by Islam El Shazly
For the first time in history a revolution has been organized as a public event with an open invitation, more like a date between two lovers, the time and the place was known almost two weeks in advance. Without further confirmation, people from all over Greater Cairo started converging onto Midan Al-Tahrir – Tahrir Square – and it was not just left at that, people started gathering at major squares in every governorate in the country. A new day was dawning on Egypt. A new era that no one saw coming. The date was January 25, 2011.
For 30 years Egypt has been ruled with an iron fist by Mubarak, he used every tool at his disposal, one of which was the dreaded ‘Amn Dawla’, the State Secutriy apparatus, the equivalent to the NSA in America only a 100 times more brutal. It is very ironic that they called it “Security” when in fact they embodied the real definition of “Terrorist”. The regime used the fact that Egyptians are very emotional against Egyptians to the extreme, they always reminded us, with the help of the state-run media, of the heroic status of Mubarak, to the point you would think that they re-wrote the history of the 6th of October War (Yum Kippur) to make it look like he alone was the reason behind the victory. It was a lie they fed to the masses systematically to make him shine almost like a god.
He was not alone, his wife and his children were as much responsible for the sad deteriorated state that has befallen Egypt, as were the plethora of opportunist businessmen who made billions by pledging total allegiance to the “royal” family.
No one saw this coming, not one single Intelligence agency in the world saw this coming. Just like no one expected the people of Tunisia to rise, let alone throw out their dictator, no one expected the very complacent, lamb-like Egyptians to unite and rise against all odds and bring down one of the worst tyrants of all time without raising any weapons beyond rocks from a sidewalk.
The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 is unlike any other in modern or recent history. It cannot be compared to the so-called revolution of 1952, because the latter wasn’t a “revolution”, it was a military “Coup d’état”. The differences are very stark; according to Wikipedia a Coup d’état “is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment —typically the military— to replace the deposed government with another body; either civil or military. A coup d’état succeeds if the usurpers establish their dominance when the seated government fails to disallow their consolidation of power“, while this was a non-violent revolution by the people to change their storied conditions and overthrow an extremely corrupt regime.
Wikipedia defines a non-violent revolutions follows: “It is a revolution using mostly campaigns of civil resistance, including various forms of nonviolent protest, to bring about the departure of governments seen as entrenched and authoritarian. While many campaigns of civil resistance are aimed at much more limited goals than revolution, generally a nonviolent revolution is characterized by simultaneous advocacy of democracy, human rights and national independence in the country concerned. In some cases a campaign of civil resistance with a revolutionary purpose may be able to bring about the defeat of a dictatorial regime only if it obtains a degree of support from the armed forces, or at least their benevolent neutrality.
An effective campaign of civil resistance, and even the achievement of a nonviolent revolution, may be possible in a particular case despite the controlling government taking brutal measures against protesters.”
When Tunisia screamed for freedom, it lit a fire in Egypt. A fire that had a deafening roar; and the Egyptian dragon that long laid dormant woke up and bore its teeth. The system came at the protestors, who were all unarmed, with everything they had. They unleashed the bloodthirsty riot police at them, with batons, teargas, buck shots, rubber bullets, and live ammo; they even used their own armoured vehicles as weapons. When that didn’t work the Security Forces in an extreme act of cowardice and high treason, abandoned their posts and opened the prison gates and let loose the violent prisoners and even death-row inmates as a last ditch attempt into terrorising the people. They even used thugs on camel back and horse-back!
Nothing worked, and the people knew what needs to be done, and thanks to the help of the great Egyptian military, a tyrant is gone, and the same people who stole the riches of this great country have lost everything. As for the people who were supposed to “serve and protect“, the ones who were known for their corruption and brutality are mostly cowering in fear from the people, and trying their best to be on their best behaviour whenever they are in the streets. While the good ones are trying their best to gain back the trust of the people while enduring contempt for crimes that they never committed.
As the days went by, the revolution evolved, and a regime that thought itself invulnerable, a regime that was till the last possible moment revelling the support of the US and Italian governments, it came crashing down with no dignity; and the supporters, the hypocrites who sang praises and worshiped like little loyal zombies, turned against their masters and showed the full extent of their hypocrisy.
At the moment of writing this article, four of the pillars of the NDP (National Democratic Party) and the toppled government are sitting in small solitary cells in the Torah Prison Complex, the same place where they sent thousands of innocents before, awaiting trial for crimes against the Egyptian people. No dignity.
The president and his family, however, are in their palace in Sharm Al-Sheikh. Whether he thinks he is still in power and that he was cheated out of his destiny is a matter for debate. The fact that there has been no indication of prosecuting him or his family or his closest aides for corruption and for the blood of the dead is making a lot of people weary that there’s something brewing in the dark to bring him back to power, or at the very least someone like him.
Egypt, like its sister Tunisia, is free for now, but there are still lots to accomplish and lots to do. There are remnants of the old guard still at large, there’s an entire economy to recover from levels it had reached, there is the wealth that has been concentrated within the hands of 1% of the population that needs to be redistributed, lands given back to its rightful owners. But most of all, there’s the daunting task of removing decades of indifference, selfishness, and bad habits out of a lot of Egyptian hearts. Only then will the revolution have succeeded. Only then can we relax and enjoy the fruits of our labours.
Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant
It was speculated that at some point in Roman times, that this phrase was the salute gladiators gave to their Emperor before they engaged in battle “Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you”.
For the ones who fell, the true heroes of this revolution, the ones who lost their lives or were injured to get rid of this despicable tyrant, and for the ones who stayed up all night patrolling the streets protecting their neighbourhoods against the hordes of thugs and rogue police officers, for all of them we tell them: Hail, Heroes, We Salute you.
This is not the end, but I leave you with a photographic record of the revolution, intense moments that were captured, that words can never do justice.
The Big Picture:
Totally Cool Pix:
January 28, 2011 – The Egypt Protests
January 30, 2011 – The Egypt Protests Part 2
February 03, 2011 – Egypt Protests: Anti-Mubarak vs. Pro-Mubarak Riots
February 09, 2011 – The Egypt Protests Part 4
February 11, 2011 – The Egypt Protests: The Shoes Come Out
February 11, 2011 – The Egypt Protests: Mubarak Resignation Celebrations
February 11, 2011 – Hosni Mubarak and Friends 1981 – 2011