It is already the one-year anniversary of the ongoing Egyptian revolution. After Hosni Mubarak, one of the most hateful dictators of modern times, was forced to step down on Feb. 11, 2011, the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took control over the largest, and historically most influential, Arab country.
Headed by the 76-year-old Field Marshal Tantawi, SCAF continued Mubarak’s non-democratic, in some cases brutal, practices of cracking down on civil organizations, putting civilians into military trials, attacking peaceful protesters, self-admittedly spreading rumors and maintaining control over an already-notorious state TV.
"In spite of the scheduled presidential elections, to supposedly take place before June 30, 2012, few political groups in the country seem to trust SCAF anymore."Fully-cognizant of the power of Islamists, SCAF however had no choice but to guard the one-of-its-kind, free and democratic parliamentary elections in which the two Islamic parties, the Freedom and Justice Party and the Al-Nour Party, achieved a sweeping victory with about 72 percent of seats. In spite of the scheduled presidential elections, to supposedly take place before June 30, 2012, few political groups in the country seem to trust SCAF anymore.
Notwithstanding the frequent SCAF attempts to keep a supra-constitutional status and a non-negotiable military budget after the handover of power, both Islamists and secularists called for wide protests several times over the past few months. These protests forced SCAF to backtrack, although it only sent mixed and obscure messages in attempts to soothe the fears of its rivals. Practically, the country’s economy is facing a crisis and disappointment rates continue to rise.
With this disappointment in the background, Egyptians are in the streets again. Most seem to feel SCAF is no better than Mubarak. These feelings are justified, given the caricaturist trials of Mubarak and the handful of his corrupt previous assistants still in power. After a period of revolutionary ebb and flow, the protests seem to be heading to a scale that is no less, if not wider and definitely stronger, than last year’s.
A cursory analysis of the situation in Egypt over the last few months makes it easy to predict unprecedented, wide-scale protests. If anything, SCAF has succeeded only in creating its own enemies. More sectors in the Egyptian society have joined the revolutionary crowds, be these faith- or profession-based groups.
Having been hailed as an Internet revolution, Egypt’s continues to be typically Web-facilitated – even more so than when it started. With more than one fourth of the country’s population now using the Internet, with a growth rate of about 38.5 percent as of November 2011, Egyptian tech-savvy activists continue to be key drivers of the revolts and deploy social media platforms as organizational and aggregation tools in better ways than they did in 2011.
These activists are now more connected to a world audience, and their posts are reported faster than in organizational media. The next few days will witness important changes in Egypt; changes that will primarily be shaped by the position Islamists will decide to take (be it with or against SCAF).
Muhammad Abdul-Mageed can be reached at .