By Islam Abdel-Rahman, International Studies Postgraduate, University of Warwick.
Between entering Tahrir square under fire and darkness in 2011, and leaving Rabaa square under fire and smoke in 2013, my life has changed a lot. Actually it is not just my life: the lives of many Egyptians and maybe the entire region has turned upside down. The changes Egypt witnessed, and this can be applied to some extent to the whole region, in the past 30 months is more different than what it has seen in the past three decades. When I use the word “Change“, I really mean it, and as a destiny, I was a part of this change.
Being an Egyptian, I first started as a protester like the millions who took to streets at that time, but as a physician, I managed to volunteer in Tahrir square field hospital. Here, I also established a media centre, which was a window to the world about the noble sacrifices Egyptians made to snatch their freedom. After ousting Mubarak, everybody thought what Egypt could look like after six decades of military rule. I joined the foreign affairs committee of the Freedom and Justice Party, which managed to become the largest party in Egypt in terms of member size or seats in the parliament. That parliament was dissolved after six months; yet hopes of democracy continued. I was involved in the presidential campaign of the party candidate who later became the first elected president in the entire Egyptian history, Mohammed Morsi.
As a member of foreign affairs committee, I had large dreams about how Egypt could restore its vital rule in the region, and in the world, like it played before – but this time as a constitutional democracy. Although we worked hard on this, it seems that what we thought had gone forever was just dormant.
It has just been one year and a military coup took place – not just removing the elected president, but suspending constitution, dissolving upper house of parliament and reinstating the police state again.
Everything seemed to be returned to square one. I returned to be a protester in streets calling for democracy and freedom along with millions of people who refused to surrender to military rule again. I also volunteered in the field hospital of Rabaa square, and witnessed the worst massacre in modern Egyptian history. However, even with this brutality, Egyptians never became afraid and insisted on their legal demands of freedom and dignity.
Some may wonder if the Arab Spring was for the good or bad of the people. I say it is so early to verdict this as we just see the beginning of it. However if you ask me about my own opinion, I would say that from what I saw in the eyes of the young people, the students and even the children, what they are seeking and sacrificing for, they will undoubtedly get… Their freedom.