Thursday, November 24, 2011

The wave of change

After bringing in a significant change in Tunisia, the wave of revolution reached Egypt on 25th January 2011.

The Egyptian Revolution of the masses against the pseudo republic nations former-President Hosni Mubarak, met an interim victory when Mr. Mubarak stepped down from the throne he had held for nearly 30 years , since 1981. This revolution has taken a fresh turn when thousands of protesters and activists took to the streets and occupied the historical Tahrir square once again last week demanding an immediate handover from its current military management to a power in the hands of people (read, a democratic form of government) and revoke the emergency laws once set up and never lifted by former president Hosni Mubarak – an act which they are calling as ‘reclaiming the revolution'. So what made these million people take to the streets in the first place? After the indecent exposure of the vested interests of powerful westerners had been researched and disclosed and hugely talked about, it has almost become a trend, to very conveniently turn and look at them the moment anything happens anywhere in the world. Of course, there is no denying that someone who is the mighty and powerful, will certainly have something to do with most things happening – good or bad, but at the same time, one cannot just get up and say, ‘You did it.’ All the time, mostly just out of habit or mere suspicion. Additionally, I think it is not possible for any power to bring a million people from the civil society on the streets to stand up against one of their own, just because someone wants it that way. Nah, because if that was possible, then probably those 1 million people had to be some sort of robots for that particular someone to program! And most importantly, this is a revolution, not a war. And there is a fundamental difference between what a revolution is and what a war is. A revolution needs passion and intent and is prolonged (unlike an uprising). A war on the other hand could be instinctive and needs money and power to sustain itself.

Now the question is that is this Egyptian revolution really a revolution? If yes, then what were the most significant reasons for this to happen?

Now since this mass uprising of civil society against the government has been continuing homogenously in a peaceful and defined manner since the past 11 months, and their intention has not wavered, this most definitely can be called a revolution. Now for the reasons,

Post the revolution of 1952, in 1953 Egypt turned a republic from being a monarchy. Since then there had been 5 presidents. Hosni Mubarak was the 4th (the 5th one was assassinated). Even through Egypt was termed a republic, but actually it used to practice a very authoritarian form of government. Unrest, resentment and anger against prolonged unemployment, mistreatment, police brutality, lack of freedom of speech, corruption, inflation, misdemeanors under the wraps of emergency laws etc had been long brewing in the Egyptian society. Stories of oppression under the hands of Mubarak can be easily found and researched, so I shall not site them here. In fact you can find a lot of the prime reasons for the discontentment here .

But it was only when another Arab country, Tunisia stood up against its’ tyrant, that, Egypt got the much needed push to break into a revolution themselves. And as David Remnick rightly wrote in his article ‘Judgement Days’ , I quote,
Egyptians, secular and religious, poor and middle-class, flowed into the public square to express their outrage after years of voiceless suffering; they protested injustice, the endlessly documented incidents of torture and corruption, the general stagnation and disappointment of their lives.
These people were there because each one of them had the misery and hopelessness which engulfed them since the past so many decades. These were the people who witnessed or heard stories of Egypt once being the trend setter of the Arab world to what it is now – a country besieged with poverty, corruption, illiteracy, unemployment and injustice.

Were these men and women sent by America? Most logically not, at least not for Egypt. I am saying so since Hosni Mubarak was still very pro-America and also it was the first and probably the only Arab nation who agreed to the peace treaty with Israel, much to the disapproval of civilian Egyptians themselves. Additionally the only oil relation Egypt has is the Suez Canal, and the Suez Canal is anyway too small for large oil ship tanks to pass, hence the Oil Prices wont be majorly affected by any change in the current administration of the canal. So, I really do not see any obvious reason why US would have any direct advantage in getting Hosni out and getting someone else in.

The revolution in itself should not be surprising. It is a known fact, that the concentration of absolute power together with prolonged unchallenged duration is a perfect recipe for corruption, brutality and injustice. Anger, under those circumstances, is nothing but obvious. Today the people are being vociferous in a bid to reclaim their freedom, their right to have free/honest elections, equality, justice, and opportunities etc., most of which seem impossible to them if the Mubarak regime continues. Moreover, the 1952 revolution in Egypt was done to overthrow a monarchy and establish a republic, and with Gamal (Hosnis son, who is even more disliked than Hosni himself) being prepared to become the next President of Egypt, was almost reestablishing the anarchic form and going back into history.

This is also the reason why most of the countries with authoritarian form of government have a need to worry. Because sooner or later, it will be their turn and chances are that the need or desire for democracy will arise from within the civil society rather than thru intervention of foreign nations or western capitals (!).

The next obvious question is, will this revolution bring a significant positive change to what life has been in Egypt, or will it further damage the country. To this, I feel that any change, especially when brought about very quickly with force and out of frustration, does not lead to instant gratification. But what I do believe is that tomorrow whatever happens in Egypt, it will be known that the civil society of Egypt had re-woken and the people took charge and tried to be the catalyst to the change they wanted to see. Whatever will happen to them now will be because of something they did, or tried to do today.

To be in control and to be able to make a choice is a huge freedom. And that makes a whole lot of difference.

 Find an entire series of photos from the revolution, here.


Fowl Ideas said...

I'm not even going to speculate about the magnets.

jack said...

To be in control and to be able to make a choice is a huge freedom. And that makes a whole lot of difference.


jack said...

This is also the reason why most of the countries with authoritarian form of government have a need to worry.