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Is Egypt’s Revolution Safe?

Democracy and freedom have long been non-existent in the Arab world. Arab citizens aspiring for radical reforms in their societies thought that they would witness none in their lifetimes. They hoped their children and grandchildren might be the generations seeing these dreams come true. Until…!

Until the current generation surprised us, and did the unthinkable! Armed with mobilization and coordination tools that weren’t there a decade ago – Internet, blogs, and social media – the youth of Tunisia and Egypt broke free from the fear, and empowered millions to finally take it to the streets and do what they always dreamed of doing: demand the fall of their dictatorial regimes, and stay there until the heads of the regimes completely leave the scene.

Egypt in particular is very significant to the whole region. Culturally, Egypt is the leader of the Arab world. It shares borders with Israel, and was the first country to initiate peace under President Sadat. Mubarak has kept Egypt in a state of fake stability. To the outside eye, it may have seemed stable. We knew better! Egypt was sitting on a time bomb. The explosion was inevitable. We just didn’t know how it would happen, and how ugly it would be.

It took place, and it wasn’t ugly, at least from the side of those who exploded; the pro-freedom protestors. The task wasn’t a breeze. You had a president who had been in power for thirty years. During the last decade, if not earlier, he had been grooming his son, Gamal, to be the next president. Gamal had many friends too, and he brought them to power. The gang was free to do as they pleased. They had no limitations of any kind, not even keeping a thin safety net to avoid a revolution of the hungry. Under Gamal’s peak power, prices doubled many times, those who used to be middle class joined the ranks of the poor class, to name a few disasters. In short, if you were not one of the lucky friends of the regime, your life became increasingly unbearable.

This regime of historical corruption had to take many measures to sustain its existence over the years. They had a green light to do as they wish for that end. In almost every institution, only the worse of men rose to the top. A man or a woman who could say “no” or have an independent opinion wasn’t to hold any leadership position. State Security wasn’t at all for the security of the State; instead, it was “Regime Security”. People weren’t any safe exactly because of this extremely powerful and numerous security monster. Mubarak and his regime had built a huge, complex and powerful institution of corruption that transformed Egypt into a private property of their own.

Then we had the Revolution. Mubarak made one concession after the other, usually too late, and completely disconnected from the millions of determined protestors. The Egyptian army seemed neutral, but on the ground, Egyptians felt that the army was closer to them than to Mubarak. When all of Mubarak’s speeches didn’t end the massive troubles, and the protestors didn’t seem to lose their momentum and determination to stay in the streets until he steps down, Mubarak was forced to step down, probably by the very Army who initially refused to obey his orders to shoot and bombard the peaceful protestors.

We could think that the nightmare is over in Egypt, that we will finally focus on building a bright future for this great country now that Egyptians are over with the criminal and paralyzing regime of Mubarak and Co. I wish it was so!

Just imagine a mafia-like regime that had been building itself and securing its powers for decades, can you see it completely fade away once Mubarak left the presidency and went to his palace, some 370 miles away from Cairo?

The mafia that stole hundreds of billions of dollars, and whose security arm imprisoned, killed, tortured, kidnapped, sexually harassed and even raped opposing activists would not honorably accept the defeat and leave the stage to the winners. Yes the head has left the scene. But he’s living unharmed and unrestricted in an isolated palace, with all his family, who were also partners in crime. Will Gamal, the ambitious son who wanted both wealth and power, just accept the fact that his once so bright future turned into a black page of Egypt’s history? Like any mafia, we don’t know all the members, the helpers, and the informants. They could be in the least expected of faces and places. Mubarak, Gamal and their invisible mafia are definitely still working behind the scenes, and we’re seeing the sure signs of their presence!

Let me tell you one of today’s (Thursday 24th) “signs”! One of Egypt’s most important pro-Revolution thinkers, Tarek Heggy, disappeared from Facebook! Such a trivial incident, you would think? Well, first of all, don’t look down at Facebook, it’s where revolutions start nowadays! Now let’s go back a few weeks in time. During the Revolution, when nothing was sure yet, and the Regime not believing that it could be defeated, Heggy was clearly supporting the uprising and its sole demand: taking the Regime down. His Facebook account kept disappearing, his recent posts deleted over and again. At the exact same time, other popular pages and accounts supporting the uprising were deleted or suddenly posting naïve calls for Egyptians to accept the great concessions accomplished so far and go back home! Read: hacked by the Regime’s e-oppression department.

The Revolution successfully over, Egyptian State TV suddenly became censorship-free. There, where he used to be banned, Heggy had his first interview. He spoke freely about the former regime, made Gamal Mubarak look stupid, and even declared that he was going to submit important documents to the ICJ against one of the big figures of corruption under Mubarak, who fled to Europe. Scheduled for another interview today, Heggy posted a status on Facebook stating that the interview was cancelled a few minutes before its scheduled time, due to “political interference”. A few minutes later, his account disappeared again! Who’s still exercising their e-oppression in the shadows?!

Within the last few days, an Egyptian priest was murdered in his home. Some homes belonging to the Bahai minority were burned down. Christians organized protests demanding the arrest of the killers, joined by Muslims, who were never mentioned in some shady opposition newspapers that date back to the former regime (which had organized opposition, for decoration purposes!). The former regime was already found to be connected to the terrorist attack against the Church of the Saints earlier this year. Dividing Egypt’s Muslim and Christian population has always been one of the regime’s favorite techniques to turn anger away from politics, with the added bonus of having good reasons to keep Egypt’s Emergency Law which has been in place for 30 years!

Many Egyptians fear a counter-revolution. They are right in their fears. We still have the same prime minister appointed by Mubarak during one of his “concessions”. We still hear news of activists being arrested. Those arrested before the fall of Mubarak are still in prison. Some of the dirtiest and most corrupt figures of the regime are still free. None of the killers of hundreds of protestors was investigated.

This is why we still have calls for the Revolution to continue. We want this prime minister gone. We want everyone guilty of corruption, torture and murder in court, for a fair trial, including Mubarak and his family. At least the ones we all know of their corruption and crimes. Only then this great Revolution of Egypt will be safe, and the youth who created it can focus on building a solid future for Egypt, without fear of mysterious thugs kidnapping them, one by one!