Today, Jan. 25th, marks the fifth anniversary of the first day Egyptians came together to get rid of the former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for 30 years. The Egyptians wanted him removed from power because of his disregard of the Egyptian constitution, the corruption within the government and the police, and the absence in freedom of speech.
There are three main groups involved throughout the revolution; The Egyptian military, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the revolutionaries.
The first group is the Egyptian military. The Egyptian military controls approximately 40% of the economy and has the authority to sell the land for real estate, or liberally build on the property.
The second group is the Muslim Brotherhood of Political, Social, and Religious institutions. The Brotherhood advocates for all Arab states to be based on nonviolent Islamic law. The Brotherhood has been underground since 1950, when a rogue member attempted to assassinate a past president of Egypt. They were banned in Egypt afterwards, yet thrived underground considering members of the Brotherhood hold government positions and are able to fund social programs such as schools, orphanages, and mosques.
The third group consists of the revolutionaries. This group is made up of unemployed and disenfranchised Egyptian youth who want a liberal Egypt that allows them the freedoms they deserve.
The revolution was sparked by the Tunisians overthrowing their dictator. After seeing their success, the Egyptians decided to do the same.
First and foremost, the three groups above did not favor Mubarak. The military wanted Mubarak out of power because Gamal Mubarak, son of the dictator, wanted to take over the economy and interfere with the way the military ran the economy. The Islamic Brotherhood disliked Mubarak because he had many of their members jailed. The revolutionaries despised Mubarak because he limited their freedom of speech, censored them, and corrupted the government.
Once the revolution started, Mubarak called on the military to defend him, yet they sided against him, so he was forced to step down in 2011. Now that there was no one in power, the revolutionaries wanted to create a constitution before having a new election, yet the military and the Islamic Brotherhood both agreed to have an election before a new constitution. Although there were many candidates running, the Islamic Brotherhood already had a set campaign to run, and they ended up winning with their candidate, Mohamed Morsi.
He quickly became like another dictator, and after a nearly three-hour speech proving he was not fit to run the country, 10 million Egyptian revolutionaries took to the streets to protest Morsi’s rule on March 17th, 2013, and the military took down Morsi by force and replaced him with their own leader, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Now, El-Sisi runs Egypt and still, the nation has seen no noticeable changes and many citizens remain unhappy.
Many Egyptian students on campus have been impacted by the political unrest happening in their native country throughout the past five years.
UWT senior, Raafat Abouelyamin hasn’t visited Egypt in the past four years, yet he witnessed much of the national unrest head-on the last time he visited. According to Abouelyamin, the best solution to the Egyptian issue is through education. “If we educate people more about freedom of religion, it will have a great impact on security inside the country and even outside,” he said. “We [Egyptians] have shifted away from the true peaceful and loving Islam long ago and it’s time to talk about it and not be afraid to do so,” he continued.
Abouelyamin comes from a small village in upper Egypt, and hears from his family in Egypt that security has improved in those regions. When asked how he believes Egypt has excelled the past five years, he responded, “It’s getting better. Egypt will move forward and the blood of our brothers and sisters who died fighting for liberty and for better life conditions will not go in vain.”
UWT freshman, Rania Elbasiony, believes the Revolution had a negative impact on her life. “It was sad knowing what was going on there and how bad the conditions were, considering a lot of my family live there and I was always worried for their safety and always kept praying that they were far from the dangerous areas,” she said. “I always want what’s best for Egypt and all the fighting is sadly tearing Egypt apart,” she continued.
Elbasiony does think the conditions in Egypt will improve. “We always have to get through the bad stages to get to the better ones. I have faith in Egypt. The people who live there have a true love of country and will always want what’s best for it,” she said.
Although there are still improvements to be made in the middle-eastern country, UWT students believe the future of Egypt is brighter than the past.