This essay briefly describes modern Egyptian political history and how Hosni Mubarak came to power. It highlights what are the frustrations and complaints of the Egyptian citizen and why today, Jan 2011, they have taken to the streets in protest.
Egypt, formerly known as, The Arabic Republic of Egypt is a former British Mandate. Following a coup in July 1952 led by army officers calling themselves the "Free Officers Movement" Egypt gained independence under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Nasser advocated Arab Nationalism which was an ethnic-political philosophy calling for the unification of Arab countries into one state and the destruction of the state of Israel. Despite repeated attempts neither goal was achieved, yet Nasser was, and remains, a beloved leader and he ruled Egypt as its president until his death in 1970. Following Nasser's rule, Anwar El Sadat - also a military officer - became the next President of Egypt. During his rule opposition political parties were allowed to re-emerge and the regime faced a growing threat from Islamists. Initially, Sadat portrayed himself as a religious Muslim and encouraged an Islamist presence as a counterpoint to the Communists/Socialists emerging within the universities. Yet, Sadat was assassinated by a militant Islamists, Khalid Islambouli, on October 6, 1981 who shared the sentiments of many Islamists that the regime was not religious enough. Following Sadat's assassination, Hosni Mubarak, also an officer in the army became the president of Egypt and has ruled ever since.
Mubarak has faced several challenges during his tenure as president and the population has been growing increasingly frustrated. Although some opposition parties have been allowed to exist they are muted and not granted full rights to disseminate information, organize, or assemble. While there are elections for parliament - and since 2005 there is a nominal presidential election - these elections are understood to be a farce. Legally recognized opposition parties, such as al-Wafd and Tagammu, are allowed to run and are even granted a few seats illegal, yet highly ...
Frustrations with the economy, inefficient government, and harsh authoritarian rules have lead many citizens to take to the streets in protest. This essay provides clear examples to illustrate the feelings of the Egyptian population. It provides a brief historical background explaining how the leadership endured for so long and why the citizenry has taken up protesting today.