It has been five months now since the historic evening where Mubarak stepped down. The revolution sent seismic waves through the Arab world and touched off unrest in Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Oman and even Saudi Arabia. Yet for the many young Egyptians who fought through tear gas, government thugs, bullets and mass arrests, change is coming too slowly to their country. As old vestiges of Mubarak’s regime remain implanted within the governmental system, civil patience is running out.
For many dictators still entrenched in the Arab world, it would do them well to watch Egypt fail. The religious and economic center of the entire region, Saudi Arabia, has been accused of trying to lead counter revolutions around the entire Middle East. With a tight grip on their own populous, and their main ally, the United States, counting on them to keep stability at least in their own soil (if not the surrounding areas) there have been leaks of government plants, purposeful sparking of sectarian and inter-religious strife, spies, and bribery.
Still, this hasn’t quelled the revolutionary spirit which is still coursing through the streets of Cairo. More than 900 protesters were killed during the almost twenty days of civil unrest early this year. The people of Egypt are demanding those deaths be brought to some sort of justice. Yet, with the Mubarak regime paying disenfranchised citizens to take up arms against their countrymen, the involvement of the army and private and state security forces, finding blame will not be an easy road to go down. One that could not only spark off a fresh set of riots, but break down the bridges of recovery that are slowly being assembled within the country.
Over the weekend, Cairo’s infamous Tahrir Square was filled with thousands of protesters. They were blocking workers from entering government administrative buildings and demanding an end to untrustworthy elements inside the now-military led government and punishment for security forces who are accused of murdering protesters. The interim prime minister, Essam Sharaf, did take to Egyptian television on Saturday to announce he was implementing measures to dismiss all security forces accused of violence. However, according to the protesters, it is not up to him. He is merely a puppet being led by the military council and if the council hasn’t announced a change, then it’s nothing but empty words to sate the public.
Many of the new political parties that have sprouted up in the absence of Mubarak have already gone so far as to demand the resignation of the military leaders. They have said they are corrupt and do not have the best interests of the Egyptians at heart. In addition, with many of the nation’s newspapers now writing without the censoring threats from the government, numerous accounts have been chronicling ways in which the military council is slowly unraveling the efforts of the revolution. This is going against the picture the military has been attempting to portray, which would be one of protecting the people. During the hottest struggles in Tahrir Square earlier this year, the military garnered a fair amount of credit for refusing to fire on its own people, despite reports that Mubarak wanted the Square to be obliterated.
Yet it was only a few days ago that sources inside the council announced it was considering pushing back civilian elections for up to three months, and possibly longer. Although no formal decision has been made, and no doubt considering the recent protests any official announcements would need to tread extremely lightly, the rumblings of push backs are causing even more animosity than before. The elections, which will likely take place in September, are being delayed for the official reason of “allowing parties more time to organize.” But with the populace more than ready to move beyond the tight controls of Mubarak and the stony silence of the military council, this is a situation which has the potential to reach a tipping point if not addressed soon.