The Impact of Egypt

February 24, 2011
By JennaEmbree SILVER, Oak Lawn, Illinois
JennaEmbree SILVER, Oak Lawn, Illinois
9 articles 0 photos 0 comments

According to Random House Dictionary the word oppression is defined as “the unlawful, wrongful, or corrupt exercise of authority by a public official”. The current president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, is considered an oppressor to his own people. Protests due to Mubarak’s rule were silenced for so long but are finally eroding from the surface. The revolts all around North Africa are meant to defy Mubarak’s regime, influence the world, and improve the living conditions for the people who were demoralized for so long.

In places like Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria things like corrupt law enforcement and offensive behavior is not uncommon. The Eighth amendment of the United States Constitution protects the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. If citizens of the US commit a crime they would not have to worry about being punished unjustly, states of North Africa on the other hand, do. The government of Egypt has what is called the “Emergency Law”. This gives the police the power to arrest people without any charges, detain prisoners, and limit freedom of expression and assembly. Several people have had their human rights taken away, Ayman Nour being one of them. Ayman Nour is a former presidential canditate who was thrown in jail for political charges. Although, time in jail shouldn’t be a good time, he suffered more than he should have. Assaulted by prison guards, Nour was left with multiple contusions and an irregular heartbeat. Police brutality is also an issue that the people of Tunisia and Egypt face. Khaled Said was one the of many people said to be beaten and killed by a policeman. Another man was murdered during questioning about a bombing while in police custody. “The Egyptian police have a long and notorious track record of torture and cruelty to average citizens” (“Egypt News”). Mohamed Bouazizi is the person who changed it all. Bouazizi worked as a fruit vendor on the streets of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. After being told to stop selling his fruit by an inspector, Bouazizi was beaten by two of the inspectors co-workers. On his way to the municipal building he demanded what was his property back, and was publicly beaten for a third time. Finished with unfair treatment, humiliation, and embarrassment he went to the governor’s gate, drenched himself in paint-thinner, and set himself on fire. In reaction, his mother said “The government drove him to do what he did; they never gave him a chance. We are poor and they thought we had no power” (Sengupta). As a result the president of Tunisia, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country. Bouazizi was lost but had started what was to be one of the greatest revolutions of all time.

Bouazizi initiated protests that had turned into physical, emotional, and political dynamite. His actions could be compared to the beginning of a firework show and how the sound starts off as a sharp quiet whistle, but while ascending into the air it turns into big booms that can be heard for miles. Before Bouazizi there were only things like the April 6 Youth Movement. This organization was a group of Egyptians who were fighting for the same rights Bouazizi was. The protests assembled were created on the famous social-networking site known as Facebook. In 2008 to 2010 strikes and demonstrations were created and supported by 100,000 users nationwide. They were against things like military enforcement, inflation, and unemployment. But because of severe oppression, the groups leaders and members were harrassed and put down because of their beliefs against the governments rule. Constantly, they were shut down because of police interference and commonly lost their right to protest. “Members of the movement have used various Facebook features – including profile pictures and status update boxes – to protest repressive police measures and express solidarity with fellow activists who have been arrested or harrassed” (“The April 6”). The president, Hosni Mubarak, even tried to shut down the internet and all contact with cell-phones. Still, they ran campains and petitions to spread awareness on the need for change in Egypt. One man turned little protests into greater protests. From then on, thousands gathered to end the rule of Mubarak in Tahrir Square. It went on for weeks and started to get increasingly violent. “More than 150 people are estimated to have died in Egypt since the turmoil began, according to human rights groups” (“Egypt News”). The violence is somehow a huge contributing factor to show the need for transition to peace.

“Egyptians often speak of dignity, which many had said has been wounded by Mr. Murabak’s monopoly of power” (“Egypt News”). Since the beginning of Mubarak’s rule the people of Egypt have suffered poor living conditions, loss of economic stability, and a progressively high unemployment rate. Not only do these things set them back, but additional
crisises have created more tension. When a ferry sank in the Red Sea it took 1,000 people with it. Terrorist attacks and labor strikes resulted in loss for every work force. His leadership has only lead to disorder and corruption. Intoxicated with power for three decades, the people who fought against him were either beaten or sexually molested by his army. In a normal society there is genuine safety provided for its people and protection of health and services. Egypt had nothing close to that and so they want his regime to fall. Thousands of blows to their morale and they still continue to fight back until they ge what they want. “Protests spread, one oppressed nation inspiring another” (Steinberg). Other places such as Algeria have been influenced by Egyptians courage and used it as leverage to go against their own governments faults. Suffering from similar problems, Algeria has confronted its government by uprisings and rioting concerning unemployment and food pricing. China on the other hand has blocked the word “Egypt” from its internet search engines because of the impact made by the protests. In the United States President Barack Obama spoke on how a peaceful transition needed to be made but did not specifically state if it was to happen by Mubarak’s desired resignation. He did however urge him not to run in another election which effectively would make Obama lose American support as an ally to a close Arab country. After countless refusals to step down, Mubarak suprisingly released his 30-year reign to Egyptian forces. In result, the Emergency Law was lifted and Egypt was altered into a free place. “Men, women and children – many with tears in their eyes – flooded Cairo’s streets as the atmosphere turned from one of determination to pure ecstacy” (Amanpour). The presidents term had finally crumbled and people were celebrating all over to begin their new unregulated lives.

Resistance and suffering for many years, a great deal of strength and hope have been restored in the lives of the once oppressed. Revolts in the states of North Africa have ended the reign of a power-hungry president, compelled others to fight back, and execute a life of poverty. The struggles involved in this event have proved determination and true faith. It goes to show, even the most humble people can change the world.

Works Cited
Amanpour, Christiane. "Obama Hails Hosni Mubarak's Resignation: Egypt Will Never Be the Same." ABC News. Web. 11 Feb. 2011. <>.
"The April 6 Youth Movement - Egypt Elections." Egypt Elections. Web. 16 Feb. 2011. <>.
"Egypt News - The Protests." The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Web. 6 Feb. 2011. <>.
Sengupta, Kim. "Tunisia: 'I Have Lost My Son, but I Am Proud of What He Did' -." The Independent. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. <>.
Steinberg, Neil. "A People’s Uprising Against the Empire." The Chicago Suntimes. Web. 9 Feb. 2011. <>.

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