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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs