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HALA ELKHOLY

HALA ELKHOLY > Egypt at a critical juncture in its fight for change

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The way things are going in Egypt, the revolution seems to be gasping for its final breath. It is increasingly obvious that, slowly but surely, the confusing process since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak has not led to much different on the political scene.

The most noticeable sign so far might be the beards. To replace one ruling beardless gang by another of mostly bearded men was definitely not one of the objectives of the revolution. Egyptians were willing to risk a change for a better life.

Many today beg to ask the question: Is anything different and did anything change? The answer is quite apparent in the faces of Egyptians. Fears that the revolution had been hijacked were once faced with bravado, hope and determination to reach their dreams. Regrettably, disillusion mixed with anger and pain is replacing the waning determination as Egyptians watch and wait for their revolution to yield its winnings under different political rule.

The year’s events have taken their toll. Talk and more talk is what average Egyptians seem to be getting from their politicians. Much lip service but no action is a stark reminder of the not-so-far-away rulers. It seems intriguing that the farce of a democratic process has produced nothing but a handover or, at most, an exchange of positions. 

Meanwhile, trusting Egyptians who dreamed of prosperity, justice and dignity might have to wait for yet another time. As the men in beards revel in their victory and continue to be blinded by their newly acquired powers, the battle for freedom from oppression and the rule of law seem more elusive than a year ago. So far, the elected Parliament has been a great disappointment to the people, even to those who elected the majority. The people’s needs for change have not been met.

The two main parties of political Islam holding a majority in Parliament have been busy consolidating their powers. The decision from Parliament to make up 75 percent of the committee entrusted with writing Egypt’s new constitution has infuriated many and might be one of the last straws to make or break the revolution. Contrary to the expectations of many, “God’s men,” as they are sometimes described, alluding to their piousness, have been perpetuating much of the tactics and strategies of the oppressive rulers they greatly suffered under. 

 The “Save the Revolution Month” is what more than 22 opposition civil movements and liberal parties called for as of Friday. Widespread demonstrations are being organized throughout the country while others are filing legal claims to avert Parliament’s decision. Will Egyptians once again stand up for their dignity and people’s rights? The alternative will be to accept a mere replacement of Egypt’s ousted National Democratic Party in different garb. In effect, Egyptians will again fall under the patronizing rule of the “democratic majority.” The election of a president that also represents them will complete the picture taking Egypt back to the starting line. For now, it seems like the political model has not changed much. Surprises might yet come in a complex process that raises a lot of questions with few answers. 

The rocket-like ascension of political Islam to the throne of power in Egypt remains questionable to many.

March/24/2012

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