Last Updated: Wed Jan 25, 2012 09:19 am (KSA) 06:19 am (GMT)

Abeer Tayel: For those who still ‘look back in anger,’ please move on

A demonstrator holds Egyptian flags during a protest against the newly elected lawmakers in front of the parliament in Cairo. (Reuters)
A demonstrator holds Egyptian flags during a protest against the newly elected lawmakers in front of the parliament in Cairo. (Reuters)

It was only a year ago that the Egyptians succeeded in igniting one of the most tremendous revolutions in their history. In only 18 days, they were able to topple a deeply rooted regime that ruled the country for 30 years.

The struggling Egyptians succeeded in bringing the veteran former president to court, along with his two sons and close associates. Hosni Mubarak became the first Arab leader to be tried in public by his people for the killing of protesters, as well as for corruption charges. The trial is still going on amid accusations of slow pace, yet it is moving. The court cannot issue quick verdicts in such complicated cases. Moreover, the Egyptians should trust their judiciary system.

Putting Mubarak and his aides behind bars and bringing them to court is one of the marvelous achievements of the Jan. 25 Revolution.

Egyptians can speak more freely since the revolution, they can protest more freely despite repeated crackdowns – which I believe, in some cases, were necessary.

Egyptians have set up a dizzying number of political parties in recent months. In the past 30 years, Egypt never enjoyed so much freedom of speech and never formed such a large number of political parties. This is another achievement of the Jan. 25 Revolution.

For the first time in 30 years, Egyptians were able to cast their ballots without fear of intimidation from thugs or finding ballot boxes already stuffed. Voters thronged to the polls for the country’s first free parliamentary vote after decades and elected an assembly dominated by Islamists. The new assembly, which held its first session on Monday, is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, which was officially banned from politics under Mubarak.

Believe it or not, an Egyptian TV channel aired a very interesting photo of Dr. Saad al-Katatny, who was elected the People’s Assembly Speaker on Monday. In the photo, dating to more than a year ago, Katany was sitting on the ground near the People’s Assembly premises in Cairo during an anti-Mubarak protest. Flash forward to Monday, and he was sitting on the seat as the parliament’s speaker. A year ago, nobody could have dreamt of such an outcome.

Holding the first session of the freely elected parliament on Monday is yet another important achievement of the Jan. 25 Revolution.

Now we are preparing to draft the new constitution before we elect our new president by mid-June. It would be the first free presidential election in the Egyptian history. This would mark the most important achievement of Jan. 25 Revolution.

For activists, however, the revolution is incomplete as long as the army remains in power. They are impatient and say very little has changed, and they are demanding broader and faster reform. They are urging for mass protests against the generals on the Jan. 25 anniversary of the uprising. Some activists even went so far to call it “another revolution”.

Many Egyptians admire the youthful fervor of the revolutionaries but oppose their implacable hostility to the military caretakers, who have pledged to step aside by mid-year and hand power to elected civilians.

Egyptians are tired of political turbulence that has hit the economy. They are keen to return to normalcy and say it is time to end protests and give the newly elected parliament a chance to govern. The majority now want to focus on the future, build their country, revive the once-flourishing tourism industry that was the backbone of their economy and regain the trust of investors.

I believe that Egypt is on the right road to the finalization of reform and the building of a modern, civil, democratic state in which the dignity and fundamental rights of each and every citizen are not only constitutionally enshrined, but also practically respected and maintained.

We should now be focusing on pursuing that road map and expecting the accomplishment of the two remaining steps; namely, the writing of a new constitution and the election of a president.

For those who want to push the country one year back, I say: please don’t look back in anger, but move on and look for the brighter future that will, no doubt, be much better than the past.

(Abeer Tayel, a journalist at Al Arabiya, can be reached at

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