February 12th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #754 'So now what?'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama played a role in helping end the rule of Egypt’s President Mubarak. The question is: What comes next? I mean…other than another letter from me.

Dear Mr. President,

So the deal is finally done in Egypt. President Mubarak is finished. The protesters are thrilled, and the populace must be breathing a sigh of relief over the standoff finally ending.

And for a great many folks there must now be a sense that they have arrived at their goal.
I’m not so sure about that. It’s kind of like tearing down an old, derelict building that is riddled with rot, a leaky roof, and infested with vermin. There is, of course, a sense of accomplishment when the final sledgehammer blow sends the last post splintering to the ground.

It’s a good time to grab a cold beverage, sit down for moment, and catch your breath. But in truth, the real work is just beginning at that point. We have heard a great deal about the desires of Egyptians to get rid of their long time leader…or ruler, depending on your political point of view. We have heard a lot less on who or what will take his place in the long run.

Tearing things down, even longstanding, intractable institutions, is comparatively easy compared to building up effective alternatives. And Egypt is going to need a lot of building up. The challenge facing all those eager opponents now is much greater than it was a few days ago. Now, rather than opposing one foe, they must unite to engage an entire army of problems: infrastructure, unemployment, income inequality, tourism, international relations.

Hey, you know how hard it is. You came into office on the same kind of promise to remake the country, and I don’t think I’m being unkind to say that you have found it to be a massive challenge. And that’s in a country which, by comparison, at least the tools of reform and rebuilding were in place.

So we’ve seen what the demolition crews can do in Egypt. Now we need to see their blueprints for building.

Hope all is well. Call if you can.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Rupali Das, Toronto

    Anderson.. I read that your coverage of Egypt has come under fire from LA times.. Let me tell you that I will rather have one coverage from you that a 100 coverages from people like GlenBeck , Rush Limbach etc . Your coverage was passionate and resonated with what everyone thought and felt during those days.. During those 18 days we all became Egyptians.. so why should journalists be immune..I had stopped watching CNN for a long time.. I started watching CNN because of your coverage..THANK YOU!!!

    February 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  2. Bishop Athanasius

    I would like to offer some words of advice to the future president of Egypt and the members of the future Egyptian Government.

    This is a historic joyous event for all Egyptians. We must however learn from the past as we go forward. President Sadat persecuted the Christians of Egypt and Our Pope, Pope Shenouda III after His Holiness appealed to President Sadat for equal rights for Christians, equal job opportunities and basic human rights.

    Under President Mubarak, Our Pope again appealed for our basic human rights, our rights to get jobs and not be discriminated against because we were Christians. He promised to change the constitution and grant us and all other minorities our human rights. He promised to let us build churches and worship freely, Of course this did not happen. What happen to Mubarak is due to his unjust ways, his intolerance for human rights and arrogance.

    I, Bishop Athansius, a Bishop in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt for the Metropolis of Bani Mazar, Menia I pray that the new president and government will treat the Coptic Christians of Egypt fairly and equally as the Muslim society. That they will consider and respect the rights and opinions of our holy and honored Pope, Pope Shenouda III, that this revolution was based from suffering and oppression of all minorities for many years.

    We, the Coptic Christians of Egypt celebrate with all Egyptians on this monumental occasion. We pray to Jesus Christ our Lord God and Savior for a safe and peaceful transition. We pray for Health, Prosperity, and religious peace for Egypt.

    February 13, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  3. Jim Bishay

    I would like to see Dr. AHMED ZEWAIL, a Noble Prize Winner and an Egyptian American who is widely viewed as a strong possibility to lead the country after a democratic election on your show. Please let me know if you would like to get in touch with him. Thanks. Jim

    February 13, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  4. David Evans

    Make no mistake, noble Egyptian people; The struggle has only begun. Your generals are bought with US taxes, and they will not easily forsake the golden goose. Mubarak was a tool of US empire, and the generals will remain a tool of US Empire if your emerging leadership fails to recognize this and skillfully steer your democracy around this huge obstacle. Your populist will is already in conflict with the will of US/Zionist regional goals. Your sympathies lie with Gaza and all of Palestine. Your will to dislodge US hegemony that still enslaves your Arab brothers is also in conflict with the will of your compromised generals. Good luck and may Allah bless you in your continuing struggle for justice.

