Featured, Latest Posts — By admin on January 25, 2012 4:45 am
Guest Post by Adel El-Adawy,
An Egyptian Student Abroad Blog
January 25, 2012, will forever be a date remembered by Egyptians. Last year, the world witnessed the uprising of Egyptians against former President Hosni Mubarak. After 18 days of massive protests across the country, Mubarak was forced to step down. The military took over.
The military vowed to protect the revolution and lead Egypt’s democratic transition. In hindsight, many Egyptians regret the decision of letting the military take over. Many activists have voiced their regret of leaving Tahrir Square on February 11.
In the eyes of many people, some policy decisions undertaken by the military during the last 12 months have stood in contradiction to democratic principles aspired by Egyptians in January 2011; hence, many are returning back in 2012. Tahrir symbolizes the hope for Egyptian democracy.
We could debate the political transition of the last 12 months in detail, but the question I ponder is whether the demands of Tahrir will slowly fade away? They have still not been realized.
The majority of Egyptians knew what they wanted in January 2011 and most of them agreed with the demands of Tahrir. Everyone aspired true freedom, justice, and dignity. But, the problem was that the Tahrir movement had no transitional plan for implementing their demands.
They let someone take over the transition process in the spur of the moment out of happiness for President Mubarak’s resignation. It is as if you start celebrating midst a football game while the game is not yet over. The military is the backbone of the Mubarak regime, the regime they wanted to topple, and people slowly realized it.
In the last 12 months, the voices of different political forces started expressing their envisioned paths to the realization of the demands of Tahrir.
The youth of January 25, 2011, believed a new secular Constitution would be the vehicle to protect the demands of the Egyptian revolution. The people in Tahrir wanted real change, and not superficial change.
This explains why there is still much frustration in the streets of Egypt and in Tahrir; hence the big crowds on January 25, 2012. The current political transition lead by the military has sought to preserve the status quo. People do not want new Mubarak’s, but they want the complete change of the system.
They want to transform the rules of the game (Constitution). A Constitution that protects freedom, justice, and dignity of all Egyptian citizens without the discrimination of minorities. A Constitution with checks and balances on all branches of government. If this does not happen- we basically postpone Egypt’s democratic transition for another few years.
On January 25, 2011, it was not the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafist who went to Tahrir and demanded freedom, justice, and dignity. The Muslim Brotherhood publicly opposed the protests and only joined later, after they witnessed the effectiveness of the Tahrir force.So, why are the Islamic political parties in power now? Why did they win the most seats in the parliament? The answer is clear: They had a better organized, funded, and foremost established vision amongst the Egyptian public for the demands of Tahrir; namely their interpretation of Islam.
Tags: Adel El-Adawy, Egyptian Student Abroad blog, Muslim Brotherhood, One Year Later: What will happen to the Tahrir Demands?, President Mubarak, Salafist, SCAF, Tahrir Square
We have to accept this outcome, but there is still much more work ahead for the political liberal force of Egypt, who I believe represent the Tahrir force. I am convinced it will take few years for this Tahrir force to establish support amongst the general public for their narrative. I just hope it is not too late by then.There are certainly many questions as of what the Muslim Brotherhood will do in the upcoming months. While some sleep in Parliament (see picture right,) liberals should work hard to establish a grassroots organization across Egypt to win the upcoming election.At this point- I would say the demands of Tahrir might have been reframed by the Islamic political parties. However, the political Islamic parties are now under the spotlight. The January 25, 2012 protests will remind them of the power and demands of Tahrir.
I really hope the demands of Tahrir are not reframed by the Islamic political parties into their personal interpretation of Islam. This would be a step backwards not forward towards democracy in Egypt. The success of the ongoing Egyptian revolution will be determined by the final draft of the new Constitution.The most important task for revolutionaries is to keep the demands of Tahrir alive and not let them fade away. Our main concern should not be the exact date SCAF hands power over, but rather focus the emphasis on ensuring the demands of Tahrir are protected in the new Constitution. I really hope the demands of Tahrir do not fade away in this political environment because we cannot afford more mistakes in this democratic transition.
There are many more questions to be addressed and pondered as we mark the first anniversary of the Egyptian uprising. The next few blog posts will address these questions and thoughts. But let us hope the demands of Tahrir never fade away and this ongoing revolution succeeds. I am optimistic because as someone once said:
“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”
Adel El-Adawy is editor and creator of the Egyptian Student Abroad blog.Egyptian politics is in his blood as his grandfather served as senior foreign policy advisor to former president to Anwar Sadat and his father is Egyptian Ambassador to Liberia. A candidate for a Masters in Political Science at the American University in Washington, DC, Mr. El-Adawy is currently a research assistant at the Midde East Institute in Washington.