The worst mistake committed by the pre-revolution regime was filling the political vacuum with an ever tightening security grip. Hosni Mubarak’s regime gave the security apparatus the responsibility of solving the political problems that arose in the moment. Mubarak chose the route of security instead of listening to political and opposition powers as well as civil organisations that demanded the formation of political parties, more freedoms for their activities, and a widening of the political horizon. They also wanted him to feel the pulse of the people, to understand their needs.
But problems persisted and demands fell on deaf ears as a result of the marriage between corruption and capitalism, and even more so in light of the plans to groom the former president’s son, Gamal Mubarak, for power.
Before the 2011 revolution, politics were held behind the walls, while human rights violations continued despite the human rights declarations to which Egypt is a signatory.
The revolution erupted on 25 January, the nation’s Police Day. A series of protests quickly snowballed into a popular revolution against the ruling regime. The main figures of the regime fell, and they were tried – despite the fact that they were declared innocent.
A new era began. And because the civil and revolutionary powers were not organised and could not fill the political vacuum, the Muslim Brotherhood took over, supported by their financial and organisational mechanisms and the backing of the international community.
A year in power exposed the Muslim Brotherhood for who they are. Their mistakes and flaws became obvious to all. Voices of dissent grew louder, culminating in the eruption of the 30 June Revolution 2013 in which the Armed Forces and police joined hands with the people. It was then that the people realised the threats posed by the Muslim Brotherhood due to their sectarian mindset.
Since then, the people and the security apparatus made amends, and with the formation of the post-30 June regime, the security forces gained critical importance due to the war against terrorism, which had risen significantly after the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political entourage.
Egyptians accepted this reconciliation, which occurred in a spontaneous manner, hoping that the security apparatus had learned its lesson: that it was no longer the security apparatus of the regime but rather that of the people.
But what happened next went in the opposite directions of people’s expectations. The protest law came into force, allowing for the arrest of activists and revolutionary figures. Activists were killed on the street, like Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh, in police stations, like lawyer Karim Hamdi, and even at sports events, like those killed at the Air Defence Stadium, a case which is still being investigated.
The continuing wave of terrorism led the security apparatus to tighten its grip once more. Protesting has become a crime on the pretext that no voice should be louder than the voice of fighting terrorism.
This is a dangerous path that we’re treading. It is a path that threatens the goals of the 30 June Revolution to establish a democratic, civil state.
Abdel-Alim Mohamed is a counselor at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.