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Egypt: A Revolution with yet no direction.

Chris Onyishi
 Published February 15th, 2011

Revolution as defined in is “an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed”.

Revolution, by one other account on the web, is defined as “a drastic and far-reaching change in the ways of thinking and behaving”.  It could come in the form of industrial, cultural, social or political movement.  Yet, in another account – also from web definition, it was coined from the Latin word revolutio – a turn around – to mean a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time…”.

A half backed revolution, from the forgoing, is worse than none.  Even though most of the protesters at the Tahir square in Egypt have one concept in common and that is that the ship of the Egyptian state  - as piloted by ousted captain Mubarak - is not headed in the right direction, none of them have an alternative direction.  Or at least, no one amongst them was bold enough to handle the rudder and start the redirection that will take not less than 36 months to finally dismantle the vertices of dictator they are combating.

The circular nature of the modern Egyptian state did not give the touted “more organized Islamic Brotherhood” the opportunity to key into the window provided by the protest to try and claim leadership of the country.  And this is also informed by the knowledge or belief that the world Watchdog will not accept their ascendancy to the leadership of Egypt after Mubarak.

Even Mohamed ElBaradei who is one of the key opposition figures is only talking from CNN and is no where close home in Egypt to try to galvanize the various agitating groups into one formidable force that will sustain the upheaval long enough to finally demolish the dictatorial psyche from the populace.

The implication is that the very people whose actions and inactions made the revolution necessary in the first place are still the very people on whose hands and shoulders, squarely, rests the mantle of leadership.  This is already the situation because the army, which is ex President Mubarak’s constituency, has taken over - without any opposition group in collaboration - and within a few hours has abrogated whatever was a constitution in Egypt and has dissolved the Egyptian parliament.  They are free to promulgate edicts as they choose.  And who says it is a coincidence that they have spread out their stay over six months which, somehow, has dove-tailed into the September Mubarak has insisted that he would stay in office.

And following the ouster of President Mubarak is the demand by the police and bank workers for an increased wages.  This, in the least, is just a window offered the army to continue with a little modified version of Mubarak’s regime.  When the army accedes to this demand, the rank of already uncoordinated protesters will be further widened and that will spell doom for the struggle.

If you liken what is going on now in Egypt with an ailment that is half way treated, you will see a likelihood of a cancerous growth which will become more malignant and unyielding to medication.

This brings one to the point of comparing what is happening now in Egypt with what happened in Nigeria a few years ago when Gen. Babangida decided to step aside - due to pressure - while leaving part of the apogee (Gen. Abacha of blessed memory) of his dictatorial establishment as the chief of Army Staff.  It did not take more than six months before Gen. Abacha stifled the life out of the Ernest Shonekan led contraption called interim government.  When Gen. Abacha died, another contraption husbanded   by Gen. Abdusalami cooked up yet another gimmick and handed over power to Gen. Obansanjo who finally erected the bastion upon which the upheaval - that would have heralded a true revolution in the greatest black nation of the world – was quashed.  

Nigeria’s situation has become more precarious up till this time.  Corruption has taken official garment in a situation where the national assembly goes home with a pay packet that is eye-bulging and more than 80 percent of Nigerians are impoverished.

A thorough revolution, as we see from history and from definitions of it, comes not just to make a monarch or a dictator flee his country or abdicate his reign, but with strong and sustained radical social or political quake that demolished the structures that had sustained the monarch or the dictator.  The dictator should not be given the opportunity to flee his country but should be brought back to answer for every one penny fraudulently acquired and numerous human rights abuses during his reign.

We now run an inverted democracy in Nigeria where the (s)elected becomes richer and richer and the electorate becomes poorer and poorer and any attempt to address this anomaly falls on deaf ears.   The assembly men and women are busy sharing money amongst themselves and they find it inexpedient to pass a “freedom of information” bill.  This is all because a revolution was botched half way.  Egyptians must not allow this to happen in their land as they may - inadvertently -just be ushering in another half a century of worse situations than Mubarak’s three decades of dictatorship.  There will still be a period of resistance from the establishment people who have benefited from the three decade old oppressive government.  This group will use all manner of divide and rule to want to thwart the reforms.

It is on this note that I am not comfortable when people insinuate that what is happening in Egypt now is a revolution.  I call it mere protest.  If it must be a revolution, Egyptians must insist that the army should go back to barracks while from among the protester should a group of assembly be raised to oversee a general election that will usher in a democratic government that will not have the coloration and smell of Mubarak’s dictatorial establishment. 

A segment of the population should not be calling for increased wages at this period.  This is far from what a thorough revolution should be. There must be a structural and psychological change in the way thins are done.  It will take some little time and sacrifices have to be made.  The people who make this revolution a reality may not, necessarily, be the people who will enjoy the full benefits of it.  But it seems that some segments of the Egyptian society are in a haste to begin to enjoy the benefit of a revolution that has no direction as of now.

Maybe when Egypt achieves a thorough revolution, then other African nations may follow suite.  Who knows?

Chris Onyishi

Nsukka, Enugu State

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