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Tuesday, 22 January 2013 00:00

Back On the Ground in Cairo

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If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on hiatus for about four months now. I was in Washington, D.C. doing some work and now I’m back in Cairo. A lot of things happened while I was away. President Mohamed Morsi declared himself the new dictator of Egypt, only to be threatened by the army; a controversial constitution was voted in a referendum — one that still lacks strong aspects of human rights protections and contains elements of Sharia law; Tahrir is no longer the sole place for protest but has expanded to the Presidential Palace known as Ithadeyya, where at times, the thugs of the Muslim Brotherhood beat people with rocks and resorted to firing shots on the crowds.

Despite all the headline news making way out of Egypt while I was away, everything felt the same as I walked through the streets of Cairo. Poverty was still an issue (street children begged for money), and trash was still not being properly collected (I saw piles of it on the corners). But what did seem to be different was the overwhelming number of foreigners on my flight to Egypt from Germany. Foreigners were no longer being guided by fear as as the remnants of what Jauary 25th stood for slowly faded into the pages of history. So many of the people who took the streets during those 18 days feel disenchanted. Even my friend the revolutionary, who made sure to attend every rally, no longer felt it was significant. With only some days until the second anniversary of the revolution, it makes one wonder, “Do they all still think it was worth it?”

It’s an innocent question that is asked by some expats and perhaps even more Egyptians. I, however, know the answer. Moving from dictatorship to democracy is a arduous task that takes time. Many mistakes will be made before Egypt, or any country that has experienced a radical political transformation, can get it right. Some of the Egyptian people feel like they messed up by electing (or allowing him to be elected by not participating in the presidential election) Morsi. They will probably have to wait some three and half years before a new president is elected, but they have learned what it is like to have Brotherhood in power. A democracy is like a child, it must learn from its mistakes, and Egypt will, indeed, learn from those mistakes.

As we wonder how this democracy will continue to exist, just remember one thing: the Egyptian people and their revolution is full of surprises. Do not give up on them any time soon, because it is when you do that you realize that they have surprised you in the most uncanny way. I’m back on the ground in Cairo, and I’ll be exploring the burgeoning new environment and keeping you up to date on all that happens, right here at Aslan Media.

By Holly Dagres, Aslan Media Columnist

*Photo Credit: Jonathan Rashad

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0 # Gaza Militant 2013-02-01 09:40
Long Live President Mohamed Morsi
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