Hope of freedom has turned into anger and disappointment

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
October 2, 2016
By Shahira Amin

Egypt. More than five years have passed since president Mubarak was unseated in Egypt. There was hope that the revolution would lead to much wanted reforms, but today the Egyptians are as far away from democracy as they were when they took to the streets in 2011.

Today, Tahrir square – once the symbol of the Egyptian revolution – has few similarities with the public space that was occupied by tens of thousands of democracy activists in the beginning of 2011.

The hope and optimism then felt has been replaced by anger and discontentment from unfulfilled expectations. Since the unseating of the president Mohamed Morsi 2013, supported by the military, society is deeply polarised. Tens of thousands of the leaders and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are imprisoned.

-If you’re not part of the military you risk being accused of being a traitor and a spy. The government is using its war on terror to silence critics and turn Egyptians against each other, says taxi driver Ahmed Hamdan when we meet in Zamalek, a suburb located not far from  Tahrir square.

Secular human rights activists and debaters have been targets for the government’s tougher stance, several journalists are behind bars accused of “publication of fake news” or “belonging to a terrorist group”.

-Those who imprison journalists are afraid of the truth and do not want the other side of the story to be told, says the Al-Jazeera journalist Baher Mohamed. He was imprisoned for two years before he was released, and now he lives in Qatar.

Organisations fighting for human rights have condemned the situation in Egypt, especially the high number of abducted persons. According to a report by Amnesty International, in 2015 Egyptian security forces abducted and tortured at least several hundred people, some as young as 14, in an attempt to silence opponents.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, October 2 2016. Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/fem-ar-efter-mubarak–langt-till-frihet-och-demokrati/om/varlden

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