Well, that chant sums it all up!
Thinking of it... if THIS wasn’t going to bring me back to blogging…I don’t know what would?!
I cannot believe I have lived to see the day… the day my fellow Egyptians decided enough is enough and threw the towel on this corrupt, repressive, rotten regime.
Although the real beginning was on Tuesday 25th of January 2011, what happened yesterday (Friday 28th of January 2011) was by far the biggest demonstrations in decades!
Pre to Friday 28th 2011, many activists over the internet have called Egyptians to join them for after Friday prayer demonstrations against the regime.
In an unprecedented scene, Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians and maybe even a millon (high, middle and low class) went out all over the country to express their anger, frustration with Mubarak and his government.
A good 60% of Egyptians haven’t seen another president in their life (he has been ruling Egypt for 31 years now).
What do the Egyptians want?
Well, it was a combination of reasons, and different people went out for different reasons. All with one goal…enough is enough: “The People want to topple the regime” (Al Sha3b Yoreed Iskaat Al Nezaam).
Here are the main reasons Egyptians of all ranks flooded the streets (no specific order):
1- Unemployment, and low quality education(official numbers for unemployment are at 10-12%, actual are thought to be much higher);
2- Corruption (simple example: I have to pay bribes to get my "legitimate" papers signed at any government location, and i have to hold my breath when dealing with a police officer or h might abuse or imprison me if he had a personal issue with me) ;
3- Emergency law (lasted for 30 years now, for xample no more than 5 people can gather in a place, police can arrest me without an charge just for suspision);
4- High Prices;
5- Incompetent government;
6- Police brutality;
7- Freeing political detainees;
8- Respecting and applying courts/court rulings (usually overlooked by police if well connected people were involved)p
9- Mubarak’s Resignation, and blocking the ascend of his son into his place;
10- Desolving the Parliment (since it the recently elected Parliment came via a rigid election).
11- Rich getting richer, and poor getting poorer.
Why now? and how come so many people joined?
People might wonder why so many people joined in what started as a call from Internet activists (Internet penetration in Egypt is estimated to be only 21% per on source).
From my perspective and understanding of the Egyptian psyche (as I am one of them after all), these are the reasons:
1- Tunisians toppling of their ex-dictator (Zain Aldin Bin Ali) two weeks ago:
This made a lot of us realize that WE (The People) can do something about a regime we despise so much.
2- Friday Prayers:
By this I do not mean that this was an Islamic revolution started from mosques (although logistically
it did!). See… Friday prayers is when all Muslims gather at a mosque to perform what we call Friday
prayers (compulsory). So, you’ll have high, middle, and low classes all together sitting in for prayer.
The fact that people had an area to gather together (in mosques) was a massive help for them to
group, and then take the streets in large numbers.
3- Satellite Channels and Internet Activists (via Facebook and Twitter):
They spread the word that Friday will be the big day “Day of Wrath”. This helped making the message flow all over Egypt.
4- The Coptic Church:
Although till Thursday (27Jan11) night the Churched instructed its followers (Christian Copts) NOT to participate. On Thursday evening (as a Christian friend of mine told me), the Church sent instructions to it's followers to actually participate in the Friday after prayer demonstrations
Besides Internet, Mobile coverage and other forms of communications were blocked in Egypt early Friday morning (even before that for sites like Facebook and Twitter)…
To simple to put it, Police were overwhelmed especially in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez (although demonstrations were all over the country). Many NDP (National Democratic Party - corrupt ruling party which Hosni Mubarak belongs to) were tourched. Also, a lot of police stations were set on fire.
Hosni Mubarak (our dispised President) ordered the army in the streets in the evening, and called for a curfew to start by 6PM to last till 7AM. Thing is, people didn’t go anywhere in defiance of the curfew.
Note: There were symbolic demonstrations in Qatar, Malaysia, Turkey, and Jordan in solidarity with protests in Egypt. There are planned demonstrations in USA cities, and Canada (and other European cities) today (Sat 29Jan11).
As the army went in, people cheered for the army units (hoping they’d take their side).
USA has hinted that thy are reconsidering the 1.5 billion Dollars aid to Egypt (to the regime mainly!) depending on how the Egyptian regime will deal with th demonstrations.
Mubarak came out after midnight to address the nation. All he could do is ask the governement to resign (note that he "asked" them to resign…NOT "fire" them himself which would look a bit btter…but, I guess all this is too late for him now)
What’s happening now (Sat 29Jan11 – 11AM Cairo time)?
- Mainly army is in the streets now (most police units desapeared);
- People are starting to gather again to dmonstrate again wanting Mubarak to leave;
- Mobile Phones and Internet are slowly coming back;
- Estimated number of porters dead are up to about 23 in Alexandria alone, 15in Suez, and about 15 in Cairo (per Al Jazzera English numbers unconfirmed);
- Government newspapers (seen as spineless puppets of the regime)… like AL Akhbar came out with titles like “ Some demonstrations in some parts of Cairo,. Rest of Country under control”.
The Beauty of All This:
- Egyptians from all ranks participated (Muslims, Christians, old, young, men, women, children...all!);
- Egyptians abroad are making symbiolic stands all over the world;
- Egyptians from now on will once more raise their heads high in pride;
- Egyptians formed human shields around Egyptian National Musem to prevent looting;
- This is a lesson to anyone whom will rule Egypt from now on...be with the People or else;
- Everything is possible from now on.
What next (my thoughts)?
- I think people will continue to demonstrate till Hosni Mubarak leaves (and he should!);
- The Army will not take sides (I seriously doubt they will shoot at citizens even if ordered);
- This will take some time to settle (Hosni is stubborn and trying to defend himself);
- Looting and sabotage will happen (just like what happened in Tunisia). Might be by thieves or Mubarak's despirate thugs (to start chaos);
- Israel and US are freaking out in fear that Muslim Brotherhood (or any other) would jump the wagon. A guy on CNN or Fox News (cannot remember) stated his worry about this. Yet, on CNN a Harvard Professor stated this is a PEOPLE’S Revolt by the people…no one specific (I agree 100%).
Don’t worry… Egyptians got a taste of their “PEOPLE POWER”, and they will NOT take any more REPRESSIVE rules from no one!
Long live Egypt… And down with Mubarak and his minions!
- Photos: Washington Post, Al Jazeera
- CNN, Al Jazzera, BBC, Washington Post
Mood: Proud to be an Egyptian! Allaho Akar :)