The revolution of January 25, 2011 is still the most prominent political event in Egypt over the past 50 years, as it is a great event in its essence and being, and if not, then in what it led later in terms of results; The revolution toppled the head of one of the longest ruling regimes in Egypt in its modern history, the most corrupt, tyrannical and failed at all levels. Given that the revolution, any revolution, represents an exceptional event in the history of peoples and societies, the failure of this revolution to achieve its goals, the most important of which is freedom, justice and dignity, leads to the need to rethink it and its consequences, and to benefit from the possible lessons from this experience.
Hence, it becomes necessary to ask a set of important fundamental questions related to the Egyptian revolution, the revolution of January 25, 2011, especially as we live its tenth anniversary these days. These are questions about which there are, until now, no definitive or clear answers, either by the writer of these lines or by the political actors who participated in that exceptional event. It is also an attempt to provoke thinking about the issues and issues that these questions raise that need to be disassembled and understood. The matter here is not a matter of intellectual luxury or a theoretical academic debate, but rather a departure from moral responsibility and national concern about how to get out of the miserable political situation in Egypt towards the horizon of a new change that places the Egyptian citizen at the heart of it and not on its sidelines.
The other important question is: Why did the political forces that moved in the January revolution fail to agree on a political transition project? Was it related to the ideological and political differences between these forces? Or is it related to a mutual distrust and fear between them since the pre-revolution period?
Perhaps the first and most important of these questions is: How do we describe what happened on the 25th of January 2011? Was it a true comprehensive revolution, or was it just an act of revolution that led to the overthrow of the regime’s head on February 11, 2011? Or was it an uprising and a popular uprising in protest of the economic and social conditions and the pressure to improve them without necessarily changing the political system? Or were we facing half a revolution and half a coup, as the army was an influential and effective partner and player since the early days of the January revolution?
Some may see this question as unimportant, given that what happened has happened, but I believe that it is an important and founding question on the tenth anniversary of the January revolution, and the importance of the question does not stem only from information, leaks and notes that have appeared over the past ten years, especially the memoirs of the US President. Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who clearly indicates that the Military Council was the main player in all events of the revolution, but also because it is a useful question in how to deal with the military at any future stage that may carry possibilities for change through another uprising or political transition.
I believe that there is no more important occasion than the passing of a decade after the revolution to ask such a question (the question of description and classification of what happened on the 25th of January) and other urgent questions, such as the question of why the revolution failed? The question of the absence of an alternative political project, and the question of choosing between political and revolutionary tracks; Without understanding the circumstances of that revolution, many of which are still hidden and mysterious, it will not be possible to pass forward, and it is not known that if similar events occur in the (perhaps near) future, how will they be dealt with? The description and classification here is not a purely theoretical or academic issue raised as an intellectual welfare, but rather lies at the heart of understanding the complexities of the political scene in Egypt, and knowing the intertwining of power relations and their distribution between the different centers of power.
The other important question is: Why did the political forces that moved in the January revolution fail to agree on a political transition project? Was it related to the ideological and political differences between these forces? Or is it related to mistrust and mutual fear between them since the pre-revolution period? Or was it related to the military’s exploitation of these differences and inflating them? Or is it associated with the weak democratic commitment of political elites of all colors and spectrums? The experience of the past ten years reveals beyond any doubt that the differences and divisions between the Egyptian political forces are almost structural and not transient, despite the severe repression that all these forces are subjected to at the hands of the military, which is evident in every political occasion, including The anniversary of the January Revolution in which the parties blame each other for the revolution’s failure.
Perhaps the last, most important, and most difficult question is how to deal with the military, and to what extent they can be partners in any transitional process. In general, there are no armies that can lead a democratic political transition process in authoritarian regimes, except in exceptional cases. The military, especially in the Arab world, does not trust the civilian elites for historical, psychological, political and interest reasons, and in many cases they believe that they are the most deserving, the most appropriate and the best to lead countries in order to preserve them from political divisions under the guise of claiming to maintain security and stability. Therefore, the process of removing the military from power, and later from politics, especially in a country like Egypt, which has been ruled by the military without a partner for more than 60 years, will not be at all easy or trivial, rather it will take decades of negotiation and guarantees for the generals, if we assume that this is It occurred as a result of fundamental transformations, whether due to revolution, defeat, or a catastrophic failure in managing the country.
These questions, and others, are of great importance, and they are not purely theoretical questions, but rather realistic questions related to the origin of the political crisis in Egypt, and the answer to them may help us think about how to get out of the current situation in Egypt, and without answering them, they will be repeated. The mistakes of the past are the same, and we will continue to revolve in the same vicious circle while the rule of the generals increases the hegemony and control of the country and its people.