Fin de partie pour l’Égypte

PRINCETON – L’histoire millénaire de l’Égypte peut-elle nous aider à comprendre le soulèvement actuel, déjà qualifié de révolution, et son issue possible ? Je le pense. Les manifestations rassemblant des millions de personnes, et qui demandent aujourd’hui la démission du président Hosni Moubarak et la suppression du parti national démocratique (PND), ne sont pas un phénomène nouveau dans ce pays.

Les dirigeants puissants et célèbres ont marqué l’histoire de l’Égypte, en commençant par Ramsès II des temps pharaoniques, suivi de Saladin, Méhémet Ali, Napoléon Bonaparte, Lord Cromer, jusqu’au triumvirat d’officiers égyptiens devenus présidents, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anouar el-Sadate et Hosni Moubarak. Cette liste laisse à penser que les Égyptiens, même s’ils ne préfèrent pas nécessairement un homme fort au pouvoir, s’en accommodent et le considèrent peut-être comme un mal nécessaire.

Les révoltes populaires sont également légions en Égypte. Les foules se sont soulevées contre les troupes bonapartistes en 1798, contre la monarchie en 1881-1882, contre l’occupant britannique en 1919 et 1952, et contre Moubarak en 1986. Ces soulèvements ont été réprimés, souvent brutalement, d’abord par les troupes étrangères (l’armée française en 1798 et les soldats britanniques en 1882 et 1919) et plus récemment par l’armée égyptienne.

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