A young revolution in progress in Egypt
The second commemoration of an unfinished revolution is fast approaching. On Jan. 25, 2013, two whole calendar years will have passed since those first brave confrontations called for bread, freedom and social justice in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. It is difficult to label it as an anniversary and even if we call it that, it is at the very least not a very happy one just yet. Looking back, one must admit that history will bear witness to an amazingly unexpected, surprisingly resilient and determined uprising that shook the old, dry and brittle tree and brought it down in 18 days. Regardless of where we all stand in this, the achievement cannot be denied. It rocked Egypt and signaled images of major change. However, the roots of the fallen tree have yet to be extracted from the ground to make way for new trees to show their young faces.
The learning process that unfolded is unmistakable. The struggle to circumvent real change in the name of stability or religion has been fierce and bloody. One thing is crystal clear, the old is deeply rooted and trying hard to stomp out any budding new life. As the new gains strength and understanding, one thing fuels its undistinguishable energy, a vision for bread, freedom and justice. We must not underestimate the effects of the past two years on all. Older Egyptians are more shaken then the young. Shifts in powerbases, exchange of roles, attempts to reach out to the silent majority throughout the past two years are clear and well documented for all to see. Meanwhile, more than 85 million Egyptians continue to survive as best they can. A privileged minority believes it can maintain a good life while some attempt to abandon ship.
Life has been hard for most Egyptians for a long time. The majority of the population has endured deteriorating living conditions for decades. Generations of adults have struggled to make ends meet in an environment of fear, humiliation and severe suppression. Their children bore witness to their misery. It made them angry and fueled their desires for anything better.
It does not take much imagination to understand the undeterred energy and determination of youth. A youthful population in a different circumstance is what energizes the development of the human community. It is their creativity and freshness and accumulates knowledge which will propel humanity into new unchartered territories. In Egypt’s case, its youth are roughly estimated to be 40 percent of the total population. They might not be well educated, they might not be all that healthy, they might be lacking in economic means, but for sure they are angry. It is their initial anger that fueled the dissent and gave energy to their demands for a better life. It is their anger that strengthened their belief in their fight for change. It is this anger that fueled their imagination for a more humane existence.
Still angry, their initial anger has been tempered by their ability to hope, to imagine better, to not forgot the price they paid and a serious determination to fulfill their vision; a vision they are still willing to die for. The budding youth of Egypt might not be in power and are still developing their skills and sharpening their new tools, but what is certain is that they have the time. We might not see them on the present surface yet, however, they are busy creating their future: a happier 2013.