Eighteen days were all it took for 80 million people to regain their voice... and pride.
|If anyone were to ask an Egyptian what are the chances of Egypt having an ex-president the person would simply fall to the ground with laughter in mere moments. The idea was too bizarre to even comprehend. In a country ruled for almost fifty years by just three presidents, it was almost weekly news to hear of an ordinary civilian activist being tried via court martial and found guilty in a matter of minutes to something as innocent as suggesting the government may be missing something. It was also very common to hear of people (sometimes young teenagers) tortured to death in police stations during interrogations.
Such a system who was the most powerful in the whole region crumbled to bits amazingly in just eighteen days; and by peaceful protests! Eighteen days witnessed twenty million Egyptians (which are about a quarter of the entire population) head to the streets all chanting "Out! Out!" to their president and his corrupt regime all aware of the possibility that they may never get back safely to their homes. They paid the price in the blood of a thousand martyrs and another then thousand injured horribly but despite that every single person who spent as little as an hour in the midst of these protests in Tahrir Sqare in Cairo or throughout the country would never forget the festive spirits that overcame Egypt at these times while the other Egyptians who chose to stay at home and watch them from their windows and balconies were blessing them and silently chanting along with those in the streets. It was a time of rejoicing which most Egyptians were deprived of their whole lives. It was during those eighteen days, that they were finally and much deservingly rewarded freedom for the first time in very long decades. They were rewarded for their immense patience and sacrifices throughout fifty years of poverty and suppression.
Personally however, I was unfortunate to have been out of the country at these times. I had to make do with watching my friends, family, neighbors, and every other fellow Egyptian make history through the news on television screens and the internet. I watched anxiously in awe the injuries and deaths that were taking place all over the country and was constantly worried about all the people I knew back there. This anxiety doubled when most means of connectivity were cut off and Egypt seemed to disappear from the global communication grid. But I was impressed all the same, and was constantly wishing I was among these heroes I was seeing on television helping them, joining in their cause.
Something I noticed though was the immediate change in the way the rest of the world was looking up to Egyptians. At that time I was in one the rich Arab Gulf Countries who had grown accustomed to look down upon Egyptians, they thought we had long lost our voice, our pride, and our dignity. We were solely dependent on them for living in their eyes. But for the first time ever, we have something they didn’t: democracy. The change in attitude was very obvious. Their public was now looking up to us, we had done something they dream of doing, and we had earned our voice back.
But I'm sure it is our elders, who feel the change more. They once lived through the days when Egypt was the leading country in the region as the sons of the people who used to export technology and fashion to Europe during the time of Mohammed Ali Pasha. And then had to live through the days as little by little Egypt became a shadow, a liability in the region.
Eighteen days… Just eighteen days. That is all it took for thirty years of ignorance and poverty to wear out. Egypt will return to its previous state. It is only natural that it goes through the problem it is facing now as the aftermath of its Great Revolution. But its voice shall be heard once more.