25 January: Shall We Celebrate?

Walking Cairo streets, contemplating places that have witnessed 18 days of courage, cooperation and sacrifice, I started thinking “shall we celebrate?” Shall 25 January be an anniversary or a memorial – a memorial of the revolution’s spirit? Have we lost the genuine spirit of the revolution, or is it still there awaiting an invigorating stimulus? Were the revolution days as ideal as we claim or did we just look at them as though?

Realistically, there has never been Heaven on Earth. During the revolution there were benign volunteers directing traffic, cleaning the streets and guarding neighbourhoods. However, at the same time, there were thieves, thugs and criminals. The former image proved dominant by the success of the revolution, which does not mean that the latter (unfortunate) image has vanished. The difference is that we used to blame the corrupted government before the ousting of Mubarak and now we tend to blame his allies, but it is always irritating to blame oneself. If corruption had lasted for decades and grown in strength, it is not only the government to blame; an acceptance of malfeasance is a contribution to it. It is not just about the rise of a new generation that is more pure and truthful which enabled Egyptians to rebel; simply this generation of youth who sparked the revolution have inherited the dream of a better Egypt from their parents. It is true that communication technology has helped in starting out massive protests, but demonstrations have prevailed even at times of internet and mobile connection blockage. What was the leading influence behind the Egyptian Revolution then?

Perhaps it is a realisation of our admirable qualities and our power to cause a change that has bound Egyptians in perfect unity. Perhaps it is the nobility of the goal and sincerity of the feelings that held us together. Perhaps it is the recognition of our honourable history and rejection of our unpleasant present that has pushed us all. Or perhaps it is a combination of all these. If this is true, then celebrating the Egyptian Revolution should act as a renewal of the indisputable spirit which overshadowed Tahrir Square a year ago– a reminder of past achievements and a call for future ones which are, by no means, less acknowledgeable.

Post by: Mai Mahmoud

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