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.
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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs