February 11th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #753 'Wake me when the revolution is over'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama is certainly worried about Egypt, and probably appreciates my thoughts on the matter. Just saying.

Dear Mr. President,

With revolutions and cooking steaks, the tricky part is knowing just when to say, “We’re done!” I’m watching that in Egypt right now, as are you. I see those massive throngs of people demanding the departure of President Mubarak, and I understand their frustration with his latest speech.

Taken together with the comments of other government types, the message was an “I’m still in, but I’m out,” kind of deal. It’s like when a company let’s some mid-level boss’s contract expire, but he’s still got three weeks to hang around before the final day. No one in the office knows quite how to treat him or whether they should listen to anything he has to say.

So the protesters are left in limbo. They seem to have achieved their goal in all meaningful ways. Mubarak is done for. He’s packing the cardboard boxes with his mementoes, like his I’m the Boss coffee mug, his Garfield comics, and his Great Pyramids snow globe.

But the thing is, he is still in the process. His opponents want to see him out the door, pushed into a rattletrap car and driven off the edge of the Earth. Or put into jail. Or something like that. And some seem unwilling to break camp, go home, and take up the dirty, hard work of rebuilding their country until they see it.

I suspect this is a mistake. Absolute victory is rare in almost anything. He may wind up being ridden out on a rail, but that’s not very likely. And even if they get that, will it help them with their problems?

Like I said, figuring out when a revolution is done is difficult. This one may have a long way to go until all the issues in the Egyptian government are resolved to the satisfaction of the populace. But it is just as important to realize, that the desire for revenge or retribution may never be satisfied, and at some point every day spent seeking it is a day wasted - a day spent dwelling on the past when their country desperately needs to consider its future.

Just a few thoughts for a Friday. Did you try to call last night, btw? I thought I heard the phone ringing, but I was upstairs replacing a light bulb.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Steve A. Hogue

    "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."
    I last heard these words just prior to the SuperBowl this year, and it seems as though they were heard in Egypt.
    What an appropriate time for the brave People of Egypt to do what our forefathers so bravely did over two hundred years ago in our Country.
    Now that they have thrown off the brutal government of the last dictator they will ever have, let's all hope they will have the guts and foresight to write, and then implement, a Constution that will do for them what ours has done, not just for the people born in the U.S., but, for all of people, from all over the world, that have come here to be an AMERICAN.
    Congratulations to the Egyptian People (From one FREE person to another). I stand with you.

    February 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  2. Mal Castro

    I seen an young Egyptian Woman speak on CNN on 2/10/11. She has a blog and I didn't get her name. If anybody knows her name please let me know.

    February 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  3. Laith

    CNN has done an outstanding job in covering this revolution.
    CNN reporters, specially, Anderson Cooper should feel proud as you have helped the Egyptian people achieve a democracy. You have played an important role in the realization of one of the greatest revolutions in history. This revolution was only made possible with the internet and media coverage, specially that of CNN and Al Jazeera.


    February 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

    I found a quote from Ronald Reagan that would seem to be fitting for the latest news in Egypt:
    Nations crumble from within when the citizenry asks of government those things which the citizenry might better provide for itself. ... [I] hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.
    Ronald Reagan

    February 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  5. Sue from Syracuse

    Ethar El-Katatney is ABSOLUTELY IMPRESSIVE. Please involve her a LOT more as a journalist not just about Egypt but also the entire region. Thank you for introducing her to us!! Please bring her a LOT more, and a LOT MORE OFTEN! Love her!

    February 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  6. maryjane

    anderson, Iwould like to credit you for not giving up the coverage of the egypt uprising,I am not an egyptian but this remind me of the peoples power in the philippines with the marcos regime,you have the power of the media....Iwatched your show every night more power to you and keep up the good work

    February 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  7. Paul

    Lets look at things this way. What do you think would have transpired in the United States if the people would have protested and rioted against the Government because of the condition of the economy and unemployment? Maybe the Egyptians are setting an example for all of us.

    February 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  8. Sayed-Amr El-Hamamsy

    As an Egyptian I've been following your commentary from and about Egypt for the last few weeks. You have articulated the situation so well. I nominate you as an Honorary Egyptian. Thank you for the great work. Also, I want to apologize on behalf of the idiots who hit you.

    Sayed-Amr El-Hamamsy

    February 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  9. Roger Swart

    Anderson, I just wanted to say "job well done" as your coverage of Egypt has been outstanding, not to mention the risk you and your team took that could have led to serious injury to you.......Thank you so much!

    February 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  10. SAM

    CNNcoverage of Egypt is exceptional, however, what is mind bogling to me is there is no mention in any shape or form of the worst dectatorship not in the region but in the world right between Tunisia and Egypt.i.e. Libya.
    Ghadafi has been in power for 42 long dark years, this dectator has not only destroyed the infrastrure (schools, hopsitals, water, roads etc), and not only hang, shot jailed 100k of people, not only in this small rich country payed average people the lowest salaries in the region; more importantly and to ensure the continuity of this regime to his children and family, he has apolished the military, he has apolished the police, and he is running the country with gangs of security apparatus. Libyan people under the current regime can not do much, they do not have the military that might change his heart and stand with them, they dont have the police that might change heart and stand with them, at least Anderson Cooper can have some heart and mention them.

