Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Tahrir Square republic - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

It is clear that it will take some time for the dust to settle and for the future blueprint of Egypt’s political composition to become clear, following the storm of change that the country seems to be on the verge of following the events of 25 January 2011, which even the official media [in Egypt] is describing as a revolution.

Egypt has witnessed rapid daily developments, forcing the entire world to breathlessly monitor what is happening in the country, particularly as many forces that emerged on the ground – especially the youth movements that incited this popular movement – came as a surprise to the outside world. However there was a trial-run of what happened two months prior to 25 January 2011, with protest movements organizing – following calls on the internet – protests in the case of Egyptian youth Khalid Said [who was allegedly beaten to death by police officers], and in fact, there is now a protest movement in his name. The following are a number of observations about the events that occurred in Egypt over the past two weeks;

The first observation concerns the re-discovery of the extent of the importance of a country like Egypt. Many of the analysis and views stated in the previous months spoke about the erosion of Egypt’s role, regionally and internationally, and there was even talk about there no longer being any need for Egypt to play such a role. However after the recent events occurred, and following the confused and tense regional and international reaction to what is happening, and anticipation of the path that the country could potentially take; this reconfirmed Egypt’s significance and importance.

The second observation is that despite the depressing scenes witnessed by the entire world with regards to what the demonstrators faced, particularly the “battle of the Camel”; these protests have wiped the dust from the negative image that was present about the region and confirmed that the people of Egypt are not passive and deserve respect. What happened [with regards to what the protestors faced] was akin to a wave of madness or immaturity from certain parties that were against the Tahrir Square protestors, and it was these protesters who have negated the view about the region – and which has been promoted in the international corridors of power – that this region is an exception to the rest of the world, and that democracy is not natural to this region due to what they describe as its “special nature.” However, as I said, what has happened in Egypt has proven the inaccuracy of such ideas, and that the people of this region are not passive and deserve respect.

The third observation is that the “Republic of Tahrir Square” has forced everybody, especially the western world, to review and rethink what has happened in recent years, from the events in Gaza to what happened in Iran. I am talking about their belief that any change to the status quo would result in the advancement of Islamist fundamentalism, or in the case of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, who [they believe] would come to power and implement an extremist policy internally, whilst – externally – following the pattern of what happened in Iran following their revolution.

The events in Egypt have confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood is not responsible for inciting the 25 January protests, and it has also been confirmed that they are neither qualified nor likely to take power for nobody in the ongoing Egyptian protest scene holds extremist ideology. Let us borrow the words of an observer and analyst with regards to what is happening in Egypt, which is that Muslim Brotherhood ideology is one that grows stronger in the absence of genuine politics, or in other words when society lacks free politics, the star of the Muslim Brotherhood rises because they are the only party – other than the ruling party and the government institutions – that have any organized and effective power on the ground, even if the youth that are responsible for these protests were able to organize this via the internet.

Lastly, numerous victims exist in the midst of such storms that nobody pays any attention to, and here there must be a degree of fairness towards ousted Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif. The information and internet revolutions which the 25 January youth utilized to express their views would not have occurred were it not for him, and the economic reforms that were implemented during his time in office have been the subject of international acclaim, resulting high growth rates for Egypt, foreign investment, and an unprecedentedly high export rate in the history of Egypt’s economy; the problem was that not everybody in society enjoyed the “fruits” of this, but that is another issue.

Ali Ibrahim

Ali Ibrahim

Ali Ibrahim is Asharq Al-Awsat's deputy editor-in-chief. He is based in London.

More Posts