The Egypt Revolution



Course Instructor


The Egypt Revolution


The Arab world’s most populous and influential nations including Egypt and Tunisia experienced serious revolution that saw long serving leaders such as Mubarak being hoisted. Egyptians were tired of oppressive political order, which had smothered their country prompting them to force President Mubarak after ruling for nearly 30 years (“World Socialist Web Site” Web). The revolution was marred with popular, spontaneous and unarmed rebellions that punctured the aura of the all-powerful, authoritarian Egypt leader. Youthful activists collaborated with labour unions and workers to fight the ubiquitous and brutal security forces and further utilized revolutionary tools such as social media: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to make the revolution successful.

According to “World Socialist Web Site” Egyptian youths had demonstrated the usefulness of social media as a platform for organizing mass street actions after distributing news that the state controlled press avoided the harsh tactics of Mubarak’s security personnel (Web). They succeeded in several cases including the one for a 28-year-old Khaled Mohamed Said killed after thorough beatings by the police and the photos of his disfigured corpse online on Facebook. These events were very successful in initiating the Egyptian uprising, which brought a remarkable transformation in the region’s political dynamics and ended 30 years of martial law ended and a democratic free election was held after decades. Attempts of stopping the demonstrations such as killings and blocking social media did not succeed in crushing the uprising instead they increased attention, as people were tired of poverty, unemployment level, government corruption and autocracy (Kanalley Web).

Resignation of President Mubarak on February 11, 2011 which was less than 24 hours after he refused to give in the public’s demand of resigning. For the past 18 days, Egyptian protestors were echoing “Go Mubarak Go!” the euphoria that swept the crowd that was gathering in Tahrir Square (Vargas Web). It is undeniable that the Tunisian inspired event’s reverberations are felt everywhere in the Arab regions including Algeria and Yemen. The Tunisian uprising greatly catalysed and inspired Egyptians to take to the streets because Tunisians had a more repressive and brutally dictatorial leader compared to Egypt yet they succeeded in ousting him.

As much as the Tunisia’s case lit the fuse there were numerous past transformations in the Egypt’s social and political arenas that largely led to the revolution. Since 2004, Egypt increasingly experienced demonstrations, street politics, strikes and stage-ins by different workers including health providers, textile workers, lawyers, judges, transportation and postal workers. According to Rizk workers demanded better wages and better working conditions as tough economic conditions that involved wide gap between the have and have-nots as well as closure of many institutions that in turn caused unemployment was eminent (Web). Interestingly, the government did not pay much attention to the escalating strikes and at times, the administration brutally broke and supressed the strikes particularly between 2009 and 2010. However, the sporadic and thin victories dependent on the sheer tenacity of the protestors that prompt the government to raise the minimum wage to 400 Egyptian pounds. There was also success achieved in forming two independent trade unions as well as an independent trade federation and this showed an unparalleled break from the throttling hold that the government encouraged over labour activism since 1957 (Kanalley Web).

The little success experienced in strikes triggered a few individuals by creating an instantaneous sense of desolation and leeway. Amongst them was Hossam Hamalawy who is a prominent Egyptian blogger and consummate ethnographer of Egyptian street who posted on October 31, 2010:

There is something in the air in Egypt. It could be Mubarak’s Autumn of Fury, as I and increasingly many people around me sense. Not a day passes without reading or hearing about a strike. No one knows when the explosion is going to happen, but it seems everyone I meet or bump into today feel it’s inevitable. (Mahmood Web)

Apparently, the fact that the Egyptian youths were the worst suffering lot in Mubarak’s leadership was acknowledged by almost every one of all ages. Hamalawy wrote on his blog about an old man talking to two young females:

I think your time now is worse than the time of the war [referring to the 1967 war with Israel]…. And who said the war is over? The real war only started. Look at the poverty, corruption and hunger. It is an internal war. It is worse than the war with Israelis. May God bless you and give you strength. Your generation is at war. It is a disaster, a bigger disaster than our generation faced. (Mahmood Web)

Additionally, there were legendary police brutality of the security police that marred the country for a long time yet the victims of the torture were just ordinary citizens that were humiliated for crimes they did not commit.”Amn ad-dawla” was a deeply hated institution compared to the underpaid police force, which disappeared into thin air in the initial 24-hours of the protest.

The inhuman and public brutal beating of Khalid Saeed, a blogger and internet café operator turned out as the sign of the pro-democracy movement linked with the renowned wildness of the security police. Mubarak sustained the decades of his leadership by keeping authoritarian and enhancing brutal control over power and granted limited freedom to the Egyptians. Vargas explains Mubarak refused unending calls by the White House for democracy in Egypt despite the fact that Egypt had a pride of place as America’s chief ally in Arab Middle East (Web). These events created an opportunity though limited for Egyptians to engage in civil and political rights activism through demonstrations, NGOs and other legal aid organizations.

Blogosphere’s role in the uprising cannot be denied and the Egyptian’s rebellion has been dubbed the Facebook Revolution since social networking largely mobilized the sit-ins and demonstrations. Bloggers successfully put a face and a voice to the ubiquitous police brutality that included phone cameras of innocent citizens inhumanly tortured (“World Socialist Web Site” Web). The blogs cut across Egyptian political spectrum and their main aim was to end Mubarak’s rule, rejection of Mubarak’s son succession, expansion of political freedom and democratization of institutions and end to state violence and prosecution of perpetrators. People wrote hot political issues that cut across religions and were equally disillusioned with the aged leadership, which alleged to represent them. Interestingly, the Islamic and the secular groups that came together to join in the demonstrations did not have a central and singular political authority organizing it instead it had perceptive and experienced organizers who were able to order themselves (Rizk Web).

According to Hirsi several other prominent people supported the demonstrations including Nobel Laureate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei who is a strong opposition force (Web). Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood who were strong opposition of the Mubarak administration provided a very heavy support to the many protestors (“World Socialist Web Site” Web). The most lethal protest was took place when the government blocked all internet services as well as text messaging in the country forcing journalists to find an alternative way of distributing information. Military was called in to take over security; the protestors welcomed this move since they believed in armed services than the police.

It is worth noting that there is not-so restrained shared thread running straight through nearly all revolution in the past where the average, the poor and the working class feel supressed. It was apparent that everyone in Egypt felt that their economic welfare and social lives were put into a relatively unacceptable level of negativism and degradation (Hirsi Web). The depressed groups in Egypt organized themselves after realizing that they had an alternative to struggle as moral agents and assume the power to impose moral standards on their powerful institution. The 18 days event in Tahrir was a collective experience in shattered urban Utopia and their main purpose was for Mubarak to fall. Egyptians realized that they could not move forward with a leadership that promoted vast inequality and repression of workers. For the last 25 years, minimum wage had not risen, the power of labour was weakened, and the country was beholden to private power.

Works Cited

“World Socialist Web Site. “The Egyptian Revolution, 1 Feb. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <>.

Hirsi, Ayaan. Why the Arab Spring hasn’t failed in Egypt and Middle East. The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <>.

Kanalley, Craig. Egypt Revolution 2011: A Complete Guide to The Unrest. The Huffington Post, 30 Jan. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <>.

Mahmood, Saba. The Architects of the Egyptian Revolution. The Nation, 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <>.

Rizk, Sherif. The Egyptian Revolution: Beyond False Choices. Open Democracy, 25 Sep. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <>.

Vargas, Jose. Spring Awakening: How an Egyptian Revolution Began on Facebook. The New York Times, 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <>.