A Day of A Million Days: Victory in the Land of the Ancients!
12 February, 2011
“On that day, We shall fold the heaven, like the folding of a book. Just as We initiated the first creation, We shall repeat it. This is Our Promise; We shall certainly carry it out.” (Quran, 21: 104.)
“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very Heaven!” (Wordsworth)
Almost everyone expected it to come when the demonstrationsa started in Liberation Square in Cairo on 25th February. The millions of Egyptian citizens demonstrating against Hosni Mobarak’s authoritarian regime of 30 years across Egypt, in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, today (12th February in Malaysia; 11th in Egypt) erupted into joyous ecstasy, celebrating their victory. As the English poet puts it, “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. But to be young was very Heaven!”
After two false steps of refusing to accept reality and step down, on the 18th day of mass demonstrations, Mubarak relinquished his power and handed over to the Egyptian Military, which, since modern times, has consistently acted as protector of the people. The Military Supreme Council, which has accepted all the demands of the arisen revolutionized Egyptian people, has promised to prepare a quick and smooth transition of power to them.
A most remarkable 18 days in the history of Egypt and of the world! Millions demonstrating peacefully and spontaneously – what a feat of heroism, determination and persistence! The 300 or so, who died, killed in clashes with 30-year old entrenched Pharaonic authority, did not die in vain. They died as martyrs. The Military saluted the martyrs. The American President said, “Egypt will never be the same again.”
As the Egyptians, and indeed the world, celebrated their glorious victory, it has to be remembered that it is only the first step, albeit a great big step, on the road to a better future for Egypt and for the world. The old oppressive structure has to be replaced by a new progressive structure. The representatives of the new revolutionaries must engage the Military Supreme Council to realize the new aspirations of the Egyptian people in the shortest possible time.
Egypt is a great civilization, the oldest, and extending to 5,000 years of Man’s history on this planet. It is located in the area of the home of three great monotheistic religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Needless to say, this great revolution will have a big and lasting impact on the Middle East and on the world. Already many countries and political groups have hailed the revolution. Although official theocratic Iran has also welcomed the revolution, it has reason to fear. The Egyptian revolution is popular and democratic, while theocratic Iran is not.
Egypt is a strategic ally and partner of the United States and Israel, two leading powers in the region. How will the new-emergent Egypt affect its relations with the United States and Israel? A new free Egypt will no longer be a surrogate of U.S. power in the Middle East and will not bow to the hegemonic interests of the State of Israel. This is what worries Israel and the U.S. But all is to the good. Both cannot continue to play a bullying role in a new emerging just world.
Will the new Egypt be secular or Muslim fundamentalist of the brand of Muslim Brotherhood? From what we gauge of the views of the millions of demonstrators, said to be mainly young, they are Muslims all right, praying in the Liberation Square and shouting “God is great!” after their victory; but they do not seem to be extremists. Mind you, these days of the so-called “born-again Muslims”, youths can be extremist! These demonstrators hungering for freedom must know that Islam does not stipulate a so-called “Islamic state” that our Islamic Party’s (PAS) current ideology wants to set up. As I have said many times in many locations, Islam favours a secular state; the famous Medina Charter of Prophet Muhammad proves it.
The transition period has to be managed carefully. The Military Supreme Council is duty-bound to honour its commitments to Egyptian people’s deep aspirations for true freedom. Immediately, the unjustly-detained political prisoners must be freed; the various emergency laws removed and full freedom of conscience and expression be given, steps to uproot corruption taken, and the country’s Constitution be re-written to give full expression to the Egyptian people’s political, economic and social rights. These must include the rights to full employment and fair distribution of income to all members of Egyptian society.
Free and fair elections must also be held soon to elect a new Government that is just and accountable.
Egypt can then play a leading role and be a power for the good, not only in the Middle East, but also in the world at large, in today’s world of “Great Disorder under Heaven”– a chaotic world in fact — as befits its ancient character as a great centre of culture and civilization.