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The Tahrir Revolution, Was It A Strife For Democracy!

By Srestha Banerjee

04 July, 2013

Tahrir square was once again thronged by protest and witnessed the celebration of millions. But this time it was for Mohamed Morsi, the democratically elected president who was brought into power a year back, overthrowing the Dictator Hosni Mubarak.

The stage was set for the celebration for the world, no matter how much one took interest in the political plays of Egypt. It was the like the collective satisfaction of conscience that the overthrow of Mubarak was offering; a complacent thought of fighting against power, and the hormonal rush for joining the bandwagon of an event that was to remain significant in the pages of history. A large section thus enjoyed the moments of democratic triumph in their televisions, giving little thought to what that budding democratic voices were really demanding!

That night reminded me of my interactions with some locals in Cairo and Luxor during my visit to Egypt in the winter of 2008. The people at the lower income strata, such as the taxi drivers, the small shop owners were more or less content with their dwelling. The discontent that blew the lid in off in 2011 could barely be perceived in their voices.

It was the concerns of the middle class that instigated the Tahrir revolution. In the tough contentious ground of the global economy, the middle class of egypt was increasingly finding it difficult to have a secure foothold. The average 5 per cent GDP growth was not enough to provide for the disproportionate increase in workforce. It was more the concern for the economy, and the hope for a betterment , that made Hosni Mubarak from a dictator to a villain overnight. Today with the country’s economy in no better shape, rather “crumbling” and with shortages of fuel and un-affordability of electricity, the anger has once again turned towards the Government. Beside s the facts of Morsi preaching the power of Muslim brotherhood, it is once again the economic distress that has pushed him off the edge.

As I was going through all news headlines today, one curious thing struck me, the overthrow of a dictator is being rejoiced with the same vigor of the oust of a democratically elected president! A large section of the citizens has once again taken the streets today to celebrate heralding that they have toppled the power. But what power has been toppled when the country is in the hands of the military in the infancy of its democracy! What exactly has been Egypt demanding in Tahrir Square! And all of these probably baffles the spectator today. What conscience can today's Tahrir Square satisfy! Maybe revolution afterall is nor an easy , neither a fashionable word.

Srestha Banerjee works at the Centre for Science and Environment New Delhi.





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