On the Egyptian Revolution and its Demands

I have been growing increasingly weary with those who put forth the following questions: What will it take for you guys to quite down? Haven't all your demands been met?

Those who pose questions such a these have little understanding of the nature of the revolution. I ask a counter question: At what point in time was the revolution reduced to a fixed and well specified set of demands? I don't recall a distinct point in time when we pinned down our demands and said: This is all we need, do that and we will live in eternal bliss and gratitude!

I was quite disappointed to find director Mohamed Diab stating, in a recent op-ed article,  that all the demands that the protesters have put forth have been met and they not longer have much cause to complain or protest. He made reference to the gigantic banner that was put on display in Tahrir on the 4th of February with a declaration of non-negotiable demands.
Those demands were for:
  1. The president to steps down 
  2. The parliament to be dissolved
  3. An end to the state of emergency 
  4. Forming of a new unity government  
  5. Electing a  parliament which will reform the constitution lead to a new presidential election 
  6. Putting on trial those responsible for recent violence (immediately
  7. Putting on trial those who have robbed the wealth and assets of the country. 
Diab memory seems to be a bit fuzzy, he only recalls (1, 3, 4, 7) and by saying that they have all been met, he forgets that state of emergency is still on. In recent article by Maria Gloria she says:

With parliamentary elections looming, the Emergency Law is not just in force, but amplified by the curfew and protest ban. Mubarak's imprisonment has taken precedence over demands for basic human rights, which continue to be abused.
But even beyond that when it all started on the 25th of January the set of demands were quite modest and they have kept on evolving. Even those banner demands were later better articulated and refined.

Reducing the revolution to check list is plain silly if one was being generous, and I suspect in most cases it is used as tool of pressure and manipulation. The supreme council of the armed forces (SCAF) seem to be often repeating the mantra: just trust us, and we will fulfill all your demands. Never has the SCAF articulated to us what they believe those demands to be.

The SCAF have been warned early on that if the do not act fast that they should expect an ever rising ceiling of demands. They did not head that advice and demands have gotten to a point where protesters called for the ouster of Tantawi. I suspect that they anticipated that the ceiling will keep rising anyways and thought to slow down its accent. This strategy backfired pretty badly and we could see the SCAF now doing a great deal of backpedaling to avert a disastrous naked confrontation with the revolution.

The revolution was never about a laundry list of demands, it was always about the birth of new spirit and creating a new future for Egypt. We have seen glimpses of that future during the most testing times in Tahrir, and we are determined to create a society were that spirit can grow and be nurtured. Anything that stands in the way of that goal, we will DEMAND and FIGHT for its removal from our path. Nothing will comfort us unless we TRUST that we are on clear trajectory towards that goal. 

Labels: , , ,