Hadiel Nawaz is a psychology junior who grew up in Alexandria and Cairo. She still stays in touch with her friends in Egypt.
I awoke Friday morning to the sound of my phone ringing, indicating my mother was calling. Lazily, I reached over to my bedside table, knowing she was waking me up so I would get out of bed, pack, and head over to see her in Houston. Casually answering and putting the phone to my ear, I mumbled a sleepy, “Hello.”
“He’s leaving!” She exclaimed, “Mubarak is leaving! He’s out!”
The words washed over me like tangible elation, the same joy that filled her excited voice. I spent a couple of seconds to register her statement before a grin overtook my face and I sighed a myriad of emotions. There was relief, a deep satisfaction at knowing that the unrelenting efforts of the Egyptian people had not been squashed once again, but had reached a dream upheld by Egyptians for decades. And there was also hope, hope that we would take this opportunity to start anew, and head in the right direction.
Mubarak has ruled Egypt for 30 years. He has made a mockery of any remote existence of a democratic system existing in Egypt robbing the people of their right to truly elect a leader of their choice. Those who have risen against the regime have been silenced, and in many cases, vanished. There are no jobs, people cannot buy food, and as education costs have risen, they can no longer even hope to improve their situations through self-application. What else did the government expect? Clearly, they have failed to identify, understand, or sympathize with the struggles of the people. They have had their opportunity to improve conditions and they have failed. In fact, they have not even tried. Egyptians were suffering deeply, and no matter how many times they voiced their pain, Mubarak remained deaf to their pleas. The people were robbed of a voice, and moreso, robbed of the ability to control their own lives or situations. With no jobs to help them improve their outcomes, they slowly began to lose the one thing every human should be able to cling to: hope. Or so I had thought. Because a hopeless people does not act with the courage and initiative that my people have displayed.
To me, the Egyptian Revolution was not unexpected or unusual. This has been coming. It has been in the making for years 30 years. It is the explosion of millions of festering frustrations and distraught emotion. Their hopelessness has morphed into a renewed sense of refusal to continue under the current conditions, and since their “leaders” failed to fight for them, they fought for themselves. I admire their courage, and in some cases, even their reckless abandon. While I worried for my family, my cousins, my friends, even for the museums, and our precious artifacts, I had a deep internal confidence that they would be safe. After all, this was not a revolution of people against people. This was a revolution of all against one: Mubarak and his corrupt regime.
The Egyptians have prevailed. I am extremely proud of their accomplishments, and I am proud to call myself Egyptian. The efforts of the protestors have given all of Egypt a renewed sense of dignity and power. They have given us a gift, and now, all must work hard to ensure it does not waste. The months to come will be extremely challenging and critical in establishing insight towards Egypt’s future. It is a challenge I am sure my fellow Egyptians will handle well. The world is waiting to see what will become of Egypt, and the nation is supported by millions around the globe. I know that my people will use this opportunity to form a stronger nation, and will lay the foundations towards freedom and better opportunities for Egyptians. Furthermore, I wish to see Mubarak’s replacement as significantly better, worthy of bearing the responsibility of leading such a passionate nation. I am confidant Egyptians will finally gain the rights they have earned in blood, sweat and tears.
Until then, Mabrook to Masr. Stay strong my people, you have fought hard, and your struggles have been rewarded. We worked together to end a corrupted chapter of our past, now let us all work together to form a successful and free future.
Read the rest of the essays in this series on perspectives on Egypt.