The Egyptian Revolution..Why now

I was like other Egyptians who strongly wished Egypt to be internally strong, democratic, equitable, and respects the rights of its citizen as well as their basic freedoms. I wished a state which assumes greater responsibility for providing a decent living for its citizen, not biased towards rich or against poor. A state could achieve its economical and political development and therefore release its political will. Flying in its regional space, defending their own national interests and national security, being as a regional power based on the base of regional support which helps them facing the external avidities in the region and to be the spearhead against those who threat its security and stability in the region, as was in the recent past, not being a mere object, manipulated by major powers and lead them to further separation from its surroundings, which represents the first pillars of the Egyptian national security historically.

Privatization of the Egyptian State

But what is the way toward these goals and objectives? In the presence of the elite and the regime which privatized the state for the benefit of one person. The state became him and he became the state. Consequently, the survive of this state is connected to the survive of its president as well as his absence will lead to the collapse of its institutions. How can the track of the Egyptian state be emended? There is ruling elite who gets benefits from the stating of the regime and set of strategies, employing tools that ensure continuity. Along with the privatization of state for the President interest, the business class controlled over the decision-making centers in Egypt, where it led the political scene, they became members of parliament – both houses of parliament – and Al Shura and they occupied leadership positions in the government and the ruling party, resulting from this disparate mix of policy makers, a set of ambiguous policies internally and externally.

Such a suspicious control of the business class becomes more effective in making general politics after Mubarak’s son (Jamal) appeared in the scene carrying what he called “New Intellect”. It was only a reproduction of the dictatorship to run the country in new manner suits this age. He announced a program for economical reform. The main point in this program is that the country is not responsible of the citizens. The country has no roll in producing strategic products and cannot control the public sector companies. The public sector’s properties were sold through suspicious deals which raise questions about corruption and bribe. The employees in these public sectors have to deal with the new employers without any guarantees of their rights. Ignoring any labor unions to which must defend their rights after the country took out these unions from its neutrality in order to become connected to political and economical interests. A fake shape of political reform was made by Jamal Mubarak and others around him to make himself the coming president. This man who is going to transfer Egypt into a democratic Liberal country. This man who fought against poverty and illiteracy.

The majority of the ruling party businessmen and other authority men realized that Mubarak is getting old and they need a plan to guarantee the continuity of the system which they are holding to serve their own needs. The solution was the hereditary. Jamal must get involved in the political scene. Therefore he was assigned as a secretary- general of the ruling party new department of Policies Secretariat. This department became the most effective regarding general politics of Egypt. Then new constitutional amendment was made in 2005 and 2007 to keep the authority rule as is was. In addition a fake democratic and liberal nature covered the system. Therefore Jamal Mubarak becomes the new president of Egypt although he is not qualified for such a position. Restricted conditions have been made for the nomination of a president to assure that the candidate of the ruling party will be the one. Guarantees of transparency of the elections have been deleted by replacing the judicial full observation of the elections with new supreme elections committee (public and judicial individuals). In this way it becomes easy for them to control the elections and leading it to whatever serve the regime’s needs.

Egyptians on the way to revolution

In the context of these scenarios that spun and identified its features by the elite of ruling in Egypt, the Egyptian society was undergoing through a serious rebirth process of a radical transformation which returns the Egyptian state back on the right track. A process of birth has not been noticed – or rather has been ignored – by the responsible for running and administrating the affairs of the country .over the past few years ,the Egyptian society witnessed many Phenomena that indicating this birth.

The most important ones will be traced as follows: First: a large number of strikes and group protests, the most famous and extensive one was that which hold by the employee’s stuff of real estate taxes, these strikes and protests are explicitly appearing as a call for meeting the demand of these certain groups ,like improving the wages, fighting some forms of flagrant corruption, but they are implicitly returns the Egyptian citizens slowly back to the policy which he left since the July Revolution, Whereas a relationship established between the ruler and the ruled, based on the principle “of state provision of basic needs for the citizen in return for leaving the management of the state affairs for the governor, and only those around him.”

Second: The establishment of a number of protesting movements that have contributed in raising many of the issues of public affairs for community discussion put alternative visions to those raised by state institutions to these issues. In addition to these movements trial to mobilize community support around these issues through contacting with community groups associated with them, and these issues varied between domestic and foreign issues.

What concerns us in this regard is the domestic issues, which ranged in its nature between the political, economic and social, with the accumulation of experience of these movements in the public work, rose their demands than just reforms which must be entered in specific issues or just partial changes to be made in the structure of the regime in Egypt to demand radical changes.

