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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.