The beginning of 2011 saw an eruption of protests in Egypt as revolutionaries took to the street in demand for a world call for change. They sought equality and equal distribution of resources as well as rights to political participation, and so Egypt was launched into the world’s spotlight.
We all sat with bated breathe, glued to our television sets, internet forums and social networks, in wait for the latest breakthrough in the Egypt revolution - crossing our fingers for the common ordinary people, seeking freedom for all! Of course, as with all revolutions, unrest is the norm; and accordingly Egypt saw a time of civil unrest as the state of the nation became increasingly unstable, leading many to predict a civil war break out.
Fortunately for all parties involved these predictions did not come to pass. However, the question stands some 4 months later: What did the revolution in Egypt actually manage to achieve? Are the people of Egypt in line for a shift in government policies and regimes? Is there a way forward? What is the status of Egypt at present? Mubarak and his regime held a very tight fisted reign over Egypt and did so for well over 30 years. It was this stifling controlling factor that led the ordinary Egyptian to stand up and break the mould that Mubarak had shaped for himself and the state.
The revolutionaries are of the mindset that the state and the government are to exist as a consequence of the will of the people, and not the other way round. Thus the Egypt revolution quintessentially attempted to show that the power lies in the hands of its people. As time went on the protests led to a massive change in mindset for many Egyptians “bringing the Berlin Wall inside people’s minds crashing down”.
Ultimately, Mubarak was forced to resign, which he did on the 12 February 2011, relinquishing his powers to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF). According to an interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor, Mohamed Waked, SCAF is merely attempting to ‘recreate the old regime’. He says the post-revolution months have seen thousands of ordinary Egyptians being tried by military courts (run by SCAF), who cite various ridiculous reasons including the crime of ‘baltaga’ (hooliganism).
The sentences passed on these types of ‘crimes of the state’ are extreme - 3-5 years of imprisonment - a rather harsh sentencing for someone trying to practice their freedom of speech I would say. Waked states that this kind of over-the-top discipline is the main reason so much tension exists between the Supreme Council and the citizens of Egypt. It seems the general impression so far is, that although not an entire waste of time, the revolution in Egypt has not changed much in the way of the lives’ of the ordinary citizens. The fact that the revolution was needed, to create a place of solidarity for the ordinary working-class Egyptian, is of course priceless. However it is yet to be determined what the long term affects of the revolution will be.
One thing can definitely be learnt from the Egypt revolution - In unity there is power, and when the people have had enough of struggling and putting up with the dregs left to them by their ‘leaders’, the people will revolt and affect a radical change. Long Live Freedom!