Inquilab et al
Posted by Agnivo Niyogi
Being on twitter and not taking note of the political turmoil that has taken form in Egypt is almost near impossible. With real time news of civilian protests breaking on the timeline even the most passive politician would be inclined to read more and know more. Not that i was completely ignorant of the state of Egypt but the recent mass uprising renewed my interest to read more on the history of Egypt and try to understand the underlying sense of revolution in that nation.
Egypt – reminds me of “Asterix and Cleopatra” in the first mention, the Mummy series in the next and finally Amitav Ghosh’s novels set in the country. One of the earliest civilizations of the world after Mesopotamia and Indus, Egypt was also a colony of the British until the fifth decade of the last century. Ever since Independence, it has tried to make peace with democracy, however failing in the attempt.
Autocracy and unilateralism has ruled the nation ever since the inception of an independent Egypt. Finding an ally in the United States of America, Egypt took baby steps towards modernity. The guise of democracy lays bare. For thirty long years Hosni Mubarak has reigned on his subjects. Governance took a back seat while corridors of power basked in greed.
Even Nature has a carrying capacity beyond which environmental resistance sets in. Parts of Nature that we are, resistance is in the human blood. Corruption, servitude and bad governance in the form of “democracy” invited people’s wrath. No matter how powerful you are, the might of the Awaam is supreme. January 25 2011 witnessed how people stood up to say “Enough is Enough”. Their conviction made Mubarak nervous, sent shudders down the spines of the residents of the White House. Emboldened by the spirit of Tunisia, people of Egypt hit the streets and demanded the resignation of Mubarak.
Those of you who have watched the second film of the Goopi Bagha trilogy remember the last scene of the film when thousands gather to pull down the statue Hirak Raja had made of himself. Chants of “Dori dhore Maro Taan, Raja hobe Khan Khan (pull on the string, bring down the King)” reverberated the air. “Down down Mubarak” sounds so similar.
The frightened President chose to shut off Egypt from rest of the world by unplugging the Internet. Twitter as a tool for social revolution came out in full colours with minute by minute update of the latest detail of the uprising. As expected the official mouthpieces of USA and UK (read CNN and BBC) tried to play down the event as minor protests initially. But they had to fall in line and carry reports of “Egypt in crisis” as they found a competitor in their Middle East counterpart “Al Jazeera”. Live streaming the visuals of protestors staging a fight against the establishment, they have spread the ripples of revolution all over the Arab world. They might have their own interests in doing so (read Israel) but indeed they have helped the cause.
“Nahi Nahi bhoy, Hobe Hobe Joy” said the poet. Sankacher Biwhalata nijere karo joy, mukto karo bhoy (win the fear, wipe the tear, victory is near). Unconfirmed news say Army has joined ranks with civilians, Mubarak;s appointment of a Vice President is an indication he is on shaky grounds and might soon retreat. Bigger questions still loom large. Will Mubarak’s fall ensure transition to democracy? Will the next regime usher in true democracy (not the one planted by America according to convenience)? Is Egypt headed for Military rule (with Pakistan’s example infront of us, i wish not)? Can only economic reforms be the solution? Will Mubarak’s fall pave way for islamic radicalisation? History will tell. For now we should extend our hand of support to the people engaged in the war for the right to dignity to life. From Cairo to Calcutta, Kashmir to Tunisia, Lalgarh to Lebanon, let the spirit of revolution not die down.
Three cheers to the power of the people.