The end for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his government began two years ago. Young opposition activists coordinated their protest campaign through Internet social media. After 26 days of massive demonstrations, Mubarak, the ruler for three decades, was led away. Our correspondent in Cairo, Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, has been talking to some of the people who made it happen.
Young Egyptians played a key role in the revolution of 25 January. They’d had enough of declining living conditions and suppression of political expression under a corrupt regime. Individuals like Ali Alarabi revolted against injustices suffered by many.
Alarabi said: “I remember the beginning when we were overcome by teargas. When we smelled it, we smelled success, because gas is not used to stop small numbers, where a baton charge will do the job. Gas is used when there is massive protest, and this reassured us. At the same time it was strangling us; we were pouring tears, exhausted.
“But gas meant overwhelming numbers. A friend took me on his shoulders, and I saw how many we were in the demonstration. We shouted at the government: ‘You raise the price of sugar and oil and force us to sell our furniture to pay for it!’”
Shaikhibrahim added to the context at one of the revolution’s main coordination centres: “The El-Borsa Café has been described as a shelter, a liberated zone, a rebel den, a danger… This is where the revolutionaries met and planned blockades, and were arrested, including Ahmed Doma, one of the Egyptian revolution’s most prominent political activists.”
Doma said: “In the early days of the revolution, we succeeded in finishing Mubarak and tearing down his symbols, bringing them to trial. In addition, there was changing the constitution, even though the new constitution was born deformed. Then we had a presidential election, even though it turns out the president is a traitor within the framework of the revolution. But we accomplished these key dangerous tasks, especially for the silent majority, who can now take to the streets and be certain that their voice counts.”
Some 800 people were killed in the revolution, mostly young, like Shahab-al Sayed. Yet since the start of the revolution his mother has never given up protesting in Tahrir Square.
Mouna Abed al Fatah said: “I do not want to feel that he died in vain. I want all Egyptians to share in the revolution, and they still feel the goals have not been reached, to be able to say ‘no’ and not be afraid.”
Shaikhibrahim said: “Tahrir Square is where the revolution for freedom and social justice began, where the first cheer went up. Two years later, the rebels of Tahrir Square maintain the same demand: that revolution continue until the people’s right to self-determination is realised.”