Monday, 14 February 2011

Of Egypt, Freedom and Déjà Vu

I've watched with the rest of the world as the people of Egypt stood up to Hosni Mubarak and won their freedom. However, I can't shake this feeling of Déjà Vu as I see the jubilant faces in Tahir square, and hear the promises of the military to hand over power to a democratically elected government at some point in the near future.

I've seen it all before.

Africa has a sad and recurrent political cycle which goes thus:
1. People feel/are oppressed
2. A hero rises and liberates the people
3. The liberator assumes leadership, amidst great celebrations
4. Said liberator overstays his welcome
5. The hero turned villain is deposed by the military, and there is dancing in the streets
6. New military leadership promises elections, but repeatedly break their promise
7. The people feel oppressed.

Rinse, and repeat.

Having grown up in Nigeria, I've seen this cycle repeat itself several times. Therefore, I'm highly skeptical of the military's plan to hand over power to an elected government anytime soon. I wish the people had allowed Mubarak to leave in a constitutional manner, after which they would have had the chance to elect a new leader. Now, I fear that Egypt is in danger of becoming a long-term military state. Time will tell if my fears are unfounded. I do hope I'm pleasantly surprised.


Uwa said...

i`m reading your blog!! Yay!!! Actually have a trip planned for Egypt in a couple of months, i dunno if i should still go.....hmmmm

EC said...

Hey Uwa, nice of you to drop by. Egypt in 2 months? I hear it's not exactly the top tourist destination at the moment! :)

Lucy said...

Having travelled through West Africa, including Nigeria, last year (thankfully given the current situation, and continually newly developing situations) - I don't claim to be any expert, but can say that I truly felt the points you made here when I was there. It was apparent on the faces of the locals, their attitude and circumstance.
It is so infuriating. Coming from a very privileged background, but having a very worldly and humane perspective on life I just don't understand how the world can be so unjust like this.
As you said...let's hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Thanks for a great post!