A New Dawn for Egypt?
Thus spoke the anti-government and pro-democracy Egyptian protesters, who since the 25th of January have taken to the streets demanding the immediate resignation of Hosni Mubarak, the dictatorial president who has presided over Egypt for the past three decades. This date which was chosen for the commencement of protests serves a sense of poetic justice and is a date that, if it was not already, will be remembered forever within Egypt. Not only is it the day when the Egyptian people decided to end the country’s last pharaoh-esque dynasty with a people’s revolution, it is now the day that Egyptians from every sphere of life, whether they be middle class university graduates or working class farmers and shop owners, took to the streets and fought against their government and all it stood for-tyranny, oppression and corruption. Two weeks later, and with an ever-rising death count currently standing at over 300 and over 1 500 injured, the protests continue unabated.
Many scholars and analysts believe that the Mubarak regime holds the upper hand in this equation, with the events occurring on the ground being played out almost as if they were from a story-book that was written and crafted by the military itself. The regime’s reactions to the uprising were embarked upon in such a way that allowed the military to maintain the status quo and to continue to control the politics of the largest Arab country whose foreign policy is both extensive and far-reaching across the region and internationally. Ultimately, with Mubarak clinging to power in any shape or form, and vice-president Suleiman continuing to make empty promises to opposition parties, it does not come as a surprise that many analysts believe that the government simply has the people and the opposition eating out of the palm of its hand.
Despite this gloomy picture that is being painted by the domestic and international media, I do not believe that this is the case. Even if the revolution in Egypt ends with a few minor concessions to the people and a false sense of democracy where the military still controls the newly formed government from behind the scenes, ensuring that that it is able to maintain both its domestic power and continue to fulfil its foreign policy objectives, I believe that the dreams and ideas of revolution will remain in the hearts and minds of Egyptians. The idea of true democratisation is now beyond containment. The seeds for planting democracy have been put in place and cannot be undone. Judging by the steadfastness of the protesters that continue their sit-in in Tahrir Square as the uprising enters its second week, who show no signs of being appeased by what they know are empty concessions and promises, this is a seed whose roots will not die.
So what is to become of Egypt and its people? Will the government remain unmoved in its staunch position of maintaining a regime through violence and oppression until the will of their own people is eventually broken? Or will the masses that have stood together and become the united voice of Egypt over the past fourteen days be able to hold on to their hopes for a new dawn for Egypt and remain steadfast in their belief that real change is possible? I believe that they will. The idea of change and liberation has been lit within the minds of Egyptians who want to see their country a place in which they can grow and prosper, a place where their voices can be heard and their needs met.
Right now there is a sense of cautious hope held by the anti-government and pro-democracy demonstrators who are beginning to feel that despite the hardship, misery and violence they have endured that they may actually be able to determine their own destinies, and if need be, bring a country to its knees in order to do so. Although the end does not seem in sight for the time-being, the night, as they say, is always darkest just before the dawn.
Image by Ramy Raoof