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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs