February 14, 2011
So many of the Arab countries following the age of colonialism, fell victim to endless years of military regimes which has prevented progress and development, promoted endless corruption, and clearly set limits on their citizens’ creativity and potential to contribute to their own societies and the world at large. This especially was the case with Egypt. Since the late 1880’s, when Egyptians turned against their British occupiers, reaching independence in 1919, and finally freed from their monarch with the 1952 Young Officers’ revolution, which ushered in the revered Jamal Abdul Nasser, Egyptians have shown their resilience to oppression. This time was no different.
Following Nasser’s sudden death in 1970, Anwar al-Sadat was handed the reins of the state, and following his assassination, Hosni Mubarak came to power. After six-decades, the story seems to have come to an end and certainly a tragic one. What started off as an anti-colonial movement turned into a state ruled by a massive bureaucracy and autocrats. Sadly, it seems that Mubarak had removed himself so far from his people that he was blinded by his own bureaucracy, clearly underestimating his people.
It is tragic also due to the simple fact that Egyptians will have to painstakingly reassess not only Mubarak’s period in office but will need to rethink how Nasser’s legacy plays into the picture. To place all the weight on Mubarak would be unjust, simply because it was the institutions and the military which allowed Mubarak to remain along as he did. Mubarak did not just emerge one day, he was part of a greater group that created him, shaped him, and used him for their benefit.
Now, free from Mubarak, Egyptians for the first time since the 1920’s-30’s, will return to a process of electing civilians to run their country without state intervention (however, this time without the monarch). After years of a failing government, their politicians will be held accountable and will need to compete in fair elections which will also include the Muslim Brotherhood along with numerous other political parties. I specifically mention the Brotherhood since no party during the last six-decades was seen more as a threat to the establishment’s status-quo than they were.
For now, we need to say goodbye to Mubarak. The Egyptians are at the dawn of a new day. In the next few months, there will be quite a bit of questions concerning the former regime’s tactics and crimes and Egyptians will face an onslaught of information which will certainly challenge the state’s national narrative. Furthermore, they will have to move on, not only looking at Mubarak, but at all the forces that kept him so strong for so many years, and will have to part with many myths that have created this reality.