Following the peaceful revolution in Tunisia, the voice of the Egyptian people have finally been heard. After 18 days of protest, today marks a significant day in history for not-only Egypt, but also for many of its surrounding nations. As President Obama addressed earlier this afternoon, we can finally come to terms with the ideology that “justice can be achieved through non-violence.”
The autocratic President, Hosni Mubarak, was first elected into office as the Vice President in 1975, and resumed presidency after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Looking at Egypt’s history alone, in the span of 50 years, the United States has had approximately eight presidents, while Egypt has only had three. As Americans, I feel that sometimes we take for granted the fact that after our elected presidents’ term is over, he steps out of his office and returns home. It is difficult to imagine living in a country that calls itself a republic, a government of the people, yet continues to keep its people oppressed.
After his address to the Egyptian people yesterday, President Mubarak didn’t address himself as the problem, but his advisers. With that being said, he concluded a new reform and would promise that lives of the Egyptians lost would not go in vein. The public outcry, response, and protests, however, voiced to the president that they were dissatisfied with his address. They continued to gather to peacefully protest in the streets of Cairo until the President finally heard them. They didn’t want reform. They didn’t want another change in laws. They didn’t want new advisers or a new regime. They want a new President.
After hearing news of the president’s resignation, earlier today, the streets of Cairo were filled with emotion and cheer as people that didn’t know each other, embraced one another and even lit fireworks for the historical event. Together, the people, Christians and Muslims alike chanted “We are One”, as all of their efforts finally came into fruition.
“This is only the beginning,” says President Obama. There is a lot of change in store for Egypt and it is difficult to foresee how this will effect not-only their economy, but also the economies around the world, including our own. Another thing we must not forget is that Egypt’s revolution may lead to revolutions in other parts of oppressed states surrounding the horn of Africa and Middle East. Some theorists believe that the 21st Century, could be marked as “The Century of Revolutions”.
Already, many other countries in the middle east and parts of Africa are beginning to protest. These countries range from Lebanon, Jordan, Algeria, Yemen and Sudan. This all just simply marks the beginning of countries discovering their oppressive societies.
In all honesty, the revolution could go in either direction at this point. The Egyptian people were already unsettled with the idea that the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, tried to mediate between Mubarak and it’s people; feeling as though, the US was attempting to interfere in its peoples’ affairs. I’m unsure of where the US will stand on this matter for now, but be rest-assured that we will be keeping a close eye on the country, for our own interests. There are also plenty of other questions stirring, to-include Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, and whether it will continue to be honored after President Mubarak steps out of office.
Egypt’s future is unknown, as a democracy could be put into place, but for now – a celebration continues throughout their country, as they have finally tasted a bit of freedom. Congratulations to Egypt and all Egyptians on this remarkable day, where your prayers have been answered and your voices have been heard.
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Martin Luther King Jr.