News / Middle East

    One Year On, Egypt's Revolutionaries See Work in Progress

    A worker makes repairs to a fence outside the People's Assembly as final preparations are made for the opening session January 23 of the first post-Hosni Mubarak parliament session, several days ahead of the one-year anniversary of Egypt's revolution, in
    A worker makes repairs to a fence outside the People's Assembly as final preparations are made for the opening session January 23 of the first post-Hosni Mubarak parliament session, several days ahead of the one-year anniversary of Egypt's revolution, in
    Elizabeth Arrott

    One year after defiant Egyptians took to the streets demanding change, the change that came is not what many envisioned on the anniversary of the January 25 revolution.

    The millions who poured into Tahrir Square last year came from all walks of life: the poor, the middle class, Muslims and Christians. But the seeds of the uprising were largely planted by the young and the secular. They were the Facebook activists, the Twitter organizers, and they became the face of the revolution.

    One year later, it is the Muslim Brotherhood, largely absent from the early days of the revolt, which now dominates the first popularly elected body of the new Egypt, leaving many  young activists, like Hanan Abdel Alim, unhappy.

    "I think this council came on the blood of the people who died in the [Tahrir] Square and we're here to remind them that it was a revolution that brought them this council," said Alim.

    Pro-democracy, Islamist views

    For pro-democracy activists, their fight has been bittersweet: They called for the voice of the people to be heard, and are now hearing that people want Islamists.

    Not everyone despairs. Some, like Sameh Abdel Azim, are optimistic that this will be an unbiased parliament, able to stand up to other powers, including the current military rulers.

    "These people are elected from the Egyptian people and we trust our choice, and we trust that they will follow our hopes, insha'allah. We hope that this new parliament is different from the past and we are in a new environment after the revolution," said Azim.

    Other activists dismiss the Islamist ascendency as a distraction. Human rights activist Gasser Razek said the debate about a secular state versus a religious one is "completely artificial."

    "Egypt has never been a secular state, Egypt has always been somewhere in the middle: simple things, [for example] inheritance. You do not inherit according to a civilian law. You inherit according to sharia, and you inherit according to rules that the church sets. A Christian man cannot marry a Muslim woman; there is no civil marriage in this country," said Razek.

    Working together, with military


    What is new, many say, is the need to get along. The country's problems are such that the Muslim Brotherhood has made clear it does not want to shoulder responsibility alone, and Razek argues that is a good thing.

    "We all have been living under a very repressive, autocratic regime for almost 60 years. No one has learned over those 60 years to work in coalitions. No one has learned to play the game properly and I think Egypt needs that today. Egypt needs Islamists to work with liberals," said Razek.

    The first challenge, some say, is making sure the people's voice remains heard. And for them, that means getting the military back to their barracks.

    The military may have taken a step in that direction Tuesday when Egyptian military ruler Mohamed Hussein Tantawi announced that he will partially lift the country's 30-year-long state of emergency, long a staple of Egypt's military rule.

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora