The Egyptian Dream


T
hirty years, thirty years is the period Mubarak spent on top of the government as the third president of Egypt after the 1952 military mutiny during which he and his regime has written the worst chapter of Egyptian political history witnessing the era of absolute human rights disrespect, international rights violations, and widespread corruption in all aspects of life. The revolution came to liberate Egyptians from those who controlled their minds and spirits and for three decades have been benefiting from Egypt’s resources without paying back or showing concern in their people development nor their country’s. Thirty years of insult, abuse, and disrespect were more than enough for Egyptian youth to revolt and to overthrow the dictator.

Egypt is now witnessing the birth of a new time, and that time is the time of Egypt’s sons to act and help their country gets what it and them deserve. This new day began with a great victory that will last forever in history and in peoples’ minds and hearts. A victory that is great not because it helped getting rid of the old regime, but because it was the people who redeemed their souls to dream of a bright future for them and the future generations. Even if the people who shared in the revolution died, their imprint will never die and the idea they died for lasted and will last forever. It is now the individuals time to rebuild their country and fight for every single right that was deprived from them. Egyptians should be one unit just as they were during the revolution where they fight the regime and now to fight for their country.

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Political pluralism in Egypt (Cont’d)

Whereas apparently that plurality structure gave the government an apparent pluralist look and indeed democratic, it, in fact, proves the useless of good, and just concepts, in this case political pluralism, if not accompanied with proper application and other conditions of democratic rule. Actually, the Egyptian version of parties’ plurality supported the undemocratic nature of the state by faking competition which existed only among the “opposition” parties leaving the National Democratic Party out of competition; in fact, the competition between these parties made the position of the “unified”, organized, and still ruling NDP more strong.

The state played the role of ultimate supervisor watching the game of competition among other party and even organized the game (via mechanisms like the Committee for Political Parties and others) to spare the NDP from challenges, serious ones.

Abu ‘l-Ala Madi, Wasat [Centre] Party member (illegal party) and one of the founders of Kifaya (Enough) association, said: “ For the last twenty years, the regime has been controlling the opposition parties. Parties accept this — they are not really in opposition.” (REFORMING EGYPT: IN SEARCH OF A STRATEGY, 4 Oct 2005, page 14)

With these huge amount of anti-democracy shots, the search for a solution to try to oppose the regime and lead a health politics was ongoing and found that the only feasible solution is to have unusual types of opposition developing outside the parties — remarkably Kifaya, Al Harka Al Masrya L’Tagheer, and muslim brotherhood.

The most notable opposition thanks to their wide patronage at both the command and public base is the Muslim Brotherhood that developed substantial support due to the social and economical services they provided through variety of social associations and economical firms and organizations.

But the fact that Muslim Brotherhood is illegal and considered the state’s first-on-the list enemy prevented from utilizing their wide social circle of trust and support into a serious electoral rivalry to the NDP, other than the few seats they acquire in parliament as independent runners.

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Political pluralism in Egypt

Political pluralism, in the sense of parties, took a good phase and look in Egypt during monarchy system after the WWI and which included parties like Al Wafid founded by Sad Zaghloul, the famous Egyptian political figure. After seizure of control over the country in 1952, Free Officers abolished this pluralism. What we had before 25th revolution of a limited, no-effective party pluralism is different than the earlier system and is a creation of the Free Officers’ regime especially after Nasser’s era. Authority tailored this pluralism to their designed constraint, and the status of parties after Nasser’s couldn’t provide real improve impulses.

Recent system of alleged party-pluralism was established in 1976, after president Al Sadat abolished the sole party at that time, Arab Socialist Union from the political arena and broke it into three distinctive parties; center, leftist, and rightist sections; Sadat along with his government took control over the central party which became the NDP, National Democratic Party. Former Free Officer Khaled Mohieddine led the Leftist or reformist section, and called it AL Tagammu’ and the rightist or conservative section, led by Mustapha Kamal Murad, and went under the name; Al Ahrar, liberalists. This smart, yet unjust game of president Sadat did achieve its goals which is to hold control over the left and right political fragments and thus, the whole country and superficially still have “pluralism” which is nothing except babies of the original mother regime.

Laws controlling the process of parties’ formation were extremely strict and conditions were nearly impossible to allow the regime to choose its opposition just like it chooses its followers and give the audience, which is the people of the country and the international society, an interesting political play. One party was allowed in the 80s, specifically in 1984, Al Umma. Then eight parties were allowed during the 90s, and six have been allowed during the last seven years.

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Egypt, Politics Timeline, 21st Century (Cont’d)

Mubarak held responsibility of the state as president of Egypt after Sadat’s assassination during a military march. Jihadists, a group that thought of restoring and renovating Islamic rule through Jihad –physical self-sacrifices- rather than the word of mouth, announced their accountability of the assassination and then began the political war between Mubarak’s regime and all Islamic parties and groups which ended up with all big shots of Islamic groups in prison as political prisoners. Emergency laws were constitutionally approved and activated and that deprived the Egyptian citizen from any and every right. Corruption started to outbreak and the ruling NDP –National Democratic Party- took control on every single institution in the country including the parliament leaving no space at all for political diversity.

During Mubarak’s regime Egyptians suffered all types of disrespect to their humanity and their human rights and the fact that they are citizens of that country and own exclusive rights that the government completely underprivileged them. Back to the political life, authoritarian regimes are known to put the country in a small bottle and literally control it from top to bottom and that is exactly what Mubarak’s regime care about; to last forever was the regime’s ultimate and only aim. For the sake of achieving this illusion of immortal control, they controlled the political life very tightly allowing no opposition party or association to even breathe. Emergency law was the government’s tool to eradicate any political movement before starting. To obtain some false credibility, they justified their approach of ruthlessly removing any political obstacle in their immortality path by claiming that those political groups are threats to the national security.

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Egypt, Politics Timeline, 21st Century

Egyptian political history is packed with events and movements that shaped it. The monarchy establishment ended as a result of the 1952 military mutiny where Free Officers body managed to take control of the country using the power of army and to kick the king out and declare Egypt as a democratic country ruled by a president and his government. Reform started soon and included economical, social, and political reform; Gamal Abd Al Nasser was the first effective president of Egypt and during his regime Egypt witnessed a great deal of change in political life and also other aspects like agriculture and manufacturing. After Nasser’s came Anwar Al Sadat; the second president of Egypt who managed to achieve both in war and peace with the Israeli body. The famous 6th of October 1973 war with Israel where the whole Arab region united to face Israel and after it Al Sadat surprised the whole world by signing the Camp David peace treaty that utterly changed Egypt’s eco- political map and was the start of a new political and economical era know as the open era.

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The people’s angel

Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian protests leader, said he wanted to meet Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and thank him. “This revolution started online,” he said in an interview on CNN. “This revolution started on Facebook.”
But as business firms, Facebook and similarly Twitter has always tried hardly to appear as neutral as they could to the revolts in Egypt and other Middle East countries because it is not good for their businesses which is fundamentally what they are running. They realized that taking too much credit could leave the companies open to blame or even being shut off from other countries and apparently that is not what they have in mind for their industries and their long-term business visions.
That is quite logically acceptable because “They don’t want to be put in the position where they are held responsible … if something negative or catastrophic happened,” said David Bell, a professor of marketing management at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. “They could be vulnerable to misinformation as well. People could be saying things (on Facebook or Twitter) that are not necessarily true.” So Facebook and others have very clear and honest policies, they don’t censor or gag anything, but never held responsibilities for what someone publishes. In other words, the user is free to share true or fake, information or feelings, but the companies are out of the picture.

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The other side of “online” activism

With all the virtues and benefits of social media that it gives bodies and groups extraordinary access to the public at large scale that cannot be achieved elsewhere; social media is connecting people all over the world and all it takes is an Internet connection.

But is it always the scenario of promoting good and peace for the public? Unfortunately, it’s not. Social media can and already have a negative impact on social structures and organizations. In some situations, social media creates what can be called fake or unreal activism meaning the appearance of activism where there is in fact inaction. To be a member in a Facebook group doesn’t entail real commitment; moreover, it might also make people less likely to act, because, for them, their online activity and membership gets them off the hook where in fact real activism is substantial.

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Social media and politics

The role of social media in encouraging political influence from the rise of President Obama to the fall of Mr. Hosni Mubarak is adding to social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter the role of major channels for news, information and commentary that organizes proletarian movements to change and challenge; change political circumstances and regimes’ defects and challenge governments to listen to their people, otherwise, revolution.

Mr. Obama, in 2008, managed to reach for the White House, as a president, in a unique run for presidency as it was helped by his campaign’s wide use of social networking. During the same year, a Colombian engineer, with the help of social media, gathered millions of citizens using a Facebook group, which he started to oppose the group known as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC.

What is special about websites like Facebook is that they have some kind of a magical effect on people. Social media marketing expert Andy Smith, with wife Jennifer Aaker co-wrote “The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change.” describes this magic as simply the “call to action”; in other words, how an individual with a single, yet influential idea can make a difference that never could have happened through normal ways or media. In “Social Revolution”, Author and San Francisco Chronicle writer, Benny Evangelista, indicated the emphasized role of social media in promoting political activism. For Example Twitter, the micro-blogging platform with about 175 million users, had a key role in spreading news of a 2009 post-election protest in Iran. On top of all, Social networking came to us with the great surprise of this year, which are recent anti-government revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

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Facebook: The Social Network

        Facebook main function is promoting “activities” by bringing people together in a stress-free and attractive presentation of their thoughts, opinions, and feelings. Facebook’s founder wouldn’t predicted what his invention could reach or be capable of doing a complete political transformation in an entire region like the Middle East.

        Facebook gained its worldwide popularity because of the virtual communities it creates. Users of the platform began by hooking up with their friends, family, and acquaintances that they couldn’t get in touch with them regularly due to the wild tempo of modern lives. Facebook then opened the door for people to communicate with everyone and for anyone to “befriend” anyone else, and by doing so, Facebook mounted the list of Internet websites quickly to settle on top of all social networking websites thanks to the original, unparalleled features and applications that Facebook endlessly has been and still providing its users with, and also because Facebook users consider it now an essential part of their life.

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The Facebook Revolution

         These young people symbolize a broader crusade challenging and targeting each and every authoritarian regime in the Middle East. Change; however, comes at a price. Hundreds of innocent were killed along with many injuries. “The Facebook Youth” that’s the title or label that old people, who never heard about social networks neither did they know Facebook, used to call the revolutionists which made Facebook play a role that its founders never could predicted; that is a revolutionary leader. Facebook youth now returned back to their Facebook home groups to watch and interact with the progress of their baby revolution.

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