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M and M: Marcos and Mubarak and the Manila-Cairo Parallels

Posted by Brian C. Ventura on February 5, 2011

New York Time columnist Paul Krugman floated the idea of Manila Parallel to start a discussion that would compare what is happening in Cairo today with the fall of Marcos regime back in 1986. The similarities in the two cases are interesting.

Mubarak stayed in power for too long,  and just like the case of Marcos, his former supporters and the public became so tired of his staying in power.  Apparently, in both cases, it shows that a the public maybe able to support a strongman but the strongman really cannot learn to tell how long is enough.

The military, instrumental in toppling Marcos by withdrawing their support, is also a major player in “easing out” Mubarak from power. Both in the streets of Cairo today, and in Manila in 1986, the military appears to be in a precarious situation, doubting whether is will stick to the chain of command in the very moment when that very chain of command is starting to become a very brittle chain. Interesting too is stand of both militaries that they will never shoot the public and that they will only help maintain order.

The role of the US is another striking parallel. In EDSA I in 1986 as in Cairo today, an important ally that is totally out of the bounds of the democratic leadership that Washington claims to promote is in big trouble. The public seems to know what democracy they wan much much more than what Washington can claim to lecture to them. For Marcos then as for Mubarak today, the puzzle is the same, how will Washington project an image of global leadership without appearing like it is suddenly dropping an ally because of change in climate of public opinion, a change in climate that Washington was not able to predict, much less like to happen.

But will the events in Cairo lead to the same ending as the events in EDSA in 1986? Will it also lead to a Constitutional Convention that will try to create a new institution to cement the gains to the popular victory, only to be penetrated again by the same booted out elite after a decade or so?

Maybe there are other stringing similarities? Is there something that EDSA I can teach Egypt?

Side Stories No. 10

Brian C. Ventura

Bluejay Cafe, Iznart Street, Iloilo City

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3 Responses to “M and M: Marcos and Mubarak and the Manila-Cairo Parallels”

  1. Saigo No Shinpan said

    In my assessment the Philippines doesn’t need a “liberal democracy” and therefore in a similar note Egypt doesn’t need it too.

  2. Brian C. Ventura said

    Unless you elaborate more on why both the Philippine and Egypt does not need a liberal democracy I would not know how to reply to your comment.

  3. nuelene said

    military controls Egypt now. But what kind of control? Restoring democracy or gradually starting a military dictatorship?

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