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January 20, 2012

Egypt's Revolution: one year later

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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Achievements of a revolution can be measured in two ways: (1) by a real time scale - in the case of Egypt's Revolution the achievements during its first year are all miracles - or (2) by a scale of unrealistic expectations where people end up disappointed. As a senior scientist, an academic and a participant in Egypt's Revolution for the last year, I favour the first measuring scale.

On the political change towards a true democracy (by the people for the people; the 99%) a mass participation in free elections is a miracle in itself when over 60% of the eligible voters (over 30 millions) participated in the recent parliamentary elections; young and old, men and women, Muslims and Christians, PhDs and uneducated.  Many voted for the first time in their lives and scores waited in lines for over 8 hours to cast their vote. Not a single incident of violence occurred. Very few irregularities were recorded.

Despite the extreme rhetoric by some political parties during the election campaign, all winning political parties are now speaking a different language of reconciliation, moderation, cooperation and collaboration. Another miracle considering that most political parties in Egypt were banned for the last 60 years.

Al-Azhar, the world top Muslim institution and Egypt’s Christian Church along with Egypt’s political leaders issued a joint declaration last week to insist on Islam’s moderate approach to governance and to defend “human rights and freedoms including freedom of faith, freedom of artistic and literary creativity”. And this is another miracle.

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar said, “Egyptians pin hopes that the scholars of Al-Azhar (rather than politicians) define the relation between the forgiving Law of Islam and the fundamentals rights of citizens. This must be done in ways that turn the spiritual force of the nation into a force for progress.”

The political time line includes the Upper House elections in about two weeks, followed by writing a new constitution and voting for its acceptance and then electing a new president – all to be completed by July 1st; i.e. within the first 18 months of the revolution.

Also by then the top 1% of the corrupt regime in their unholy trinity; in politics, media and business will be sentenced in a court of law with full transparency and due process. This is another miracle considering the top 1% in the so-called democracies of the West get away with oppressing the 99% and even get away with murder (note for example the millions got killed, maimed and displaced in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine in the last 10 years alone).

The miracles of the Egyptian revolution are achieved with a cost; the lives of young people – a great loss to their families and to the country - but a small cost of about 10 people for each one million of the population. Another miracle in the history of any revolution.

Egypt’s Revolution which has started with demonstrations and sit-ins by mostly young people on the 25th of January, 2011 turned into a people revolution only 3 days later – another miracle. And within 18 days one of the world’s most corrupt regimes, which were fully supported by the West via Israel, was gone.

Indeed one year into the revolution New Egypt is politically new and has a bright future.

Top positions in the country, for example university presidents, are now elected by the stakeholders rather than appointed by government or by the president.

A few bold steps were taken towards achieving social justice; for the first time a minimum and a maximum wage were implemented. An increase in wages and in pension of the lower 10% was also implemented.

Towards development, national projects which were installed for political reasons were put back on track again. Tourism is also back to normal rates. Small and mid-size industry got tax breaks. Government spending was reduced by eliminating waste.

New Egypt has a great future, I am sure. Happy first anniversary everyone; Egyptians and their friends.

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