From the moment Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze in protest for the harassment and humiliation he suffered at the hand of a government official; he set off a catalyst that literally shook the Arab world in its entirety. Dictatorships either fell or took a step back to consider the affairs of its people, and where the government resisted, war ensued.
Bouazizi’s self immolation lead to the fall of Ben Ali’s twenty three year regime in Tunisia; 10 days later Egypt erupted and in two and half weeks, Egypt’s dictator, Hosni Mubarak, also stepped down. This led to the beginning of a new age in the Egyptian polity, one Egyptians had long heard of but never experienced – democracy, or so they thought.
Revolutions have never been known to transpire peacefully (doubt it, ask the French), thus seeing what occured before the election of Mohammed Morsi as President, was normal. The Muslim Brotherhood (of which Morsi is a highly placed member) capitalized on its vast network and experience in grass root politics to secure a third of the vote for its Freedom and Justice Party on 30 July, 2012. For the first time in her history, Egypt had elected its leader, then things started going downhill from there.
As a result of the heavy unrest and highly vocal disapproval of the Mubarak regime, Egyptians had now unveiled a sure means to get the government to do their bidding - Protest! Protest!Protest! Forgoing the necessity of their votes. As these events transpired, the world watched, and only watched, with little interference from the West, as they knew not to come into a sensitive situation such as this, in fear of being replaced as the antagonists. Then, President Morsi had to just issue a decree eight days into office! He wasn’t done, November 2012; Morsi issued yet another decree, this time granting him unlimited presidential powers, an act that marked the beginning of the end of his regime. And Egyptians responded the only way they knew how – Massive Protests!
Protesters came out in tens of thousands, a number of his (Morsi) advisers resigned and it was obvious that the new ‘democratic’ government was in serious trouble of crumbling down. President Morsi annulled the decree, but the damage was already done – supporters of his Freedom and Justice Party were involved in violent clashes with the opposition who were outnumbered two – to – one.
Fast forward to June 2013; on the first anniversary of Morsi’s presidency, mass protest were held – this time calling for his resignation, with the opposition collecting twenty two million signatures for the petition! Ninety two hours later, the military came out announcing the end of Morsi’s presidency. A coup had taken place.
Crack downs on alleged pro-Morsi public media/news outlets followed. Supporters of the ousted regime took to the streets to protest but the army somehow decided to use live ammunition against the supposedly unarmed protesters, massacring many in the process. Over a thousand lives have been lost since Morsi’s ouster; and unfortunately, it seems more lives are still going to be lost.
Now that another regime had been replaced fuelled by protests, the supporters of the ousted somewhat democratic regime have now replaced the opposition on the streets with their own set of protests; though it’s not looking so good for them, given that they are being slaughtered by the new military regime.
These series of events have shown one thing – the efficacy of Egyptian Protests on her polity: this loosely translates to “whoever has the largest gathering in protest gets to decide the political (and just about every other thing) fate of the country. The problem with this mentality is votes have now become irrelevant.
Now that the opposition has succeeded in the removal of the President; what next? The opposition had earlier failed to organize itself properly after the fall of the Mubarak regime; while the Muslim Brotherhood convened, they (opposition) scattered citing different opinions thus paving the way to Morsi’s victory. Now it seems like a repetition is most likely to take place; Tamarod (the opposition’s unofficial identity who gathered the signatures for Morsi’s ouster) has no plan in place for what’s to come next after the President stepped down, or in this case – arrested. Rather, Egyptians have gotten used to uniting in protesting every grievance they have against their government, but dispersing when it comes to electing a new leader.
Now that the military is in power again, Egyptians have to take to the streets if they are to have a second go at democracy in their history.
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