The current Egyptian governing structure has managed to unite the entire nation against one common enemy in only 5 months. People who were on opposite sides only 18 months ago are currently cheering each other on and praising each side’s bravery. Judges who have remained silent on years of corruption are taking a stand and striking, state TV which described the Jan. 25 uprising crowds as a “few hundred” are now being cut off during live broadcasts because they are siding with the street. And the court system has come to a historic halt, the last time Egypt had an all-out strike by the judiciary was in 1919 and it was against the British colonial rule. Our president’s recent political decision shocked even Zamalek residents, an elite neighborhood in Egypt that remained relatively quiet during Jan 2011, into holding independent marches to Tahrir. I mean it’s truly amazing, they’ve managed to accomplish in 5 months what ousted president Mubarak failed to accomplish in 30 years.
When people say history is set to repeat itself, they don’t mean that it’s supposed to happen every two years. But yes after months of a relatively stable political environment the last straw has reignited the Egyptian revolution. Tahrir square has reopened for business and welcomed back mass protests and sit-ins, and the same January 25 2011 chants are again echoing through the streets of Egypt. The funny thing is other than a quick shuffling of faces and seats, not much has changed.
The exact same statements that were made against the revolutionaries in 2011, are being thrown at them once again this time around. Protesters are once again referred to as hired thugs, drug addicts and prostitutes, in an attempt to weaken street support. We’re even hearing the same speeches in very similar order, and off course the “invisible hands” and “foreign parties” have reclaimed their thrown as scapegoats for any bloodshed that has and will occur. What baffles me is all parties present in this most recent political instability, have had front row seats to a rehearsal of this whole show, only two years ago. Why is it do they believe that utilizing the same twisted methods of the previous regime, would work on us this time around? After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results.
There also seems to be a guide that comes with the presidential seat, passed from one president to the other, with absolutely no notes in the margins. In addition to a section on “underestimating the Egyptian people,” there’s one about “how to deal with a protest.” It includes steps like; Ignore protest, gather followers and call it a “celebration,” answer demands after they’ve changed and thank the opposition. All aimed in my opinion at emotionally abusing your people and increasing their suicidal tendencies. Why violently disperse a protest when you can paralyze your opposers into submission with only your words?
However, like any good sequel there’s a twist, a new subsection of society has decided to join in. In addition to the revolution regulars the "hezb el kanaba" as they were referred to in 2011, have finally been swept off their couches and decided to hit the streets. This new addition to the party is people who didn’t take part the first time around, mostly because they didn’t have much to lose. Call it selfishness, passivity or laziness, the point is they stood on the sidelines last time, but decided to pitch in this time around. Make no mistake there’s a big difference between being pro revolution and being anti current regime, but let’s take it one battle at a time.
The manner in which the last 10 days have played out shocks me. When will everyone inside and outside Egypt, understand that Egyptians will not allow themselves to become a pawn in someone else’s political agenda? When will they start comprehending the fact that the people who watched families loose loved ones simply because they were demanding freedom, bread, social equality and justice; will never settle for anything else. When will they understand that the spirit that prompted men and women to participate in protests over and over again, despite threats of violence will never be crippled by beatings and mass arrests?
Crushing our dreams and forcing us to settle will never happen, we've come too far and have sacrificed too much. It is however a whole new ballgame and unlike others who insist on following the paths of their predecessor who have failed, lets learn from the passed two years and not make the same mistakes again.
Brace yourself Egypt, tough times ahead, but stay strong and have faith in the Egyptian people, for we will not stop until we bring you back to your rightful glory.
(Hannah Edwar is an Egyptian feminist, who writes on the Egyptian revolution. She can be found on Twitter: @hanedwar)