    Thank you,

    February 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  11. Ingy Sammakia

    Thanks Anderson for your honest and wonderful reporting. You fuelled the revolution by revealling the truth of brutality that we know as Egyptians!
    God Bless You
    Injy Sammakia

    February 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  12. Jerry Self

    The events taking place in Egypt prove that people who want democracy can achieve it despite desperate odds. It also proves beyond doubt that Muslims, Jews and Christians can all work together for a common cause.

    February 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  13. jacqueline stewart

    Well done Anderson, you are true friend of Egypt for not forgeting them. We love you.

    February 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  14. Pam

    Wake up Tom!
    P.S. You can hit the snooze button for now, but you may miss a lot.

    February 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  15. Ann

    When this first started 18 days ago I put a post on my facebook New age, New Egypt!

    Congratulations to the Egyption people!
    I am giddy with happiness for you

    You've done something extraordinary here,
    a beautifull example to the rest of the world.

    February 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  16. Bonnie Anthony

    Dear Anderson,

    I am so happy that the people of Egypt have now recieved word that the dictator has stepped down. It was time for him to resign and now the people of Egypt will truly have a chance to gain the freedom they so desire and deserve. Egypt is a culture rich in history, tradition and miraculous events. This one is just short of miraculous and the credit does go to those protestors who risked their lives.
    The ones who died, may they rest in peace, hopefully will have solace in the fact that their is now hope for a new dawning of freedom in Egypt. Today is truly a day to celebrate!

    February 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  17. karem Alhams

    This is the first in the history of modern Arabs that an autocratic dictator is taken down by the people. And, it will not be the last. Liberation of the Arabs has begun. Egypt after Tunisia will be the spark that will ignite the rest to rise up for justice, democracy, freedom and advancement in all the fields of life.
    Congratulation to all, and especially to the youth in Egypt, who showed the rest of the world how change with determination is possible.

    Thanks CNN AC for keeping the eyes of the world on Egypt. This protected the revolution.

    February 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  18. Anita Haislip Hicks

    I am a typical 50 year old mom in North Carolina, but my heart is dancing with those in the streets of Cairo. A modern miracle! I was especially touched to see the flyers being passed in the streets which displayed the image of Martin Luther King, Jr. Everything truely is connected.
    We are all one.

    February 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  19. Adele

    Thank you God, also all the protesters, all the reporters, "Anderson Cooper"!Ivan, President Obama for Egypt is free!
    God is great!

    February 11, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  20. gamal elshafei, m.d.

    free at last , free at last , egypt finally for the first time in history has a chance to tASTE FREEDOM. thanks Anderson for your excellent reporting of this event . and exposing that dictator mubarak. anderson your are an egyptian hero . we love you , God bless you.
    Gamal & Irma Elshafei

    February 11, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  21. Adel Abouelseoud

    Thank you Anderson, and CNN for helping us The Egyptian people with around the clock coverage .and never gave up on our people . we love you and hope that we can repay your kindess in the future
    Viva AC360, and CNN

    February 11, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  22. Sue from Syracuse

    AC, Ghonim is a loose cannon. He is certainly not a friend of "Western Governments" - just look at his latest tweet from 2 hours ago.

    He is off on his own.. Please do not give him exposure.

    I urge Wolf Blitzer to not give him exposure and make him appear to be a potential leader. Please pass along this request.

    We do not want to create another Osama Bin Laden out there.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  23. Irma Deleon

    hello mr. anderson cooper (silver fox) my friend shirley calls you that, anyway i told you mr mubarack was in sharem el shek(london) eatinf bon bons and watching t.v he is still a lier so who really knows for sure.suleman is just as bad he will be gone soon if not already. todays my b-day and i am going on alongtime planned trip it might be post-poned but praise the lord i will be going.this is the best b-day present. now the iceing out with suleman

    February 11, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  24. ChristopherH

    The protesters have achieved their goals in "all meaningful ways"?

    Hardly ...

    Involving autocrats in the transition process to democracy is a contradiction in terms and will only yield a flawed outcome. The protesters are right to demand Mubarak's departure. Still, the departure of one man will be only a beginning as lasting reform can only result when the existing power structures are made answerable to the people.

    February 11, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  25. Peggy

    I think you have to be more clear about if you want the president to be on the side of the dictator and side with Murbarak or the side of the protesters and want them to have free elections and demoracy. How can he do both. That would be impossible. Would it not. If there is an easy solution, why does someone not say what it is,instead of talking about what is done wrong by the white house. It is so easy to be a pundit, but to have to solve problems, it is much harder, to sit in the seat and acuually do the job, as people found out when they tried to do it, now they talk about it, suddenly they have all the answers. Come on, don't pretend to have the answers, solve the problem, don't wait until the right answer comes along and say I told you so, give us the right answer now please. Thank you.

    February 11, 2011 at 9:47 am |