Friday, February 11, 2011

Mubarak Officially Walks Like an Egyptian Scorned Out of Office

After thirty years as the political head of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak officially resigned his post today, thus severing the longest presidential tenure in the history of the country.

But it was not without controversy. Why? The same people that had voted him in all these years finally decided that he had worn out his welcome.

And if you were in their shoes, you'd probably feel the same way, too.

More than half of Egypt's population lives on less than two dollars per day. Basic human rights, such as the right to free speech and various means of communication, were suppressed. Corruption was on the rise. Job growth was stunted. Mubarak himself promised reform, but he never followed through. (Hmmm, some of this stuff sounds familiar.) Overall, democracy was practically non-existent.

It was high time to make a stand.

This revolution, per se, got started when people used social media – notably Facebook and Twitter – as a means to protest Mubarak's decades-long presidency. They felt he was finally no good for the people he was elected to serve, and so took to the streets to make their complaints known.

These protests began on January 25, the same day as National Police Day, an Egyptian holiday to commemorate the lives of 50 police officers who died at the hands of the British Army in 1952. Three days later, January 28, thousands of people became furious when their internet and mobile communication services were shut down. By February 1, more than one million people joined to protest in public settings all across the country. That same day, Mubarak released a statement in which he would not run for reelection later this year. Over the next week and a half, bigger, rowdier crowds began to gather to demand an end to the president's regime. Some controversy broke out yesterday when Mubarak acknowledged that he was merely transferring his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman. But the people wanted nothing less than an outright resignation. They got what they righteously wanted, as Suleiman announced today that Mubarak would vacate his position as Egypt's president.

In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country. May God help everybody.

For the people of Egypt, February 11 will be a day to remember. Eighteen days of protesting finally got the people's will done, but it didn't come without a fight. Or several.

Over three hundred people are reported dead, including more than two-thirds from Egypt's capital of Cairo. Videos of people dying while protesting change have spawned on YouTube, no doubt another social media site fueling the anger of a spurned nation and inciting support from various countries across the world. Among others, President Barack Obama has publicly stated that the United States government will back the Egyptian people in their quest for democracy and freedom.

Freedom. That's what this whole revolution has been all about. Heck, that's what virtually every major revolution is all about. France, the United States of America, and Spain (among others) fought similar battles so they too could stand up to their leader(s) and have the courage to say "Enough!" Considering all they've been through, I sure hope Egypt gets what they deserve. A truly prosperous country can only exist if its citizens are granted every opportunity they can to better themselves and their community. Whether or not people choose to do good is entirely their prerogative. And as paradoxical as that may sound, that's the beauty of living in a free country. I feel blessed to have been born and raised in the United States of America, a country where I can voice my opinion here and through other forms of social media, such as Twitter. (Have I mentioned that I'm also on Twitter? No? Well, I am, and if you have an account and like what you read, you can follow me @RoMo37. End of self-promotion.) In a way, I'm glad I don't know what it's like to have my essential liberties stripped away and live in fear that anything I say or do could be the end of me via my government.

But I will say this much about how sweet freedom is to those who've never had it before.

I once had a Spanish teacher who was a Cuban native and immigrated to the United States in 1964 as a teenager with her family while Fidel Castro was the Prime Minister of Cuba. When she went to high school, she once overheard someone say that President Lyndon B. Johnson was "a jerk." She went home in shock and told her parents that this kid's parents were going straight to jail. Much to her surprise, her father told her that that was the definition of freedom: the opportunity to say, read, and write about anything on anybody's mind (within reason, of course). She has been proud to live in America ever since. Even so, she still has family back in her home country, and it devastated her that Castro's communistic regime left them all in a state of despair with no hopeful prospects about the future. It's something she mentioned that's made her lucky to leave when she did.

And for all those fed up Egyptians, it's something they only wished could've happen sooner to their now ex-president.

وترى ذلك جيدا في أن يكون حرا.

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