The great Egyptian Revolution of 2011 is probably one of those history-altering events that will be studied for centuries. The fall of President Hosni Mubarak succumbing to the immense civil pressure after 30 years of reign draws significance from various factors - as a proof of social power of the working class to the domino effect or the consequences of the revolution.
The roots of the revolution
The Egyptians took inspiration from the Tunisian counter-parts in launching the campaign to overthrow the government. In December 2010, an unrest was sparked off in Tunisia, when Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself in the central town of Sidi Bouzid protesting confiscation of his vegetable cart by police. Demonstrations in support of Bouazizi began. Anger intensified when Bouazizi died of burns and his funeral added to the momentum. The larger reasons behind the protests were unemployment and repression. Close to a month of protests and clashes, Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Al on Jan. 14 fled to Saudi Arabia after his empty promises of reforms and elections failed to calm the people. Tunisia saw a new dawn.
The 18-day toil
Barely ten days after the Tunisian revolution, thousands of Egyptians gathered demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. It began as the 'Day of Wrath' on January 25, when Egyptians organised protests through internet and social media platforms and turned up in thousands. As the demonstrations continued, Mohamed ElBaradei, reform campaigner and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, arrived in Cairo on Jan. 27.
Clashes between police and civilians worsens with deaths and injuries on the rise. Mubarak ordered troops and to quell demonstrations. However, people cheered the move as the military is considered neutral, contrary to the police force, which is used kill dissent. The army, with respects towards freedom of expression, decided against using any force.
In the meanwhile, Mubarak resorted to all possible political tactics to convince the people against the dissidence. On Jan, 29, he sacked his cabinet but refused to step down and named intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as vice-president.
On Jan. 31, a new government is sworn in. On Feb. 1, Mubarak said he would surrender power when his term ends in September.
The protests continue to grow in strength - thousands turned to millions. Even though the troops maintained the stance, the army called for protesters to leave the streets. However, violence broke out between pro- and anti-Mubarak groups in Tahrir Square on Feb. 2.
Death toll continued to rise. Thousands gathered in Tahrir Square to mount further pressure on Mubarak marking Feb. 4 as the 'Day of Departure'.
After Gamal Mubarak, son of the president, resigned from the leadership of Egypt's ruling party, the Opposition stepped in. Groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, held talks to insist that the core demand for the removal of
Mubarak was not met. On the same day, thousands gathered in Tahrir Square joining noon prayers to honor martyrs killed in the bloodshed.
The following day on Feb 7 Mubarak was reported to have set up two committees to draw up changes to the constitution. Even though the banks re-opened, the stock market remains closed (slated to reopen on Feb 13).
Feb 8 saw the biggest protests ever, prompting Vice President Suleiman to issue an assurance on the peaceful transfer of power and promise of no reprisals against the protesters.
However, the violence continued. Despite the mounting death toll, on the 17th day of protests, Mubarak came out to say Egypt was heading day after day to a peaceful transfer of power. In the first sign of buckling down, he handed powers to his vice-president. However, he refused to quit office.
Mubarak finally stepped down on Feb. 11, handing over the power to the army. In an announcement on national television, Suleiman informed that the a military council will run the affairs of the country.
Egyptian dissidents celebrate across the nations while sending shock waves across the Arab World. The revolt was a resounding warning to autocrats of the world.
Significance of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution
The whole world has been closely watching the Egyptian upheaval due to the immense significance it holds in terms of implications and possible effects:
Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist Influence
One worry that is likely to bother the whole world on the downfall of the Mubarak is that the power vacuum created by the removal of the President provides space for Opposition groups to grow. One of the prominent groups is th? Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's powerful Islamist opposition group. The chaos in the country could lead to a long list of possibilities. However, it should be noted that the protests were nοt organized b? th? Muslim Brotherhood.
The Egyptian revolution will trigger a large number of after-effects. As already seen, while the Tunisian revolution inspired the Egyptian upheaval, the Egypt revolution, in turn, led to upheaval in Jordon and Yemen.
Besides this, the chaos in Egypt is likely to affect th? Israel-Palestine peace process, to which Egypt was the arbitrator.
Egypt ?? a major power broker ?n the Middle East and as an effect of instability in the country the whole world is likely to be affected.
Alliance with U.S.
S?n?? th? 1970s, Egypt has been a key ally fοr th? U.S. It is also th? second highest recipient οf U.S. foreign aid (?ft?r Israel). Now, America finds itself in a tough position. While Joe Biden refused tο call Mubarak a dictator, Obama emphasized Egypt's role ?? ?n ally.
The challenge lies ahead
Although the Arab world's most populous nation has brought down the dictatorship, the challenge of cleansing the complete system lies ahead. As much as the Egyptians deserve to celebrate their victory of overthrowing the 30-year-old regime, when the jubilation dies down efforts towards rebuilding of the nation has to begin.
Although Mubarak has been ousted, the Egyptians still have to deal with the corrupt and oppressive empire he has built.
The people, most importantly the military, have a tough task ahead - starting from the lifting of the emergency laws to the complete cleansing of the system.