Refelections on“a baseline “biography” of the revolution in Egypt”

Khaled Fahmy´s “a baseline “biography” of the revolution in Egypt” gives a historian´s approach to the happenings during the revolution in Egypt 2011. The one-hour-interview already submits the feeling of being part of history as the political landscape in Egypt has moved a lot in the short time since that.

Fahmy is a university professor who worked in the USA before the movement against the Mubarak-regime started in January 2011. As soon as the demonstrations started he decided to go back to Egypt to experience a movement that is unique in the history of the country. Since ancient times Egypt has been ruled by strong patriarchs who acted as absolute rulers. There has never been a revolution or at least no successful attempts. Fahmy is convinced that the outbreak of the Arab Spring in Egypt could only be that powerful because of its singularity. After thousands of years of Pharao leadership the Romans, the French, the British and the Ottomans invaded the country at different times so that there has always been a heteronomy.

After nearly 300 years under Ottoman domination and the French attempt to take over the power the Egyptian state was founded by the former Ottoman Mohammed Ali in the early 19th century. He achieved a relative independence from foreign countries though his leadership was autocratic and violent. In 1882 Egypt got conquered be the British under whose control it stood until 1954. The new Egyptian Governments after that were not elected and had little connection to the people they led. Though the administration got modernized the efforts of building a democracy have always been low to none existent. Egypt has never had the time to recover from these violent leaderships. Fahmy says the revolution in 2011 was remarkably powerful because of the frustration that the Egyptian people had been collecting over the 200 years with their non-elected governments. Egypt has been a country under dictatorship all over its history which was ignored and even supported by the western countries for the comfort of a stabile business partner in the region.

The government under Husni Mubarak did not make a big difference since it was far away from the reality and Mubarak himself did not relate to the people he ruled. As an example Fahny makes a comparison between Mubarak´s age of over 80 years and the average age of the Egyptian people which is lower than 30.

I find the age of a politician is not really an argument for his or her qualities, so I think this argument is a bit far away in comparison to all the other aspects of the wrongful leadership of Mubarak. Anyway it may depict his distance in the understanding of the people. Still the young age of Egypt´s population speaks for itself as one of the initial points of the revolution. Young people are more willing to fight and demonstrate for their future and furthermore they are media literate for digital technologies. The new ways communication between the citizens has enabled an organization that would have been unimaginable in the previous years. Fahny also states that the not existing relationship of the Egyptians to their governments turns out to be one of the most crucial challenges the revolution has to face in the near future. As the citizens were not used to the process of democracy they could be manipulated into voting for a cause they did not go through all the dangers of the revolution for.

There is a great will for democracy and participation in the people while oppositional forces are still very powerful. Speaking of the most influential group, the Muslim brothers have formed a political party that is well organized and influential. As it turns out this prevision has become reality in the meantime. The Muslim brothers have won the election. Mohammed Mursi became the first elected president in the history of Egypt. His Government did not last long though. After new demonstrations against his anti-democratic actions in which he intervened violently the military took the power in a coup. The new intentions of building a free government that is legitimated by the people, is questionable. Khaled Fahmy has been predicting the fragility of the movement. The extremely different parties with their diverse understanding of democracy are a huge challenge for the population that has yet to figure out a system in which all parties can share their opinion equally. First of all the violence needs to stop which is much easier to be said than done. The military interim authority is already involved in killings in the same manner that was displacing its predecessors. As Fahny has stated in 2011, the revolution has just begun and it is still not yet to see where it will go to. The power of the people has been unleashed and it will probably stay in this state until the results are more satisfactory. Nevertheless the conditions in Egypt are alarming and the way towards an actual democratic government has not become easier since 2011.


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