There is good news coming from the uprising for human rights and against the corruption in Egypt. Millions of people are voluntarily participating in the streets, which shows the Egyptians are still interested in democracy and freedom and they want to change both their social and political situations. The primary success stories of uprisings are those in which people learn to declare little victories and then continue pressuring the regime through boycotts, strikes, takeovers, and street protests until their goal and their message is heard and being implemented. Egyptians must not back down.
Diverse Leadership and Unity
The Egyptian objective at this time is a very large one. The main intention is that Mubarak, as the president of Egypt, must leave his office. In order to achieve this, the uprising must continue deploying diverse leaders, both on the national and international scale, who can communicate with Mubarak directly. For example, an American leader such as Jimmy Carter could be drawn in to speak with Mubarak and to give him the option of leaving without violence. They could request the same from an African leader like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has experience in reconciliation, or a more neutral leader from Latin America who does not have any preexisting interests. Some Arab leaders can also play this role. The leaders of the uprising must show the Egyptian people, the Arab world and the international community that they are interested in democratic change through nonviolence.
It is in the interests of the Egyptians to hold democratic elections for community leaders as well as national ones. In these elections, independent people unaffiliated with political parties should be allowed to run. Egyptians as young as 25 run should be able to run for any office in the country, including the presidency. And all parties should have the right to participate in this political process of Egypt. This includes the current ruling party as well as the Communists, Muslim Brotherhood and others. Competitive campaigns will cause Candidates to meet and listen to the issues that are most important to the people. We are aware that one of the main issues in the Egyptian minds is to get rid of the emergency law that gives the President complete authority. .
Egyptians cannot afford to have a democratic election or an uprising and then have it become an Islamic state “like Iran.” This is also not a situation in which Egyptians just want a change of faces. Many of the fruits of this revolution will be seen in 15 or 20 years.. Unfortunately, this quick fix mentality is what Mubarak did by appointing a vice president that was head of security and appointing a new cabinet. To prevent a coup d’etat or a group hijacking the revolution or government, the people must continue to organize long after leaving the streets. Social and civil society organizations should organize and flourish throughout Egypt. Egyptians must be prepared to change their culture and devote funds annually to their own nongovernmental groups. Without a stronger civil society and business class, the State will undoubtedly oppress society.
Potential Consequences of Violence
Hundreds of Government supporters will use violence creating difficulty for the military to intervene, thus giving the image that security and stability for the interest of the people becomes the priority. The demonstrators should prevent and control the crowds from using the gatherings against any minority or any specific ethnic group.
Egyptian people must demand that no violence is used by anyone in Egypt and instead use legitimacy and integrity to make their point. They must create a model in which Egyptians don’t kill or hurt Egyptians and illustrate this model to the army, police, and all Egyptian citizens. They must set an example that says, “We are proud to be Egyptian and we don’t kill each other.” And they have to be very, very aware of those who are given permission by Mubarak’s regime to commit violence or to burn or kill for the sake of making the uprising a violent one and give more power to the army to shoot or to the police to use firearms. These people have to be stopped by the uprising people and condemned publicly to show they are completely against violence.
Egyptians should trust each other. Those who are in the streets in Alexandria have the same aim and ambition as those who are in Cairo or the Suez or any other city. In the uprising, trust will be essential. Discipline and protecting others property and livelihood becomes important in creating a clear and pure uprising in which nobody is hurt while helping others. In any and every society, there are the exceptions of people who take advantage of these circumstances and like to create chaos. Demonstrators need to know that many will sacrifice themselves and possibly have limited food and lack of funds. These hardships can threaten unity and cause people to turn against each other. To finish the uprising, the people become the law and must prove that they are better than the previous law, which they helped to overthrow. The people, therefore, must act to stop those taking advantage of the situation and of fellow Egyptians. Only by opposing violence and using truth and honesty as a guide will the uprising success and rights will prevail.
We wish you the best in Egypt.
Dr. Mubarak Awad