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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora