Revolutionary zeal in Egypt

13 Mar

Can it help to make change easy and fast?

One month after President Mubarak stepped down, Tahrir Square continues to be a venue for passionate demonstrations

One thing is immediately clear in Egypt: People are extremely enthusiastic about their 25 January revolution. This is especially evident in Cairo, although it’s true throughout the country.

Just after I had arrived in the capital and went out to get my first kushary, a traditional Egyptian dish, a number of young people shouted at me: “Welcome to the NEW Egypt!” – eyes sparkling, wide smiles on their faces.

And then, whoever I’ve spoken to, has inevitably asked: “So what do you think about the revolution?”

I’ve congratulated them and expressed my hope that everything will change for the better. And they have invariably replied: “It surely will!”

“Things have been already changing,” Mostafa told me. “In Nasr City, where I live, people have started to clean the streets. This didn’t happen during Mubarak’s time.”

Young Egyptians ascribe everything positive to the revolution. When I said Egyptians were very friendly, the answer was: “Yes, but this has been since the revolution.”

The enthusiasm for the uprising and the NEW Egypt doesn’t seem to have waned in one month since President Mubarak resigned. Young volunteers in Tahrir Square substitute for the police. They direct traffic and check that nobody coming to join a demonstration carries a gun, and everybody respects them. Passionate public gatherings continue on Tahrir Square on Fridays, street vendors make good business selling Egyptian flags and cards with photos of those killed during the first days of the protests.

It’s easy to get carried away by this zest. What worries me is perhaps the fact that Egyptians expect everything will go easily and very fast.

When an old woman selling tissues approached us, Mostafa told me: “We are not helping these people anymore, because the government said it would.” I might lack the true belief, but a doubt passed through my mind about whether an efficient system to deal with this could have been set up in just a month.

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