Protest movement building in Egypt. (Photo: Reuters)

Something is happening in Egypt we need to watch carefully and pray about seriously.

The sudden, unexpected popular overthrow of a corrupt, authoritarian regime in the North African country of Tunisia this month — a Reformer movement fueled by Facebook and Twitter — is having ripple effects in nearby Egypt. Mass protests against President Hosni Mubarak, 82, his authoritarian regime, government corruption, poverty, and human rights abuses ignited yesterday in Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere, and intensified today. The numbers of Egyptians turning up for the protests, many of them hearing about the events through social media, are swelling into the tens of thousands, and possibly higher. Egyptian police are clashing hard with the protestors. Injuries are mounting and there have been a few deaths.

Is a revolution in motion? Are pro-democracy Reformers likely to succeed? Not according to the Obama administration. “Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, masking a view widely held within the U.S. government that the overthrow of the Mubarak regime could be a massively destabilizing event in the Middle East.

Personally, I don’t think the Mubarak regime is stable at all. It is an authoritarian, corrupt, anti-human rights, anti-free speech regime. The Egyptian people deserve much better. They deserve freedom and democracy. They certainly don’t deserved to be beaten and tortured for protesting Mubarak’s many sins. In my non-fiction book, Inside The Revolution, I wrote: “President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt — nominally a Muslim but more of a secular Arab nationalist at heart — is a classic Resister….[and] has resisted fundamental changes in Egypt of almost any kind” ever since coming to office after the death of President Anwar Sadat, one of the great Reformers of history.

There is an unconfirmed report that the Egyptian leader’s son, Gamal Mubarak (widely believed to be his father’s choice to succeed him), and Gamal’s family, have left the country, possibly for England. We’ll see if that’s true or not soon enough.

In the meantime, we need to pray for the people of Egypt:

  1. Pray that the Lord will have mercy on the 80 million people of that important, proud, historic country.
  2. Pray that the people of Egypt will find freedom and democracy and that honorable leaders will emerge to replace the Mubaraks.
  3. Pray that the Reformers are successful, with a minimum of violence.
  4. Please pray that the persecuted Church in Egypt will be strong, courageous and healthy and will share the good news of salvation through Christ to the entire nation at this critical time.
  5. Pray that many Muslims will come to faith in Jesus Christ.
  6. Pray that there will be a revival among the 10% of the nation that are Coptic Christians, many of whom are nominal Christians — pray that they find a real and personal relationship with our Lord Jesus.
  7. Pray for believers outside Egypt to know how best to help, as the Lord leads.

Key stories to track:

  • “Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s son who is considered as his successor has fled to Britain along with his family,” reports accounts in several Arab-language media websites. “‘The plane with Gamal Mubarak, his wife and daughter on board left for London Tuesday from an airport in western Cairo,’ [one] website said. The report came as violent unrest broke out in Cairo and other Egyptian cities and hundreds of thousands of people reportedly took to the streets in a Tunisia-inspired day of revolt. The protesters want Egyptian government to end its 30-year state of emergency and pass a law preventing a president from serving more than two terms, and want the interior minister Habib al-Adly, to resign.”
  • The Wall Street Journal reports: “Tens of thousands of protesters clashed with police in cities across Egypt on Tuesday to demand the ouster of the president, as shock waves from Tunisia’s successful revolt against its leader two weeks ago continued to rumble through the Middle East. The protests appeared to be the biggest in decades in Egypt, a country where opposition has long been kept in check and demonstrations rarely draw more than a few hundred people. According to some initial accounts, as many as 50,000 demonstrators in all turned out in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other Egyptian cities. At least two protesters and one security official were killed.”
  • The U.K.’s Daily Mail reports: “To the north, in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, thousands of protesters also marched in what was dubbed a ‘Day of Rage’ against Mr Mubarak and lack of political freedoms under his rule. In another parallel with the Tunisia protests, the calls for rallies went out on Facebook and Twitter, with 90,000 saying they would attend. The protests coincided with a national holiday honouring Egypt’s much-feared police. Demonstrators in Cairo sang the national anthem and carried banners denouncing Mr Mubarak and the widespread fraud that plagues the country’s elections. The organisers said the protests were a ‘day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment.'”
  • The latest Reuters headline reads: Egyptians rage against Mubarak’s 30-year rule.