I was not surprised by the mass demonstrations that swept Egypt on the fourth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, but the coup-led government and its media mouthpieces were. The media even called on the “honourable citizens”, the euphemism for the hired thugs, to take to the streets to protect public property; thus did the media incite civil conflict in the country. Why were “honourable citizens” called onto the streets; can’t the mighty army and police force with their deadly weapons protect public property on their own?
It is clear that the coup-led government is in trouble after the failure of its security plan. It did not expect the masses to take to the streets in such numbers and stage sit-ins in various squares in Egypt’s municipalities all at the same time. The government was short-sighted, its vision limited, so it believed that only a “fragment” of what is left of the Muslim Brotherhood – those supporters who have not been imprisoned ‑ would take to the streets; that only a few hundred, or perhaps a couple of thousand, would be lined up to be eliminated by the government’s hired guns, as has happened ever since the coup. Indeed, the “security forces” had their weapons pointed at the unarmed demonstrators from the very beginning of the protests; 25 civilians were shot dead.
The steadfastness of the young people who stood united in front of the killing machine shocked the government enough to make it lose its senses. The perseverant and rebellious youth have become an example of sacrifice for the sake of freedom and dignity. The Al-Matriyah District has become a model of heroism and redemption, after thousands of revolutionaries staged a sit-in, despite the barrage of bullets coming at them from every direction, as well as the tear gas and the fall of the martyrs and the wounded. In spite of all of this, the people refused to leave and continued their protest; they even surrounded Al-Matriyah police station, forcing the officers to evacuate the building and flee like mice from the back doors.
The unarmed protesters of Al-Matriyah struck fear into the hearts of the heavily armed police officers. This is what comes from having the divine right that will always defeat evil, even in the face of seemingly impossible odds. Neither killing, oppression, tyranny nor arrests will intimidate the masses.
Two days before the anniversary of the revolution the authorities killed Sundous, a 16-year-old girl. On the eve of the anniversary, they killed Shaima Al-Sabbagh, a member of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, just to send a message to everyone else. The government wanted to intimidate the people and scare them to prevent them from taking to the streets; to let them know that the government’s killing machine does not distinguish between Islamists or secularists. They assumed that Sundous was an Islamist because she wore the hijab, but her blood mixed with that of Shaima who didn’t; both will one day be asked for what crime they were killed. No crime at all, they will answer, apart from standing up for freedom and justice.
I say, once again, that I was not surprised by the demonstrations. The anger among the Egyptians due to the deteriorating economic situation, the lack of basic services and the absence of freedom at the hands of a neo-fascist security state which governs with an iron fist, has driven them to revolt against the regime. Four years ago, they wanted to overthrow the government, but they only succeeded in ousting the head of the regime; today they will continue their revolution and topple the entire regime. They are willing to sacrifice all that is precious to them in order to complete the 25 January Revolution and achieve all of its goals, including the right to live in freedom, with social justice and human dignity.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.