News / Middle East

In Egypt, Little Evidence of Protesters' Power in Halls of Government

In Egypt, Little Evidence of Protesters' Power in Halls of Governmenti
X
August 27, 2013 6:01 PM
After a popular uprising in 2011 for democratic change, Egypt has had two military-led governments and one Islamist one. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more on why Egypt's would-be modernizers continue to struggle for success.
Elizabeth Arrott
— After a popular uprising in 2011 for democratic change, Egypt has had two military-led governments and one Islamist. Have Egypt's would-be modernizers failed?
 
Egyptians are good at taking to the streets. Millions rose up against President Hosni Mubarak and demanded freedom, dignity and social justice.

When the military council that replaced him hung on longer than promised, many of those same protesters came out to push for democratic elections.  
 
And when the Islamist voted into office failed to meet expectations, they took to the streets again and President Mohamed Morsi was out.
 
Yet for all that mobilization on the ground, there is little evidence of the protesters' power in the halls of government.
 
Longtime activist Wael Khalil said that's the democracy movement's biggest failure. “We have been able to oppose things and change things, but haven't been able to force what we want,” he said.
 
Khalil knows that politics is messy and difficult and he's reluctant to engage in it. But he said people who want the 2011 uprising to succeed need to step forward. “More and more people [who] should really get their hands dirty and really look at it as we have to do it ourselves,” he said.

Those who did engage in politics, like members of the National Salvation Front, were widely criticized as ineffectual and prone to infighting.

“The opposition in Egypt over the past year has never been the kind of constructive opposition that was really, at heart, supportive of the revolution," said Rania al Malky, editor of The Egypt Monocle. "It never was."

The true opposition, she said, was consistently stymied.

“There were the revolutionaries on the ground who were infiltrated by the counter-revolutionaries who belonged to the former Mubarak regime.”

Those counterrevolutionary forces, she believes, have prevailed again, and she fears the situation is back to where it was before the 2011 uprising, with criticism of the leaders quashed.
 
Aside from the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, journalists and anti-military activists have also been detained. Mohamed ElBaradei, the interim vice president and a leader of the National Salvation Front, resigned his post over the bloodshed. He has been charged with breaching national trust.
 
Khalil says Egypt has been through this before.

“We know that from Mubarak's years," he said. "They started it with the Islamists, in the '90s, and then the police state gets really ugly and brutal against everyone.”

Even as he listens to the government's defense of what it calls a “war on terrorism,” he remains hopeful. But he also says it will be difficult in the years ahead to make the slogan “freedom, dignity and social justice” a reality.

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ali Amiri from: Iran
August 29, 2013 8:08 PM
The popular uprising , the sinister surprisal event came up in 2010 when the ordinary people were deceived by endless deceit of Islamist who had been promising for a better life and livelihood through the enforcement of Sharia Lows . they wrongly forced president Mubarak out from power who had preserved dignity and social freedom in Egypt for decades and introduced that nation as the predominance and a highly rich cultured with ancient civilization over the other Arabs nations. While the people were approaching a total social collapse , loosing security and almost everything similar to we Iranian since decades ago , they fortunately came to their insightful senses and stop that backward route that would lead them to 1400 years ago ! They should now be grateful to their national Army who did not surrender their country to narrow minded Islamist. thanks to that brave and resolute Savior of Egypt , The ARMY OF THE PEOPLE !


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 28, 2013 1:44 PM
Khalil is wrong. He is pessimistic because he is an islamist or a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The army in Egypt is neutral when it comes to religious leaning and politics. This does not mean the soldiers don't belong to religious organizations. But they chose to be neutral in order to be unbiased when issues of national interest are concerned. They also understand democracy and its embedded freedoms. Thus when the people of Egypt cried out for help, the army was handy, being themselves Egyptians and feel what the ordinary man on the street feels. The army promised election within a stipulated time, and until that time has been used up and nothing is done, then we start blame game. The right thing to do right now is allow the interim government enough time to plan and draft anew constitution for the country, open up electioneering campaign and conduct an election that will land Egypt where the true Egyptians want it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid