6 March 2011
The ululations and jubilation of Egyptians in the wake of the stepping down of Mubarak appeared well-earned. A few weeks ago, who could have imagined that 18 days of peaceful protests led by Egypt##s youth would have led to the downfall of the regime?
The movement first launched by young men and women through Facebook later moved to Tahrir Square where various other political movements—liberals, leftists, Nasserists, and Islamists—joined in. Ordinary ##non-political## citizens did not miss the national carnival; women, Copts and children joined. As Tahrir Square turned into a scene of national cohesion, Egypt witnessed almost no attacks against Copts or churches.
Now that the pure, white revolution is over, confusion and unrest have taken over. I believe that over-rejoicing should not be dominating the scene. It is time to work very hard and do our utmost to go back to rebuilding and production, to promoting democracy and accountability; otherwise the revolutionary harvest would be a bitter one.
The original revolutionary goals were to build a modern civil State, uproot corruption, and combat poverty and unemployment. These are fine, long longed-for goals; but if we do not work hard to realise them on the ground they will remain no more than hollow rhetoric. Egypt##s history witnessed such mottos being raised before but, in the absence of serious effort towards achieving them, they became the fuel that drove Islamist movements to a wider grassroots base. Previous calls for prosperity resulted in luxury for a minority and poverty for the majority.
I have my fears about the current Egyptian scene. First, the exaggerated demands by various sectors of the community would spoil the outcome of the revolution, and undermine the confidence between the revolutionary youth and the military.
Second, the revolution is likely to be hijacked by specific political or Islamist movements. Many of them are already in the rush to secure for themselves a piece of the cake.
Third, the second article of the Constitution, which stipulates that Egypt is an Islamic State and that Islamic sharia is the principle source of legislation, may be used to discriminate against Copts or women.
My greatest fear is that the gains made by the revolution should be lost in the absence of a system to detect any deviation form the revolutionary path.
I hope that all Egyptians—regardless of religion, gender, or ethnicity—will realise through true democracy their political, economic and social aspirations. Only then can we really rejoice.