Once upon a time, on January 25, 2011, the Egyptian people carried out a major revolution against Hosni Mubarak’s corrupt and unjust regime. They demanded life, freedom, social justice and human dignity. Mubarak crumbled and stepped down, handing over authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on February 11th. The rebels were fooled and believed that they had overthrown Mubarak’s regime in 11 days; they celebrated in Egypt’s streets and squares and went home happy. The council stayed awake, though, and plotted its coup against the great popular revolution.
SCAF promised Mubarak that he would not be harmed and would live with dignity and honour, keeping everything that he had looted from the country’s wealth. They were partners in such theft. It also removed his son, Gamal Mubarak, so that he would not inherit his father’s position and remove authority from the military; this is what SCAF benefitted from the revolution.
We have to understand that the coup actually began on February 11, 2011 and not, as everyone believes, on July 3, 2013. The rebels were in a deep sleep, enjoying their sweet dreams about Egypt regaining its will and well-being and resuming its strategic position in the region; saying goodbye to its dependency and subordination; and becoming a leading nation. In this new Egypt, they dreamed that the Egyptian citizens lived in dignity and luxury in their own country after being humiliated at home and abroad; they could once again raise their heads high and say that they are Egyptians.
While the rebels were in their dreamland, SCAF issued its constitutional declaration on February 12, 2011 which caused divisions amongst the rebels after everyone had been united. The council was clever in doing this, creating various youth groups under a number of names in order to generate internal conflict. These groups were showered with money to give their loyalty to SCAF.
In addition, Mubarak’s business allies were allowed to play under the table and set up satellite television channels that claimed to be revolutionary channels to expose him and his entourage. They lured the rebels to appear on television and be interviewed by the journalists who were not allowed to enter Tahrir Square and whose faces were on signs with large crosses on them because the people called for their prosecution. The bright media lights began to attract the rebels and they continued their revolutions in the television studios instead of in the squares. This silenced the revolution and it died down slowly in the Egyptian streets, especially after SCAF fabricated a number of domestic crises that affected the livelihoods of ordinary citizens. The council also unleashed the army of thugs that it created to roam the country far and wide and start fires here and there. They did this so that the people would abandon their revolution and those who started it, after their dreams were gone with the wind.
We must also not forget the role played by Saudi Arabia and the UAE in financing all of this. Their main condition for this support was that Mubarak must not be put on trial for his crimes against the people of Egypt. However, popular pressure meant that the authorities were forced to take him to court for a mock trial three months after his ouster; he had time to get rid of all evidence against him and burn all incriminating papers and documents. SCAF promised its Saudi and Emirati sponsors that Mubarak would ultimately be found innocent; we have now witnessed that the council has fulfilled its promise to its masters, and Mubarak has been exonerated by the court.
The January 25th Revolution is now being criminalised after all its leading lights have been either imprisoned and subjected to the worst forms of torture, or killed as martyrs at the hands of the treacherous army and police. They were killed merely for calling for a free and dignified life, social justice and human dignity. There is, as yet, no happy ending to this story.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.