Thoughts on the Egyptian Revolution



By: HASHEM HAMDY  
Published: February 1st 2011
in News » World

Protesters burning a photo of Mubarak

The current political crisis in Egypt has been analyzed ad infinitum in the Western media. What they lack, however, is an insider perspective of the issue that explains the consciousness, attitudes, and demands of the Egyptian people who are currently revolting in the streets. Much in the same way that the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia inspired Eastern Europe to overthrow Communist regimes, Tunisia’s revolution has inspired the Arabs to overthrow their tyrants and despots. Indeed, the Egyptians found themselves thinking “If ten million Tunisians can overthrow one man, why can’t eighty million Egyptians overthrow Mubarak?”

 

What people don’t seem to understand is that this is not entirely about democracy, unemployment, political oppression, economic freedom, poverty, etc. While these issues exist in the background, and are contributing factors, this revolution is a direct response to the relationship, or lack thereof, between Hosni Mubarak and the Egyptian people.

 

This is the man who believes that there isn’t a traffic problem in Cairo because the streets are cleared for him when he drives through. Hosni Mubarak has only shown the Egyptian people indifference at most, and contempt at worst. This contempt is demonstrated by allowing unfathomable corruption, usually manifested in the commonly accepted extortion of even the poorest Egyptian, to continue to exist in the country. The kowtowing to the United States over Israel shames Egyptians, and is one of the most detracted and unpopular actions and policies of the Mubarak regime.

 

Mubarak’s failure to recognize, or selective ignorance of, that Egyptians want him out of power and out of the country entirely justifies the grievances of his people. Mubarak, even in the twilight of his rule, is using his last days to take care of himself. His wife and son, Gamal, have been flown to London. It has been inaccurately reported that civilians are the cause of most of the looting and for burning down the National Democratic Party (the ruling party) headquarters. This is untrue. Plainclothes Internal Ministry officers are largely responsible, as chaos justifies Mubarak’s firm hand, and the government burned down their own headquarters to destroy the incriminating documents which catalogue thirty years of torture, murder, and government-inflicted suffering.

 

Furthermore, rather than abdicate, Mubarak simply appointed a “new” ministry, which simply shuffled ministers from one position to another. The appointment of Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian chief of intelligence, as vice president is an insult to Egypt, as the man is much despised by the people. The day the regime and the revolution end is the day Hosni Mubarak and those who have helped in the oppression of the Egyptian people leave Egypt.

 

It is important to realize that Egypt has traded one oppressor for another for six thousand years. Whether it was the pharaoh, the Greek, the Ottoman, the Mamluk, the French, the British, or even an Egyptian king (Farouk I, the Thief of Cairo), the Egyptians have never been free. The Egyptian Revolution in 1952, led by the Free Officers Movement, gave Egyptians hope and inspiration for a free Egypt lead by Egyptians, for the Egyptians. Gamal Abdel Nasser truly was a leader for the Egyptians, as was Sadat, until Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel. This action directly lead to his assassination (it is interesting to note that when Sadat was assassinated, his assassins shouted “death to the Pharaoh!” a now common chant in the streets of Cairo referring to Hosni Mubarak).

 

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