News / Middle East

    Egypt's Unrest Like Tunisia's, But Arab States Differ

    Anti-government demonstrators shout slogans against President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, January 27, 2011.
    Anti-government demonstrators shout slogans against President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, January 27, 2011.

    Anti-government protestors in Egypt continued to defy a ban on demonstrations on Thursday, clashing with police in several cities. The unrest follows similar protests in Tunisia that toppled the 23-year rule of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, who fled the country January 14th.

    Observers say the protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has led the country for nearly 30 years, are unprecedented. But Amin Saikal, director of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra told VOA’s Victor Beattie, there are key differences between what happened in Tunisia and what is currently unfolding in Egypt.

    “Egypt had serious riots in 1977, but that was some four years before President Mubarak came to power. And this is the first time that there has been a very popular uprising against President Mubarak’s Egypt, and for that matter, my feeling is that this uprising is significant, and I think it could mean the beginning of the end for President Mubarak and the possibility of his son succeeding him. I think now the time has come for urgent reformation of the Egyptian political and economic system, and that is something that also the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for."


    Who is behind the unrest and what are the reasons?  There are some indications that it’s primarily young people who are involved and they’re frustrated by the lack of economic opportunity.

    “Uprisings or demonstrations have been very much inspired by the success of the Tunisian people and overthrowing their authoritarian ruler, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, who fled the country to Saudi Arabia.
    But, at the same time, Egypt shares a number of conditions which led Tunisians to rise against their rulers, and that is poverty, corruption, malfunctioning of the administration as well as political repression, and I think it’s come to the point that the Egyptian people want to take their destiny [into their] own hands, but, at the same time, it has to be pointed out that Mubarak’s regime is still very strong. And in some ways, Egypt is very different from Tunisia.
    In Egypt, the level of education is not as widespread and as high as has been the case with Tunisia, and also, the level of social and political consciousness is somewhat limited in Egypt than has been the case with Tunisians. Of course, these factors could have an important role in terms of enabling the regime to regain control but, at the same time, the demonstrations have sent a clear signal that his era may be over.”

    Is there a threat that Islamist radicals in North Africa may take advantage of what’s occurring in Tunisia and Egypt?

    “I don’t think there is a strong possibility of Islamists taking over in Egypt. I think what could transpire in Tunisia is more of a semi-secular government rather than an Islamist government in the sense which came to power in Iran in the wake of the Iranian revolution in 1978-79. 
    But in the case of Egypt, there is a strong Islamist movement that is the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been a banned opposition under President Mubarak and, for that matter, under his predecessors.  They, of course, could take advantage of the situation in order to regain their strength.
    But I think the Egyptian people on the whole probably would like to have a government which would not really push them in the direction that Iran has been led to and, therefore, they may want to opt for a government which is going to be democratic, reformist and capable of delivering the necessary services and commodities that the Egyptian public requires very badly.”

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    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.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora