Open letter to the people of Egypt

Note: This article was originally published on November 26th, 2012 on the blog The Lighthouse.

The people of Egypt pushed their former president, Hosni Mubarak, to resign in 2011, motivating the countries that would become part of the Arab Spring to rebel against their leaders. Egyptians hoped for a better tomorrow, but many are disappointed by the current situation and believe the revolution was in vain.  They have voiced their opinion in movements such as “Egypt isn’t a ranch” in October and by shouting slogans such as “Morsi sold the revolution to become president”. Egyptians should not give up: revolutions do not solve a country’s problems overnight.

The goals of a revolution are not reached normally after one trial. The French Revolution in 1789, whose aim was to get rid of the monarchy and implement “equality, liberty and fraternity”, did not meet its objective initially. Although the French were successful in overthrowing King Louis XVI, the revolution was followed by a constitutional monarchy that lasted a year and the monarchy was later restored after the first French Empire. Even during the French Third Republic, an era in which the monarchy was long gone, Emile Zola showed in his book Germinal the inequalities in French society and how the rich exploited the poor. He even portrayed the bourgeois as the new monarchy. The aims of the French revolution were achieved over an extended period of time, although some might even argue that they have never been fully achieved. Still, France has come a long way since the time of the monarchy. The French strived for a better tomorrow and even though they had some failures, they did not give up. Egyptians must do the same so that their aspirations can be reached.

Demoralized Egyptians tend to believe that one person alone cannot change the world. They assume one should not attempt to change things in Egypt because the only possible outcome is failure. They are only partially right: no revolution was ever accomplished by one person alone. George Washington is often thought of as the symbol of the American Revolution, but the Founding Fathers and help from the French tend to be overlooked. They all worked together and to play their respective parts in the American Revolution. One of the key elements of the success of that revolution was the cooperation between powerful and influential individuals. That is not to say that people who were not of the stature of revolutionaries like Benjamin Franklin or George Washington did not have a part to play in a revolution: all people played a part, but those with power and assets needed to lead the charge, so to speak.

If Egyptians want their economy to recover, a functional government and to restore their country’s past glory, they must be willing to see the revolution through, gather all the resources they can and not despair. Over the past 100 years, Egyptians have shown great interest in the United-States, France and England. If there is one thing they must learn from these Western countries, it is how to lead a successful revolution.

 

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