in them. And for all other world leaders, they will think twice about suppressing freedom and real democracy.
John Rees is a writer, broadcaster and activist, and is one of the organisers of the People’s Assembly. His books include ‘The Algebra of Revolution’, ‘Imperialism and Resistance’, ‘Timelines, A Political History of the Modern World’, ‘The People Demand, A Short History of the Arab Revolutions’ (with Joseph Daher) and ‘A People’s History of London’ (with Lindsey German). He is co-founder of the Stop the War Coalition.