Mosaic Blog

One Year Later, Young Egyptians Vow to Finish Their 'Incomplete' Revolution

The events of January 25, 2011 sparked a movement that changed the course of history in Egypt and the entire region. Exactly one year later, thousands of Egyptians who participated in the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak filled Cairo's Tahrir Square. While some gathered in celebration, many others rallied in defiance of what they believe is an unfinished revolution. "I think anyone who intends to go and celebrate on January 25 needs to go and reconsider this choice because we still have a long way to go," recounts one protestor.


As revolutionaries reflect on the January 25 anniversary, for many, today is a grim reminder that despite the fall of Mubarak, not much has changed in Egypt. One journalist who has been covering events in Egypt all year described the revolution as "young and intoxicating…Mubarak was gone, and Egypt overflowed with hope and the invincibility of youth." But today, "one year later, the romanticism of the revolution has faded."


As bitter political division and a troubled economy still plague the country today, many wonder how long and what it will take for Egypt to bounce back. And, despite historic first round parliamentary elections, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) still remains largely in charge. 

According to al-Alam TV
, hundreds of thousands of protestors across the country today are demanding an end to military rule, the start of presidential elections, and the execution of deposed President Hosni Mubarak. They are also mourning the many Egyptians who have died since January 25, 2011.


Despite the unforeseen challenges since the fall of Mubarak, Egyptians are determined not to give up on the promise of the "Arab Spring." When the Guardian newspaper asked people on Twitter, "What does #Jan25 a year on mean to you?", many responses conveyed a sense of deep pride and hope for the future of Egypt. One person tweeted, "This year's #Jan25 is filled with hope of a better future 4 #Egypt even though it is still marred by a number uncertainties." Another wrote, " We breathe hope, we paid blood to get our freedom, my beloved Egypt is and will always be great.#JAN25"


A demonstrator carries an Egyptian flag near Tahrir square where demonstrators are gathering to mark the first anniversary of Egypt's uprising, January 25, 2012. Tens of thousands massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square and other Egyptian cities on Wednesday, a year after an uprising erupted that toppled Hosni Mubarak, spurred on revolts across the region and exposed rifts in the Arab world's most populous state. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih


Photo: A demonstrator carries an Egyptian flag near Tahrir Square where demonstrators are gathering to mark the first anniversary of Egypt's uprising, January 25, 2012.  REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih


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Back to Tahrir Square

"The revolution in Egypt is not over. It has hardly begun," writes Omeya El Naggar in an article titled "Will Egypt's Arab Spring Turn Into an Arab Nightmare." Egypt's Tahrir Square looked like a nightmare today, ten months after protests brought down Hosni Mubarak's regime, as clashes between protestors and police continued for a third consecutive day. Al Jazeera reports that 33 people have been killed and over 1,500 injured since Saturday. 


Protesters run from tear gas fired by riot police in a side street near Tahrir Square in Cairo

Thousands of protestors gathered in Tahrir Square, the symbolic epicenter of the Arab Spring, to demand the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) swiftly transfer power to a civilian authority and to protect their revolution from what they say is an attempt to hijack it. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to start on November 28, but presidential elections won’t be held until a new constitution is written, which could take up to a year. In the meantime, executive powers would remain with the army. 


According to the Cairo daily Al Masry al Youm, protestors were using firebombs and shotgun pellets against the police. At a brief news conference, a representative of the military, General Said Abbas, said that the security forces had not initiated any violence and had only defended themselves. This video however, shows police officers beating lifeless bodies and dragging others by their hair across the square. One activist tweeted, "There are protestors writing phone numbers on their arms so that in case they're killed their family members can be contacted. #Tahrir." Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh said the clashes were "very intense, with the people on the street telling us…that the military has shown its true colors."


In the face of such bloody protests, interim Prime Minsiter Essam Sharaf and his cabinet submitted their collective resignation. However, the military council reportedly announced they will not accept the resignation until Egyptian political forces decide on a replacement prime minister.  


In an article titled "Cairo Jumps the Rails," Marc Lynch says, "Now is a time for the Egyptian political elite to unify -- Islamist and non-Islamist, elite and popular -- around clear demands for a speedy political transition to civilian rule. Protestors, bloody and mourning their dead, will not be satisfied with minor political concessions." Others say it is easier said than done. In an increasingly heated and complex political climate, Al Ahram’s Elias Harfoush argues that "the ongoing competition…over the inheritance of Mubarak's regime has its justifications…Mubarak's absence has left a great vacuum  in the prime seat of power in the largest [and most populated] Arab country." In other words, the stakes are high. 


As over 20,000 protestors filled Tahrir Square on Monday night, activists are calling for a "million man march" on Tuesday to call for a new civilian government and national unity.  


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