News / Middle East

2 Years After Mubarak Ousted, Egyptians Struggle to Keep Hope

An Egyptian protester shouts anti-government slogans during a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, February 8, 2013.
An Egyptian protester shouts anti-government slogans during a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, February 8, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Elizabeth Arrott
— There has been so much change in Egypt in the past two years, it is sometimes hard to remember how little there was for so long.  Hosni Mubarak's near 30-year rule was a weight that seemed, to many, impossible to lift.  

The region's aging rulers had been the same for decades. A reminder of the way things were came last week.  At a conference in Cairo, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, referring to Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, let slip the name “Hosni” before hastily correcting himself.   

Such stagnancy made the 18 days of uprising two years ago all the more extraordinary.  And when, on February 11, 2011, Mubarak stepped down, protesters on Tahrir Square and across the country were delirious about the possibilities ahead.  

Today, that air of promise, for some, has disappeared. One young woman walking through Tahrir summed up her disappointment.

"I think nothing changed.  Mubarak go and Morsi came.  He didn't do anything for the people in Egypt," she said.

  • Protesters take part in a march during the second anniversary of the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, at Tahrir Square in Cairo, February 11, 2013.
  • Egyptian artist Mohammed Darwish with a puppet of President Mohamed Morsi during an anti-Muslim Brotherhood protest on Qasr El-Nile Bridge in Cairo, February 10, 2013.
  • A protester displays used shotgun shells he said were used in recent clashes in Tahrir Square, during events to mark the second anniversary of former President Hosni Mubarak's resignation, February 11, 2013.
  • Protesters shout slogans in a march during the second anniversary of the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, at Tahrir Square in Cairo, February 11, 2013.
  • Protesters take part in a march during the second anniversary of the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, at Tahrir Square in Cairo, February 11, 2013.
Tahrir remains a focal point of protest, only now the signs denounce Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from which he comes.  They protest an economy in shambles, a leadership they accuse of self-serving interests and a general failure to live up to the ideals of the revolution.

Political sociologist Said Sadek of the American University in Cairo believes the situation will likely get worse before it gets better.  But he couches it in historical terms.

"We have to remember that, naturally, following any revolution, the government is weak, the economy is weak, security is weak and the president is weak,” he said.

If it is a question of patience, the patrons of a cafe overlooking Tahrir seem to have plenty.  A timeless calm of hours whiled away with cups of coffee and puffs on water pipes offers a counterpoint to the unrest and unease that make the headlines.

With the battered tents of protesters on the square just meters away, Mohamed Yasso, a middle-aged printer, gives credit to both the past and the future.

Mubarak had his achievements as a military man, he reflects, though Yasso faults him in later years for letting the economy slide.  He says the ex-president's seeming preoccupation with having his son take over proved a tipping point.  The revolution, the printer says, was inevitable.

As for the present problems, Yasso counsels patience and hard work, both on the part of the people and the leadership.  The government, he says, needs to channel the energy of the young men on the streets.

Yasso says the young need housing and jobs.  He says they need hope -- hope for education, health care, marriage.  “Every youth,” Yasso says, “should feel there is hope.”

For many of the young, the hope brought two years ago by revolution is being sorely tested.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
February 11, 2013 11:26 AM
Egyptian realize that Mubarak era is far better than moersi


by: Bassam El Arabi from: Egypt
February 11, 2013 11:04 AM
Arabs - still in search of their elusive "dignity"... yet, the Muslim Brotherhood keeps piling obscenities on Egyptian people. even the "prime minister" in an outrageous display of buffoonery degraded our culture and insulted our dignity...
Hey America, the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization - it is modeled on the Nazi party... IT IS - AL QAEDA... you must stop trying to strengthen them and supply them arms and money in an effort to consolidate their strangled hold on Egyptians


by: Michael from: USA
February 11, 2013 9:51 AM
The ideals of the revolution in Egypt did arise from the soil of Egypt so if one leader fails to live up to this, then a new leader will be a new leader, i.e. the distance of the new may be a long time coming

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid