To Remain the Same, Allow a Little Change
… Hosni Mubarak made two very political announcements last week, illustrating a worldly insight common to ruling elites in many societies: a recognition that for things to remain basically the same, they must be allowed to change a little.
His talk of legal and political reforms was his way of conceding that Egypt's current system of autocratic rule disguised as partial democracy has to be dressed up a little more like a real democracy -- all the better to retain the ruling clique's monopoly on power. The same tactic of altering the wrappings on power without sacrificing its essence explains the pledge he made to replace emergency laws that have been in effect in Egypt for 24 years with new antiterrorist laws that he did not define.
-Boston Globe editorial, 1 Aug. 2005