Those who took to the streets of Egypt two years ago could not at the time see except a dream of the society they want to live in. This dream blinded them to the presence of a group that took advantage of them to achieve its own goals and not those of the people who staged the revolution. Now, when they stand and look around, don’t they feel they have been deceived?
What do we have now in Egypt after two years have passed since those who dreamt of change took to the streets? What we have now is the same old equation, only with a change in its components. Those who ruled are now in prison or in the opposition while the factions of political Islam, which constituted the main opposition bloc in the past 60 years under the leadership of its biggest group, are now in power and maintaining the tactics of the old regime. This group stole the dream of Egyptian average citizens who thought that the slogan they used will turn into a reality only to find out that it was just used as a tool of political victory on the part of the group. It is all over now, as one of the youths who took to the streets two years ago noted. The “freedom and justice” in the slogan were stolen by this group when it named its political party.
Lack of trust
Two years later, lying has become the norm. The new rulers have been lying from day one and continued to do so for two whole years. Lying has become a system of governance and a style of life. There are several examples to demonstrate that starting from the first constitutional declaration to deceiving youths several times then the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, then vowing to compete for only one third or half the seats of the People’s Assembly and not to compete for the presidency, let alone the talk about NASA and accusing us of understanding nothing. All this was before coming to power and when they did, lying became a virtue they practice all the time. The rulers lie and do not keep any of the promises they make to the people, who no longer believe them is if they have accepted the status quo.
The new rulers have adopted a bullying approach for the past two years and examples are too many to be listed here. The problem is that large portions of the people starting adopting the same approach as part of their daily lives. Why wouldn’t they? Isn’t this the common behavior of the rulers?
A few months after coming to power, the new rulers managed to undermine all the people’s dreams and nothing will stand in their way, for they are determined to seize control on all the state legislative and executive powers and even the judiciary is not safe from their grip. They drafted a constitution that guarantees that they remain in power and they threatened to hunt down all forms of opposition through the deformed laws they will pass. They will especially target the media, start filing a series of complaints and lawsuits against the opposition, and restructure al-Azhar so that it can be fully controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Economy is another disaster. The local currency is collapsing, reserves in the Central Bank are deteriorating, and tourism is falling apart. Furthermore, Egyptian businessmen are running away and foreign ones, except a certain nationality of course, are warned of coming to Egypt. This tactic aims at establishing a new businessmen class made up of the Brotherhood’s allies and making easy profit while completing the plan to get hold of all the state’s institutions. They will take Egypt to a stage where the utmost hope of Egyptians would be getting a loan or securing an aid.
It is a big mistake to assume that the new rulers will offer any concessions or give precedence to the nation over the group, for their ideology does not make of the homeland a first priority. Their allegiance transcends national boundaries or so they think.
A friend once told me that the real problem is that they stripped us of the ability to dream.
Two years ago, people took to the streets with big dreams that were aborted and with a slogan that only remained in the name of the ruling party. This is where “freedom” and “justice” went. As for “bread,” each citizen will get three loaves as per the new rulers’ plan.
Abdel Latif al-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of "Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak," a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy