The People’s Revolt in Egypt: Tracing its roots and effects

Publication Date01 June 2011
AuthorPounami Basu
Date01 June 2011
DOI10.1177/0973598411110014
SubjectArticle
The People's Revolt in Egypt: Tracing its
roots and effects
Pounami Basu*
"Down down, Hosni Mubarak," slogans filled the streets of Cairo since
January 25 along with other cities in Egypt. The police fired teargas and
used water cannons while the protestors hurled bottles and rocks at them
(Telegraph, 26 January 2011). The start of the year saw revolts erupting in
the Arab world that witnessed en masse public mobilisation against
politically repressive and undemocratic authoritarian regimes. The events
in Tunisia which resulted in getting rid of their long ruling President Zine
Albidine Ben Ali had an immediate impact on the entire region with most
profound effects in Egypt. Millions of protestors from diverse socio-
economic and religious backgrounds rose in unison to demand the
overthrow of the regime of President Hosni Mubarak who has ruled Egypt
with an iron fist for thirty years since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in
1981. The Egypt uprising was an outburst of the anger, frustration and
defiance that the people harboured for long against a despotic ruler who
continued to rule the populace by decree with scant regard to wishes and
democratic aspirations of the people. There were a" series of
demonstrations, marches, acts of civil disobedience and labour strikes
across Egypt. Though intended to be a non-violent campaign of civil
resistance, it was not without violent clashes between regime supporters
and protestors. Analyst Nabil Abdel Fattah said "what is happening today
is a major warning to the system. It is both an extension of pent up
frustrations and continued protests. What is also new is that there are new
generations who are using new tools" (Telegraph, 26 January 2011).This
new generation with Internet in their demand for a dignified life with their
full rights seemed fearless.
Prominent Egyptians intellectuals agree that Egypt is in a deep
multidimensional crisis, confronting spiraling economic deterioration, a
decline in regional and international influence, US dominance over
national decision making, and continued regime monopoly of power and
wealth. According to Tarek El Bishry the regime that rules Egypt is not
only authoritarian, nor is the problem simply one of repression but the core
* M. Phil Student, Department of International Relations, Jadavpur University.

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