The Egypt Protests
By: Sami-k Harmon
It all started with people deliberately setting themselves on fire outside government buildings.
Egypt, the country located in the northeastern part of Africa and most famously known for its peoples’ liberation by Moses in biblical times, has ironically been the topic of less than liberty for its people in the last month or so. Inspired by their cousins to the west, the people of the Tunisian government and their own protests against their leader, the people of Egypt gathered in tens of thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir, or ‘Liberation’ Square to protest against their president of three decades, Hosni Mubarak in early February. According the Nick Baumann and Siddhartha Mahanta, writers of “Mother Jones Blog,” the people were fiercely protesting the “autocratic governments, high levels of corruption, and grinding poverty” that many believe was caused by Mubarak’s poor leadership. The enraged citizens resorted to setting surrounding government buildings on fire, and some even set themselves on fire to prove their point of desperation and disgust with the current political status. “They won’t stop until Hosni Mubarak steps down as president,” says Dave Howard of Newsbeat. The activists even started spreading messages on sites like Facebook, but authorities have tried to clamp down on social networks to keep activists from getting organized.
Protestors were especially enraged at the corruption of their government. Many of them spoke out on the June 2010 death of Khaled Said, an Egyptian teenager who was allegedly beaten to death by the police for no reason at all. His face was so incredibly bludgeoned that it was almost unrecognizable.
Mubarak had promised to carry out political reform, but refused to stand down even as the protests got more violent and deadly. Even Barak Obama spoke to Mubarak after his speech and said, “You have a responsibility to give meaning to those words.”
Finally, after two weeks of horrible, violent protests, Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president on February 11. As much good news as this was to the Egyptian people, it’s not so good news for our own American people. Because Mubarak was forced out, the wider Middle East has become more volatile. And trouble in the Middle East has a direct impact on the pockets of the American people due to oil production in the Middle East decreasing, and gas prices increasing in North America. So far, no new word has been received about the future of Egypt, but hopefully, things will be resolved in time.