Politics, News

Five years later, here’s what Egypt’s revolution means for us

Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt for almost 30 years until his own people usurped him of his power by means of peaceful protest.

Egypt, the most populous country of the Arab world, erupted in mass protests on January 25, 2011 as a result of injustice and long-suppressed anger towards President Hosni Mubarak. 50,000 Egyptian people showed up in Tahrir Square on that day, armed with their powerful voices and picket posters.

They all had a common goal- to start a government reform. It was a grassroots movement that quickly escalated to new heights, inextricably fueled by Twitter and Facebook.

After 18 consecutive days of peaceful (yet powerful) protests, Hosni Mubarak resigned on February 11, 2011. 30 years of autocratic rule had finally been ended.

It was a monumental day for Egyptians and the world alike.

TOPSHOTS Egyptians set off fireworks in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as they celebrate the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsi, in Egypt's presidential elections on June 24, 2012. Tens of thousands packed into Tahrir Square in the largest celebration the protest hub has witnessed since Hosni Mubarak's ouster, to celebrate their new president-elect, Morsi. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKIKHALED DESOUKI/AFP/GettyImages
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Flash-forward 5 years: Egypt has barely made any progress.

The government has once again oppressed its people. The people’s voices have been silenced, choked. Current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi leads a country where protests are squandered and thousands are wrongfully imprisoned. There are purposeful disappearances and torture in prisons.

Human rights violations are the new norm, and the country has taken hundreds of steps backwards.

As an Egyptian-American myself, the anniversary of the revolution truly hits a vein. I remember when 2011 brought the first tweets and Facebook posts crying, “revolution!” I was in middle school, and it brought out a new kind of pride in me.

I am an individual with a foot in two very different worlds. Reconciling two cultures is something that I have had to do my entire life, and as such, forming an identity for myself has been difficult in recent years. But as I watched the revolution unfold before my eyes five years ago, I felt a surge of kinship. Those were my people. 

Once again, the world took to Twitter under the hashtag #Jan25 to weigh in on Egypt’s past, present, and future.

Some also mocked the current state of the government with sharp, biting criticism:

Others paid homage to Egypt’s citizens and the remains of revolutions past:

An oppressed people will not remain oppressed. As The Guardian best put it: the memory of the Egyptian revolution is the only weapon we have left.

May it never go to waste.