A newly-born Egypt

Situace v Egyptě přitahuje pozornost celého světa a zejména pak všechny pohybující se v oblasti politologie a bezpečnostních studií. Server sekuritaci. cz Vám přináší exluzivní názor na situaci očima egyptské politoložky Mariam Abdel Baky.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they use violence against, then you win” Gandhi.

Egypt’s political and social landscape has undergone a face-lift since the events of January 25th, 2011. For my generation, we have never seen a president apart from Mubarak and for so long assumed we never will. In recent years, Mubarak’s politicians have been grooming his son to take his position gradually, fact apparent by the son’s active participation in his father’s National Democratic Party. Although this seemingly dynastic feature could be enough to frustrate Egyptians, there were many other reasons pushing for a revolt. Mubarak’s era has witnessed social, economic and political deterioration that in consequence led to the impoverishment of Egyptians. I understand this is not the venue for discussing Mubarak’s drawbacks; I shall list a few only for clarification. Corruption, police brutality, illiteracy rates, poor educational system, societal gaps, forged elections, widespread of slum areas, lack of transparency, malnutrition, high rates of cancer patients, high rates of unemployment, and brain drain are all examples to the conditions under which Egyptians had to survive. Those were the reasons that broke the camel’s back resulting in an unprecedented revolution in Egyptian history. A revolution, that I am proud to be part of.

Inspired by the outcome of Tunisia’s recent events as well, Egyptian youth took to the streets of Egypt on what they referred to as the ‘day of anger’. The demonstrators made it a point to keep the demonstrations peaceful with no political or religious affiliations. The state television has completely “ignored” the events taking place in Tahrir Square and other parts of Egypt by not covering the demonstrations all together on the news. The state police, known for its brutality, responded to the events by intense violence injuring and killing many young people in their call for social justice. It might have been the absence of political slogans used in the demonstrations or the ordinary trend of nonchalance by that state that lead many of the state authorities to underestimate the power of the youth during the first days of the demonstrations. Some of them claimed that these youth, myself included, are misguided and irresponsible. Not only that, but they also made public promises that the matter will be over soon. Basically, they were “laughing” at us. The state police not only “violently” attacked protestors physically but also verbally, a matter that I found quite interesting. Those people were completely brainwashed by the corrupt system that they did not comprehend the fact that the calls for bread, freedom and social justice will serve us all.

Mubarak came on television with very small concessions; mainly the overthrow of his cabinet. Seeing that this system has lost all credibility, in addition to the fact that the primary demand was the overthrow of Mubarak himself, the demonstrations persisted. With the cabinet overthrown, the former Minister of Interior and some of the members of the National Democratic Party decided they will retaliate. Overnight all state police disappeared from the streets, prisons open and thugs were let out threatening the lives of people. For days, men would take shifts on the street to protect public and private property in an attempt to provide protection. This was the first time I heard gun shots in my district, it was both frightening and exhausting to endure. With the absence of state police rose beautiful demonstration and marches that I will always carry so close to my heart. Being there was very emotionally gratifying; I remember crying when I chanted the national anthem between the protestors. It was the first opportunity for me and I am sure for many others to scream anti-Mubarak slogans in the open. I have been to smaller demonstrations in Cairo that have been erupting in recent years, but the criticism was limited to ministers and specific policies. I saw young children, elderly, disabled, students, Christians, Muslims, workers, state employees, elites, and singers in the protests. If the state has been successful in anything, it would be in bringing people from all walks of life against it.

The protestors felt like they have claimed their right to speak, at last. Unfortunately this dream quickly got interrupted when members of the National Democratic Party paid state security men who were dressed as civilians money to attack the protestors. Men with swords broke into the scene on camels and horses attacking the peaceful protestors a few hours after Mubarak had appeared again announcing that he will not run for elections anymore claiming that he wishes to be buried in Egyptian soil. In spite of the minimal sense of relief, the events that took place early the next day called for more intense demonstrations. According to my friend who has been severely attacked that in the absence of state police they created a “popular prison” in Cairo’s underground tunnel and captured 150 thugs carrying identity cards proving they are members of the state security police and members of Mubarak’s party. Evidence for this has been proven through the pictures that are being circulated on facebook.

The question that still remains is: will we “win”? Following Gandhi’s formula we should be winning at this point. Although Mubarak is still in office, I believe that the lives of those who died in the protests did not go in vain. If anything, we won our right to speak our minds. It is fascinating to see change happen even if it is after 30 years of undemocratic rule. It is still not over, but those people in offices should remember that the youth of Egypt will not be silenced again. I write this with anxiousness about what tomorrow will bring to us.

Autor: Mariam Abdel Baky, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Teaching Assistant


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