Egypt Before and After the Revolution

This paper asks what happened to Egypt before and after the 2011 Revolution. The 2011 Egyptian Revolution is not a product of overnight mobilization, but of decades of political repression and socio-economic problems, and so after it, the country continues to grapple with various social, economic, and political issues. The causes that built up the 2011 Egyptian Revolution came from the economic, social, and political inequalities that intensified during Mubarak’s regime, and not from mere overnight mobilization techniques. Egypt showed positive economic growth rates, but it masked underlying inequities. Hafez Ghanem, a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program, asserted that though the economy improved under Mubarak, it did not resolve widespread socio-economic issues. He states: [These economic policies] failed to be inclusive as they left about 45 million Egyptians trapped in lower middle class status living on $2-$4 a day and provided few opportunities for youth who felt economically and socially excluded. (Ghanem para.1). Ghanem is saying that Mubarak showed an economic bubble that had no sustainable center. The lower middle class and the youth experienced the worst hits because economic opportunities were not accessible to them. At the same time, political inequality is experienced through repressive practices against those who oppose the government. Mohamed El-Bendary described police violence against protesters, under the guidance of the Egypt’s Interior Ministry. Protesters, according to El-Dostour, an independent Egyptian opposition newspaper, called the Minister of Interior Habib El-Adli as the head of a militia and not a minister of interior because he used the police to interrogate, shoot, and hurt protesters (El-Bendary 77). Mubarak denied instructing the police to shoot at civilians and to conduct other brutal activities, and yet, the same police units ensured protection for his family members and cronies (Ghanem para.1). These reports and examples demonstrated that Egyptians wanted Mubarak and his entire regime out because they no longer served the will and welfare of the people. Social issues also plagued Mubarak’s administration, which culminated to the protests in 2011. The youth and the lower class, in particular, felt the overwhelming negative effects of crony capitalism and police violence in their lives. Lynch describes protests that increased in the middle of the 2000s, which portrayed: …episodic bouts of political and labor unrest: protests organized via Facebook by the April 6 movement (named in support of a 2008 strike in the industrial city El-Mahalla El-Kubra), labor strikes, and protests by lawyers and judges. (33). Lynch shows that social problems included labor issues and economic inequities that affected people’s political and social status. On February 1, 2010, named as the day of determination, protesters called for one million people to join them in Tahrir Square (El-Bendary 67). Mubarak appointed a vice-president to appease protesters, but he stressed that he would