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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs