Deep inside, one must feel it even if one hesitates to admit it: the whole 25 January hoopla is long gone.
The only thing left of 25 January is its largely undisputed international allure, which is ironically the only legitimising factor that both former President Morsi and the now ruling military paid lip service to. 30 June, although largely popular and potentially more popular than its predecessor, had a textbook stigma of a coup attached to it; therefore, using 30 June to market the cause, at least internationally, was not a sure bet. So despite the sleuth in international travels by public figures, the west has chosen to deal with the realpolitik aspect of the situation, but cannot outright hail 30 June as “the revolution” that inspired the world like 25 January was once hailed! So, 25 January is indeed dead on the local level with several symptoms to prove this demise.
Writers left and right are lashing out at 25 January and its key figures in highly circulated papers. The public is also reacting largely favourably to this critique. The attack went far and beyond fiery articles to direct personal attacks, such as the recently leaked phone conversations for the likes of Ahmed Maher of the 6 April movement, Mostafa El Naggar and Wael Goneim, to list a few. Save a minority, no one came out in defence of 25 January or those people who stood behind it.
The state is back to consolidate power. In the name of national security, the government is back to creating laws to tauten its hold on matters; such laws include, for instance, rules against street protests, rules regulating mosque sermons and stricter oversight of NGOs. Again, no one seems to be bothered by the crackdown on freedoms and the resurfacing for everything that 25 January allegedly stood against. It is as if 25 January was carried out by aliens who have effectively vanished!
While 25 January will remain in the backdrop as a distant memory, we have to recognise that it committed suicide a long time ago. In the simplest of terms, 25 January was a good high level idea that was terribly executed. Calls for freedom and social justice never scratched the surface of addressing any issues. In terms of finances, freedoms and security, Egypt is far worse than what it was three years ago. While we are not here to praise the Mubarak regime nor lambast 25 January, we need to call it like it is with all emotions aside: 25 January is practically a failure. All that is left of what was once a Cinderella story is an icon that has global recognition. The coming regimes will use 25 January as a foundation on which they can build their regimes, but that is about as far as it will go.
Almost three years ago, I asked a wise man what he thinks of all of that was happening, and he said: “Give it few years and it will all sort itself out. There will be a turning point after which all the noise will subside and business as usual will resume.” I have to hand it to the wise man; it is sorting itself out indeed and we have long passed this turning point.