Violent protests and uprising grip Egypt

By Postie Editors

Conflict in Egypt has been festering for decades, and on Jan. 25, it escalated to violent protests.

“I’m glad my country is able to demonstrate a demanding change that was needed for over 30 years,” said Amr S., an OU alumni. “I’m proud of the young generation that took to the streets, stood their ground and let their voices be heard by not only the president, but by the entire world.”

The military dictatorship led by Hosni Mubarak for the last 30 years has oppressed the Egyptian people to the point that they are finally fighting back.

“There is torture, 20,000 political prisoners, arbitrary detention, killings,” said Laura Landolt, assistant professor of political science.

A large part of the reason that the Egyptian government has been allowed to operate in such a way is due “to the fact that the United States and all previous presidents, except Bush for one year, supported dictators in Egypt,” Landolt said.

The support stemmed from the cloak that Mubarak pulled over the country’s eyes, fooling the U.S. into believing that he’s the only thing standing between the U.S. and the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Landolt.

Landolt attributed the revolution to four things. First, the pro-democratic movement started in 2004, Kifaya, spurred into motion a series of protests that caught on to new media outlets and Egyptian blogs.

Second, Ahmed Said, a “middle class kid” who was uploading evidence of police corruption, was attacked and murdered in a public Internet café by Egyptian police.

Third, the Tunisian uprising successfully overthrew their militant government.

Fourth, the elections last fall resulted in no seats for the Muslim Brotherhood or opposition candidates, resulting in Mubarak “signaling not only (that he is) going to kill people in public but (he is) also going to stop pretending that (he is) even trying to democratize,” said Landolt.

The future of the Egyptian government seems uncertain, with a significant damper put on reorganization attempts by the dictatorship’s disallowing parties from even organizing.

Senior Justin Clarke, a political science major, said, “Other than the unrest in Egypt, I feel that this could be the stepping stone for other Arab nations to transition to democratic states like the possibility of Jordan.”

Landolt urges students to follow the situation in Egypt.

“Hopefully they will support democracy and hopefully they’ll write to their representatives and to the Obama administration and insist that we support democracy,” she said.

Students can attend a panel on this topic Thursday, Feb. 10 from noon to 1 p.m. in The Fireside Lounge.

Timeline of Revolution

Jan. 25: Egyptian protesters proclaim a “day of rage” and take to the streets.

Jan. 27-28: Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry, Internet and texting services are disrupted.

Feb. 1: Mubarak announces that he will not run for re-election.

Feb. 5: The United Nations estimates that 300 people have been killed since protests began.

Feb. 6: Opposition groups hold talks with the government and demand Mubarak’s removal

Feb. 8: Vice President Suleiman says there is a timetable for peaceful transfer of power.