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Egypt's revolutionaries are not back to square one

A return to the borders of January 25 is not possible, even if the army reinstates Mubarak as president. The revolution, as was evident this Saturday, is besieging the army, just like the army is besieging it. Mobilizing half a million soldiers and security personnel, deploying army tanks, killing protesters with live ammunition, and the manufacturing of terrorism and explosions have not deterred Egyptian youth from taking to the streets and sacrificing their lives. These are the same youth who, as independent media mentioned, had boycotted the constitutional referendum which resulted in 98% approval and was drafted by the elderly.

Those who think than General al-Sisi will not make it to the presidency are mistaken. Al-Sisi is the de facto ruler of Egypt, irrespective of the constitution or the referendum. He will achieve a landslide victory in the coming elections, probably with 99% approval. But those who think that he will finish a single presidential term are even more mistaken.

The general who is experienced at maneuvering, deception and working in the shades will find himself in a face-to-face situation with the people who never left the streets since the coup. Day after day, the effect of his promises, for which he spent billions of gulf aid, will expire. It will evaporate and the average citizen will not find a trace for these billions. The Egyptian economy, as the putschists themselves acknowledge, is deteriorating and prices are out of control.

The citizen who thought that al-Sisi will improve the situation after Morsi now realizes and will further realize in the future that economic conditions will get worse, though with one key difference between the two leaders. Under Morsi, dignity and freedom were safeguarded. Today, we no longer enjoy dignity, freedom, nor rights.

Today, the revolution will not fall victim to the strategic deception that took place three years ago. Changing the head of the regime and leaving behind the deep state had empowered the military, who quit politics from the door but came back in from the window.

As a reminder, Khaled Said had been the spark of the January 25 revolution. Said was killed three times: firstly by the security apparatus, then by the judiciary, then by the media. The revolutionaries at the time had no other means of communication except the social networking sites, particularly the Facebook page "We are all Khaled Said".

None of the three killers has been punished till now. On the contrary, they are currently holding senior positions in the security apparatus, while the revolutionaries are dead, imprisoned, or on the run. The latest crackdown on the January 25 activists includes the prosecution of April 6 icons, the campaign against Wael Ghonim, and the broadcasting of their leaked phone calls.

What is new today is the emulation of Syrian repression by the militarization of the security apparatus. The Egyptian army remained seemingly neutral. Repression was the job of the Interior Ministry. After the coup, army snipers are no longer ashamed to shoot at protesters. We have witnessed that in the Presidential Guard massacre, Rabaa massacre, and most recently in the Alexandria University clashes.

The revolutionaries worked to protect the symbolic image of the army, even though they were well aware of its role in suppressing protesters during and after the revolution.

General al-Sisi, who received the January 25 revolutionaries and took pictures with them after the success of the revolution, was himself the head of Military Intelligence which oversaw virginity tests against female activists. It is the same army which carried out the Maspero massacre against Coptic Christians. In the Military Intelligence offices, Tamarod movement was established and nurtured until June 30.

All attempts to return the army to its original role away from politics, business, and judiciary were doomed to failure.

On the third anniversary of the revolution, the army looks up to the Syrian model of repression and the manufacturing of terrorism

Despite the fact that Muslim Brotherhood leaders lost their dearest sons and daughters (for instance, the Mohamed Badie lost his son, and Beltagy lost his daughter, along with tens of leaders who lost family members in the post-coup violence), they continue to adhere to peacefulness, upholding the motto "our peacefulness is stronger than their bullets".

The victory of the revolution will be attained by holding on to peaceful means of protests and by persistence in the streets. There should be no sacred dates or squares. The revolution determines its date and place. Tahrir square and January 25 are one phase of a long road to freedom.

Yasser Abu Hilalah is the bureau chief of Al Jazeera's office Amman, Jordan.

SOURCE: Arabı21, 26 January 2014

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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