Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak has stood down and has left Cairo for Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort on the Red Sea coast. His departure follows 18 days of protests in the centre of the capital, broadly condoned by the army. Several attempts by Mubarak to placate his opponents by promising to resign later in the year did nothing to assuage his critics. And today, he left office.
It is a victory for the ordinary man and woman of Egypt, all 85 million of them. Nobody from outside was involved, and outside issues did not feature in the protests. It was an impopular and despotic ruler that was the object of protests. The advent of the Internet has made it possible, it has shown Egyptians what is possible. Tunisia, but other places too, has shed its despots. Who will be next? Gadaffi, Assad, the Arabian leaders?
What will happen next is anyone's guess. But it will be a series of decisions that are up to the Egyptians to make. If free and fair elections, promised by the armed forces, result in an Islamic party coming to power, so be it. The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, signed by the late president Sadat and late premier Begin in the 1970s, does not appear to be in jeopardy. Tearing it up is in nobody's interest.
Our wet weather pales into insignificance compared to the momentous events in Cairo today.