After revolting twice against their rulers in less than five years, Egyptians are now longing for the era of Hosni Mubarak.
They long for when the economy was substantially better, security was functioning and the country was more politically stable. After decades of suffering and after paying a high price for their two “revolutions”, Egyptians believe that they deserve a better life. Yet, they need to understand that only if the country is placed on the right path will this goal be achieved.
Egyptians in general are known to be a short-winded people that expect minimal inputs to generate rapid positive outcomes. In truth, Egypt will only be placed on the right course when its citizens put their country’s needs above their personal interests (not by repeating this sentiment in the media, but by genuinely being committed to it). Once a non-radical society that valued the small degree of stability in income and services that allowed it—barely—to survive, Egyptian society today is one whose members live in a state of daily violence that has done away with the “little stability” they used to enjoy.
In a genuine attempt to make Egypt a better place, the vast majority of the Egyptian population has participated in at least one “revolution”. Egyptians do not want to acknowledge that both their revolutions failed to lift up Egypt—on the contrary: we are regressing. The dilemma here is that, for five years, we have been living in a bottleneck that is getting longer and narrower as time passes and consecutive rulers fail to deliver on their promises—without a single sign in sight of when we will manage to squeeze through the bottleneck. This has created an edgy, uneasy society.
Democracy is a structural mechanism that must be fully applied in order to yield its fruits. The downfall of the 25 January Revolution is that it opened the door to the entire population to engage in politics without establishing a structural mechanism. The result is a situation where the majority has no clue what it is talking about. Regrettably, political dialogue in Egypt has become a channel used by people to express their anger and satisfy their egoism, rather than for the benefit of their country. This has concluded in intensifying tensions among society as a whole.
Furthermore, putting on hold Egyptians’ desire for establishing a democratic mechanism and dividing society into friends and foes have subjected the entire population to higher stress levels. Egyptians presently live in a polarised society where families, friends and colleagues clash among themselves over every political issue that arises. Additionally, the economic crisis, of which the entire population is aware, is further aggravating an already tense society where the tiniest issues are cause for dispute.
Egypt is in desperate need of a leader who can calm down society and act as president of the entire population, without accusing those who oppose him of being evildoers working against the interests of the country. Labelling the opposition as evil will obviously prompt it to maximise its reputed wickedness, instigating it to choose radicalism over stability. Living alongside a large segment of society that is consistently being accused of espionage is an additional cause of social stress for Egyptians. The proper application and enforcement of rule of law would certainly relieve the tension we are living under substantially.
Egyptians are venting their frustrations by expressing hostility towards former presidents, while, in fact, failing to build a better future. What we need today is gradual reform with measurable outcomes, combined with a society that is united to achieve a common end. Egyptians revolted against former presidents Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi because both neglected state reforms. Radicalism and terrorism will diminish significantly when Egyptians see hope for a better Egypt. Talking about illusionary ideas that will never be realised will not calm society and enable the country to move forward.
Mohammed Nosseir is an Egyptian liberal politician working on reforming Egypt on true liberal values, proper application of democracy and free market economy. Mohammed was member of the Higher Committee, and headed the International Relations of the Democratic Front Party from 2008 to 2012.