once lived in Egypt: the land of the pharaohs, the cradle of civilization, the most prosperous and most beautiful place in the world; a land where the Nile cuts through the desert like a cool breeze on a dry and hot day. The palms surrounding grew in the nutrient-rich black soil. The locals would have no worries about their growing crops because they knew their gods would always bless the waters so that they would flood the surrounding land, giving it rich nutrients and enriching it with new topsoil. Throughout the millennia, Egyptians have relied on the Nile’s regular and predictable cycles of plenty. They would rely on long-ruling Pharaohs who were living gods on Earth, respected and obeyed absolutely. Now, these last few days may have marked the end of the last pharaoh’s reign, and the beginning of a new era for Egypt.
Just a quick look at CNN or Al Jazeera News will give you an idea of what’s happening. The government’s response to the demonstrations is itself an admission of guilt
However, as interesting and potentially good the protests have been, the absence of any alternatives to Mubarak’s government has brought fear to the minds of many. Despite the horrible atrocities and economic failures committed by the regime, many Egyptians are wary of what the future brings for them if Mubarak falls. The question: Is the devil you know better than the one you don’t?
The crisis has also had Israel fearing the future as its most important ally, Mubarak, loses control. The country could be seized by the Muslim Brotherhood and become radically Islamic, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, soon posing a huge threat to Israeli security and instituting ridiculous laws from the Middle Ages.
Or perhaps the government could simply say that it is reforming itself, maybe hold sham elections, as it had been doing in the past with forged ballots. Hopefully, though, these fears will be unfounded, and the crisis of the past days will make way for a new era of democracy.
Whatever happens to Egypt, good or bad, the popular uprising of the last few days has shown future leaders that they will forever be accountable to the people for whatever moves they make. One demonstrator said: “I’ll tell you something; these six days will impact Egypt for the next 50 years. Any ruler will think a hundred times before making a decision because he will always remember what happened on Jan. 25, 2011.”
“We need a leader who is a scholar, someone who knows how to use a computer, someone who understands modern technology,” said Yasser Yassin, a 36-year-old graphic designer. “We have enough brains and qualifications to fix this country in a year.”
Twenty-six-year-old protester Khaled Nour: “It won’t change overnight. It will take some time, and during this time I will still lead a hard life,” he said. “But I’m very happy.”
Raymond Maxwell prays that the land where he was born can find the leadership it needs to once again become the cradle of civilization.