The most important requirement was not to extend President Mubarak for another presidential term, the basic logo of the Egyptian Movement for Change (Kefaya) – which appeared in the summer of 2004 – no for extending, no for inheriting. The emergence of (kefaya) movement followed by number of youth movements, which took from the electronic space arena for debate and conflict with the ruling regime, with some of the manifestations of active movement on the ground.

The movement of6 April and the call to holding a strike, on the sixth day of April 2008, in solidarity with the strike camp, a large number of Egyptians to responded this invitation, the relative success of this call has encouraged young people to continue despite all the security harassment for the political activists. Although these movements have been working isolated from each other or with minimal coordination among them, but with passing of time, has gained the basics of political action, and the vocabularies of active movement in the face of tyranny and repression tools employed by the regime against them.

There has been a kind of intentional or unintentional convergence about the way toward reform of conditions in Egypt which will not take place except by radical changes in power, change that lead to fix the imbalance in the relationship between the state – represented by the ruling regime – and individuals, and the redistribution of power resources in the community. And the first steps on this way are to prevent any attempt to renew the Presidential terms of Mubarak, or prevent his son to take over power as the beginning toward establishing a democratic state.

Third: at the same time the Egyptian society witnessed a state of political effectiveness through these protest movements, the continued violent security reaction with all of the terms inside the Egyptian area, and the continued policy of torture practiced by the police against citizens and against political activists, the moment of the explosion was with the murder of the guy Khalid Said by two of the State police Security. A new page was designed on the social networking site Facebook called “we are all Khalid “, attracted thousands of members in a short period, and the page invited to number of vigils calling for stopping torture and prosecuting those who involved in the killing of Khalid Saeed, these calls have found a relatively large echo among young people in particular, who responded and have participated in it.

Fourth: The appearance of Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, in the Egyptian political arena, and his call for change and reform in Egypt, to serve as the event which uncover the intention of change within the Egyptian society, the former president of the IAEA acted as a bonus for the movement of change in Egypt. He was a seed of hope that was thrown on the land of Egypt, hungry for freedom, to be picked up by the dreamy Egyptians minds which dreams of free and democratic Egypt, and took care of it in preparation for planting in all over Egypt.

Fifth: The recent parliamentary elections clearly exposed the regime’s determination not to allow any changes in the way of government, and put the last touches on the scenario of succession, the National Party dominated on all the matters relating to the electoral process starting from its administration and ending with setting its outputs.

The final result comes out to overwhelm the party’s candidates for more than 90% of the seats in parliament, through a process of systematic fraud to the exclusion of all the members who stood against the ruling party in the parliament whether from its members or from the independent or opposition parties. As well as the exclusion of all candidates for the Muslim Brotherhood, the matter did not stop at this point, but party leaders and President Mubarak competed to boast such an outcome, and emphasize that they reflect the extent of the popularity the ruling party enjoyed in the street, this neglect and falsification of the will of the people provoked the Egyptian street. And make it ready to respond to the first catalyst to begin the process of change and reform, which was clearly evident in the significant participation of many groups in different parts of the twenty-fifth of January demonstrations.

In short, the Egyptian society lived during the three decades of ruling by President Mubarak, a situation which called by our teacher, Dr. Saif Al-Din Abdel-Fattah the (authoritarian) state in exchange for the absence of pervasive States, the authoritarian State are those which occupies all areas of action and movement. And do not leave any space for the active movement of its citizens, whether individually or in the form of mass. The “authoritarian” are those countries which every citizen feels in each place he go inside, beginning from the clean streets with ordered movement, through the good services provided to him from the education, health and jobs, As well as the democratic system of government to ensure fundamental rights and freedoms such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and the formation of parties, and to provide a suitable environment for a strong civil society, and other attributes of the modern state. And enables the regime to create the structure of community-based on repression and tyranny, through the looting of any hope for change and reform among the citizens, and the nationalization of all the tools of the movement and action and the influence of the citizen for the interest of the state, making the citizen as a merely object to the State, he must accept the policies and procedures of humility without discussion or even any space for difference. It was necessary to move to change the components of the equation and the parties to this authoritarian government. But the Egyptian street encountered a lot of questions that it tried to find its answers, questions such as: who actually starts to change and start meaningful reform? Is this act comes from the decision of the ruling elite? Or from the basis initiative of society through active movement to mobilize the masses of citizens behind the reform process? Or wait for the scenario of the divine will which will make the President disappear either by disease or death, so his disappearance, will be the beginning of correctness and modify the path, or be the solution of the emergence of sincere and inspiring leader to lead the masses and the country toward change? What are the answers provided by the Egyptians to these questions? This is what the next entry will try to trace.

This Post has been published on the website of Swedish Institute of International Affairs

To read the Arabic version click here

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