(The Pyramids have seen it all before...well maybe not a "freely" elected President of Egypt, but that changed this weekend)
If you like a good speech, or at least a long one, then Cairo was the place to be over the last few days.
New Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, swore his oath of office in three different places, controversially in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court (the body that recently dissolved the democratically elected parliament), in Cairo University- and most symbolically in front of a massive, delirious crowd in Tahrir Square.
The intricate political significance of all this is somewhat complicated- and I deal with much of it in my article in today’s ‘Sunday Business Post’.
Morsi’s speech in Tahrir was dramatic and vaguely ‘rock and roll’ as the 60 year old rotund Muslim Brother worked the crowd. At one stage he swung his jacket open to reveal he had no bullet proof vest on. Saying he feared only God, and not the people of Egypt (apparently Mubarak went nowhere without donning his bullet proof attire).
Then, with his panicking bodyguards following, he went to the front of the stage and pointed at the crowd saying that they gave him power. His journey from prison to Presidential palace was complete.
It was passionate, chaotic, mesmerizing, sweaty, sentimental and historic. In truth I think it was a very Egyptian event.
As I write in today’s Sunday Business Post “President Morsi faces a massive task trying to oversee this unfinished revolution; a showdown between the Brotherhood and the military over the extent of his powers seems inevitable and the revolutionary movement remains on the streets.
“But while we contemplate all the difficulties facing the elected President, it is important to remember that it’s the very fact that he is freely elected, which is one of the great achievements of the Egyptian revolution.”
The Brotherhood are a contradictory phenomena and will not be able to fulfil the goals of the revolution. There is an excellent analysis by Egyptian socialist Hossam el-Hamalawy on the Brotherhood's victory here, which is well worth reading and to which I broadly concur.
But this week could have all been very different.
If last week’s election had been “rigged” the other way, and former Mubarak PM Ahmed Shafiq had come to power, then this would not have been a week of speeches and symbolism.
It would have been a week of anger, fear, loathing, clashes and most probably bloodshed.
It can be easy to be cynical about much of the symbolism of the last few days- but surely it is much better than what the alternative was.
The revolutionary movement under Morsi, can continue to organise, oppose and build. If Shafiq had won, it would have meant imprisonment, martyrdom and considering the political balance of forces here- most probably a massive blow to the revolution. But for now the revolution continues, haltingly maybe, but continue it can.