    February 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  5. Sebastien

    I wish to announce that a revolution against the 30 years of PAUL BIYA OF CAMEROON will kick off on February 23, 2011. We need the support of CNN and other media outlets to cover the events.

    February 12, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  6. C

    Mr. Foreman,
    I love how differing situations can be pieced together and reveal similar patterns, obstacles and accomplishments.


    February 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  7. Don Taylor

    hey Anderson, I hope your out of Egypt and home Safe. Don Taylor

    February 12, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
  8. Sue from Syracuse

    CNN is loosing viewing audience EVERY time you put advertisement of Cialis, Match.com Zoosk.com – we do not want our children and teens to see that... nor our guest friends.

    So, if there is even a chance that it comes on your channel, we dont switch on CNN until the children are in bed and the guests have left.

    February 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  9. Elsayed Elnenaey

    As an American with Egyptian roots, I want to give a lot of credit to Our president Obama for his handling the delicate situation and to harvest the bottom line,departure of a dangerous dictator. That nasty dictator ruled by cultivating fear witin egyptians.He pretended to have preserved peace and being a freind to USA in anti terrorist campaign. The truth is his nasty regime pushed disperate young unemployed,unable to get married, egyptians be a terrorists. Many young egyptians took the boat of death accross the see to be illegal immegrants, that many hundreds of them died onroute.That dictator was handling the palastinian issues over 30 years, where zero was accomplished todate.He was no freind of anyone, but his ownself and his family as he planned to change egypt to his dynasty. I applaud thos young egyptians as they conqured the fear and aggression by a nasty regim.
    One last word, Egyptians were ruled by and lived within IRON CURTIN,that ultimately was dissolved by modern social media and the courage of those young egyptians.

    February 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  10. Viviana Nosetti

    Anderson Cooper: Do you know that AirForce 77184 Charleston from South Caroline is stuck in Ezeiza International Airport because it was trying to get into the country with UNDECLARED WEAPONS?????? 10 Marines are inside the aircraftand they are sorrounded by Argentine Police for 2 days already????

    February 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  11. gimena

    Military-infused governments have not always been the best governments. Let's hope the military in Egypt will bring Democracy forward amid the extremely young and inexperienced people. They may have cyber-thrown a government (for which we will give them immense credit) but you cannot cyber-govern.

    February 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  12. hassan

    Thank you Anderson Cooper for the professional and accurate coverage of Egypt. Thank you for saving lives, for risking your own and your crews to show the truth and for creating a Democratic Egyptian state. Thank you, Thank you Thank you, may God Bless you and give you the strength to keep spreading professional media all aroun the world.

    February 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  13. kathleen laurendeau

    Since many days, I have followed your good work at CNN from morning till midnight. Your courage to report what was going on in Egypt is astonishing. Egyptians have the right to express themselves by asking for human rights and to be respected as human beings. It's just a beginning and journalists as Egyptians must stay in a state of alert and protect themselves from those who has supported the ancient regime. Thank you Mr. Cooper for your courage and to all your colleagues who are doing their incredible duty!It's a huge victory!

    My name is Kathleen Laurendeau and I am writing to you from Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada

    February 12, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  14. Gehan

    I would like to thank you for not letting the Egyptian people down. Your constant coverage and the integrety with which you presented the facts has helped my people. Your contineous coverage would be even more critical to our success in achieving democracy.



    February 12, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  15. Margaret Dahdah

    You have done a GREAT JOB with producing the news on Eygpt these past 18days. I believe that your words came truely from the heart before and after the news of Mubaraks' downfall.
    This is probably the only time I remember ever hearing words from the soul of an American that felt the pain for everyone in the Middle-East and Northern Africa.


    February 12, 2011 at 9:58 am |