We the People

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Riot police and protesters face off.

They’re calling this the Facebook revolution. I guess it is. It’s hard to imagine this uprising would have been kick-started and would have continued with such momentum had it not been for Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. But the internet has been down in Egypt for several days, which proves that as much as it might have been triggered by social networking sites, it is the passion and anger of the Egyptian people that has lead them on to the streets.

What really sparked this Revolution was The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia. Who would have thought it? Tunisia made the world proud when it finally ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on the 14th of January. So if Tunisia provided the spark, Egypt is stoking the fire, and the rest of the Middle East are waiting to send it up in flames. Sudan, Yemen, possibly Morocco and Algeria; we have made the Middle East and the whole world proud.

What are we really asking for? The right to have whatever opinion we wish, the freedom to express that opinion through whatever medium we choose, and to assemble and express it whenever and however we wish. Not too much. We want to say how we feel, write about it, talk about, protest and demonstrate about it. We want the ability to choose who leads us, through fair and open elections. We want the right to think what we want, free of the fear of persecution and prosecution. Again not too much.

But on that question of who will lead us, who will? The question has been lurking on everyone’s minds, and with good reason. If we put our emotions to the side, we can see that there is no straightforward candidate. After the 1919 Revolution against the British, Saad Zaghloul returned from exile as the unquestioned leader of Egypt. But we don’t have that strong, sober personality. The MB is the most organised but if they took power of Egypt it would be a disaster.

There cannot be a political party based on religious beliefs. It defeats the point of democracy. People are out on the streets fighting for our rights and for Egypt’s honour. This is a revolution for the people and by the people. It should not matter the faith you have in your heart, the beliefs you have in your mind, the amount of money you have in your pocket, the colour of your skin, your gender or your date of birth. The common denominator, what holds us together, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, is that we are Egyptian. And what a shame it would be that as a consequence of this Revolution, a religiously oriented party would take power. Especially a party with ties to extremists. I suspect that millions of Egyptian, I included, would much rather have Mubarak remain in power than to have the MB take over.

But what are the other options? ElBaradei? The former chief of the IAEA is too timid, too much of a diplomat. He isn’t the bold, stand out kind of leader that Egypt needs at a time like this. We need someone young, dynamic, capable of waking the slumbering giant that is Egypt and push it towards the path of liberalism and modernisation. A military junta? A step in the wrong direction, that would surely hinder, not speed up, the path to democracy. Ayman Nour? Again, not the bold leader we need, although he tries to be. America is concerned over who will ‘fill the void’ as Hillary Clinton put it, and so is the rest of the world.

What we need is a representative of the people. Not an elitist, but an ordinary representative, someone who can relate to, understand, and not just sympathise but empathise  with the people.

All we can do is wait and see, but the important first step is to get rid of a tyrant. Tomorrow is the Million Man March. Hopefully we can get a million.


Written by BraveNewEgypt

February 1, 2011 at 1:55 am

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