Sunday,18 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1133, 31 Jan - 6 Feb 2013
Sunday,18 November, 2018
Issue 1133, 31 Jan - 6 Feb 2013

Ahram Weekly

Dissecting the revolution

Was it really only two years ago that the people of Egypt rose in unison to remove a despotic ruler? Sometimes it feels like only yesterday, often it feels like an eternity.`

Waging their famous Tahrir Square revolution, January 25 2011, the people of Egypt marched in triumph. Every man, woman and child came out to voice their dissent and rejection of a tyrant and his government.  They were peaceful and respectful, and the world was awed by the power they wielded in changing their nation’s destiny. But who was fooling whom?

What were the expectations, instant reform, affluence, abundance, law and order?  Was that a great error of self-deception or a sane and reasonable assumption?  In this dim and dreary winter, the bare trees sadly look upon bare tables of the poor. There is no reform, no change, no mercy!

Revolutions have no miracle cures.  They have plans, projects, programmes, jobs and above all they inspire trust and hope.  The pitiful people slept soundly, indulging in dreams of the glorious life to come. Tomorrow, why tomorrow there will be peace, security, prosperity, even happiness.”What romantic fools we mortals be!”  How often we forget that rulers are human and humans are pathetic creatures made of such ruthless stuff that cheats and betrays lies and kills.  Humans are also kind and compassionate loving and giving. The divide between vice and virtue is the thirst for power and power corrupts.

Corrupt rulers are soon hated.  The hate for the former President Mubarak was soon transferred to the present President Morsi.

Is this ancient, dignified people, who offered a 7000 yr. legacy of greatness to the civilized world, destined now to writhe and wriggle under the oppression of brutal tyranny?

The Muslim Brotherhood Organisation, well-funded and well-organised was established 8 decades ago, opposed by and opposing all ruling governments since.  Yet they had never rioted or rebelled, silently existing, underground and above.  Beneath their polished surface they learned to wheel and deal with the powers that be. While the Jan.25 revolution was raging, they were involved in dealing with the outgoing government. Days later they smelled the rebels’ success and decided to change camps. They swore solidarity with the young nationalists and in their almost virginal modesty the naive rebels abandoned the reins leaving them in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Their funds came in handy and they came from everywhere, even from the US government, heaven knows only why!

Hunger is the parent of crime they say, but also of revolutions — so it was in France, in Russia, so it is everywhere.  A full stomach has no complaints. The poor, the needy, the downtrodden became the darlings of the Brotherhood, who brought food, medicine and blankets. Fraud is committed in a variety of ways.  The gullible poor were entrapped. They voted for the Brotherhood candidate.  Despite that, their candidate lost by a few percentage points, and yet he won. How?  The Egyptian Army Supreme Council, in charge then, was coerced by the US government, again, God knows why, to hand the Presidency to the Brotherhood candidate, reversing the sovereign will of the people of Egypt.

The Brotherhood group, who had never ruled, let alone rebelled, found themselves on the seat of power, that irresistible aphrodisiac men have always coveted. The seat is warm and comfortable, will they ever relinquish it?

To lead a good life people must work.  Without work there is no food, no freedom, no purpose, no hope.  The sound of the people’s cry for:”bread, liberty and social justice” grows louder and more mournful.  There is less of these commodities, rather necessities, than ever before in the history of this great nation. Who do we thank, who do we blame?

The greatest tragedy is that hope, that perpetrator of life is rapidly evaporating, leading to a cold and sorrowful contempt, which quickly turns to frantic despair.

Paralysed by the immensity of power, an aversion to truth and transparency, and a total lack of governing experience, they watch as the country drowns in a sea of frustration and deprivation.  Is there a solution? Only one!  The revolution should breed another revolution, which it has. There is little chance that the young rebels will be fooled again. 

When does a leader lose credibility? When does a leader lose legitimacy? when he uses violence to replace law and order.  A state without laws cannot be a member state of the civilized world. Once that is lost where do we belong? What jungle laws do we apply?

Men confuse power with greatness.  Power does not make men great, nor is it an indication of ability or excellence. The powerful should learn that violence breeds violence, greed breeds greed and corruption becomes king. Uncertain and unreliable, power comes and goes.  Consider the present picture in Egypt---- the rulers are now convicts and the convicts, rulers.  “Drest in a little brief authority”, wrote the Bard.  Why will not men learn?

“When you have robbed a man of everything, he is no longer in your power”.  The people of Egypt have been robbed of everything.  The same cry of 2011 is still heard in 2013, louder, sharper, angrier!  Until the people retrieve their liberty, their self-respect, their daily bread, let no ruler become too comfortable on his seat of power.


“The strongest poison ever known,

Comes from Caesar’s laurel crown!”

                                                   William Blake (1757-1827)


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