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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid