More challenges ahead for Egypt
More challenging times are ahead for Egypt in its attempts to reorganize its political system, revive its economy and consolidate its social fabric. At the onset of a great rebellion against the tyranny of an ailing and aging rule, change for the better seemed quite within reach. More than two years down the line, it is clear more effort and a higher price are still required. One thing is for certain, there is no going back. What looked like a clear struggle of power over the rule of Egypt has since produced more frustration, anger and violence, which have spiraled into a volatile situation on the ground that threatens to escalate even further.
It had already become clear very early on that all those united forces that supported the revolution were quickly and easily divided as they were confronted with replacing the ruling regime. Much was at stake then and still is today. Among the many who wanted instrumental change, different agendas were held and they began to viciously compete. There were also those who wanted to maintain the status quo with some cosmetic changes to save the face of a revolution that took many lives. In the months that followed, it became clear that among the revolutionaries there was not much of a plan to rule. The exiting regime had ironically handed the power over to the supreme council of the armed forces.
In the absence of strong, visionary leadership, a make-believe process of democracy going from one election to the next was marketed as the way forward. Unsurprisingly, the chosen process was not decisive enough and has certainly not produced much for Egypt yet. The elections were continuously marred by suspicions of malpractice, if not downright fraud. They did, however, designate a legitimately elected president and once before even a Parliament, not to forget a highly contested Constitution. Meanwhile, not much was changing for Egyptians except their increased ability to express their frustration and anger at the existing system and the added spiral of uncontrollable violence resulting in endless counts of dead, maimed and injured Egyptians.
The failure, in the last six months, of the president elect and his cabinet of Ministers has basically been a victory for the opposition, who seem to have managed to unite despite major differences. Their latest calls to boycott elections of a Parliament have not been seriously put to the test as the call for an election was itself blocked by a court ruling last week.
Rising prices of gasoline and basic food in addition to continuous talk of decreases in subsidies and a growing currency black market, as the banks restrict cashing U.S. dollars, are slowly but surely going to affect all Egyptians. The latest in the long series of strikes in industry and transportation, local police stations are closing down and demanding the removal of the Minister of Interior, the fourth in two years.
They demand to be better armed to face Egyptians on the streets. Many of them continue their acts of civil disobedience in violent confrontation with police all across the country. Threats of escalation with a lack of signs of change in the political sphere and an expected economic crunch could all spiral out of control.