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THE DYNAMICS OF THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION

PRACTISING POLITICAL ACTIVISM

Events then since the beginning of the new millennium intensified dramatically and followed in quick succession. There has been, overall, a constant change in direction, and for Egyptian civil society it has been a time to practise political activism. In 2005, the pro-reform activists of the opposition movement "Kifaja" (meaning "enough") organized the first huge anti-government demonstrations. Following these uprisings, in November/December 2005 parliamentary elections took place, in which the National Democratic Party of Mubarak won the majority of seats. Simultaneously, the Muslim Brotherhood got stronger. On 6 April 2006 huge worker strikes from al-Mahalla al Kubra arose, from which later on the famous youth movement of 6th of April was formed.

On 6 June 2010 the civilian Khaled Said was brutally killed by two police officers in Alexandria. As a result, Wael Ghonim created the Facebook group "We are all Khaled Said", which became decisive for the mobilization of the masses against the Mubarak regime on 25 January 2011. In the parliamentary elections of November 2010 / January 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood did not win any seats and claims of massive election fraud came from all opposition groups. Accordingly country-wide protests followed.

THE BIRTH OF THE SO-CALLED ARAB SPRING

From 25 January to 11 February 2011 the now world-acclaimed Egyptian uprisings occurred, following those in Tunis, which ended in Egypt with the resignation of Mubarak. The protests followed the Tunisian model, where mobilization of masses were organized mainly through the internet and social networks. Power was taken by the military that saw itself executing the will of the Egyptian people and preventing a potential outbreak of civil war. Shortly, thereafter and under public pressure Mubarak was arrested and his court case started in August 2011. He was accused of being responsible for the victims of the revolution as well as the misappropriation of public property. This was a historic moment in the history of Egypt, and since then has been called "The Egyptian Revolution of 2011". On 13 February 2011 the military council took over the leadership of the country, dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitution.

When the people took to the streets, in 2011, they went out to fight for social justice. Yet it was not long before criminal elements, many of them within the Muslim Brotherhood, took over. Once they came into power, moreover, they produced an "Islamic Constitution" that had nothing to do with the fundamentals, or indeed essence, of Islam, as portrayed by Sardar in Chapter 19. In fact they proceeded to defile national monuments which were not overtly "Islamic" and generally to wreak havoc on Egyptian land. All of this was supported by the Brotherhood in America and around the world. It was as if, for Abouleish, these people were offering to Egyptians and to the world a newly benevolent emperor, and yet ultimately one with, in Hans Christian Anderson's terms, no clothes!

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

In the parliamentary elections that took place in January 2012, Islamic parties won the majority of seats. Then at the end of May 2012, the first supposedly free presidential elections took place. In mid-June, Mohammed Mursi won the presidential elections with 51.7 per cent of the votes, against Ahmed Shafik, an ex-military officer and Prime Minister under Mubarak. But on 14 June 2012 the Supreme Court suspended the freshly elected parliament.

In December 2012 the new pro-Islamist Constitution with highly controversial presidential decrees was formulated, adopted and ratified by national referendum though with very low participation. On 28 April 2013 the Tamarod-rebellion took place, backed by the military and funded by a rich elite with the aim of getting Mohammed Mursi out of office, and further reinforced by a petition with at least 15 million signatures from Egyptian civilians. The same movement brought about the second Revolution on 30 June 2013, culminating in the interference of the military and the dismissal of President Mursi that followed. The people in the street this time around were those who had suffered from the crass policies of the Mursi regime, including its catastrophic record on human rights. Both, the January 25th and June 30th Revolutions are considered to be decisive and unique uprisings due to the heavy popular participation of tens of millions of people, the significant role of the youth, and masses including different classes and ideologies.

Is this then not the kind of change, led by the people, to which Sardar has alluded? One could certainly see the public will behind the historic events but there is also a lot of evidence, and voices, pointing towards the hidden influence of the military that thereby wants to secure power for itself. The complexity of the situation makes it impossible to see the absolute truth, but one thing remains certain: the Egyptian people have become thoroughly politicized, and have become much more active in upholding their rights then they had been under Mubarak – and that can be seen as a real achievement towards democracy. So where are we now (as of our writing at the end of January 2014)?

 
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