Not everything is public relations.
Hosni Mubarak, the man who led Egypt for three decades, stepped down this week. This was not a “PR move” done to win favor with the world. Revolutions have happened throughout human history, and this one could have ended very badly for this target of the people’s angst. If he had waited much longer, Mubarak’s life and certainly the lives of many Egyptians might have met a violent end. Instead, as revolutions go, this one was peaceful. It was an amazing demonstration of how people succeeded toppling a ruthless government by communicating their message through their sheer numbers.
Word of the street protests were fueled at the start by social media until the government shut it down. So the message demanding that Murarak leave was conveyed for days on end by the swelling crowds. The Egyptian president chose to relate his messages via television, attempted to placate the nation by promising he wouldn’t run for re-election and then by transferring power to his newly-selected vice president. One might view Mubarak’s pronouncements as crisis PR but they were, more accurately, desperate attempts to hold on to power.
Egypt’s message of people power has resonated throughout the world. The people got what they wanted. Numbers mattered–huge numbers of people with the simplest of messages to their despised leader conveyed by the simplest of ways: Loud, clear voices saying, “Get out!”