Last night, with the Sphinx-like Sphinx in the background, President Hosni Mubarak addressed his people in a manner that demonstrated the Egyptian paradox of defiant compliance.
While the world expected that he would withdraw from ruling the nation and retire to his beach house in the Alps, Mr. Mubarak instead declared that he would listen to his people and turn over the reins of government to others but that he would still remain as President.
Meanwhile, his speech indicated other concessions that he apparently hoped would assuage the restive populace.
"I have heard you, my people," he announced. "No longer will it be correct for me to continue the present course. As the Nile must seek its own level after a flood, I too must change.
"I will now drive in a 1990 Ford...better than that, I will take the bus every day to the Palace. I will wear Fruit-of-the-Loom underwear...with holes yet.
"And finally, I will take out my own garbage and get the mail every morning. Suleiman will appreciate that since he does it for me now. Now, thank you and clear out of that damn Square before my tanks mow you down! Good night."