Egypt Burning: How one Egyptian revolutionary movement overthrew a dictator while one another overthrew a democracy.
On the 17th of December, 2011 a vegetable vendor lit himself on fire in response to the corrupt and inefficient bureaucratic system in Tunisia. This small event by an unknown vendor led to the biggest and fastest spread of social movements in the history of the Arab world known as the Arab spring. Yet while the Tunisian example has been seen as relatively successful, in Egypt things seems to be more complicated and difficult especially with two different social movements, the first mobilized on the 25th of January and overthrew the long time autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak, while the
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Yet why and how where all these different groups able to unite? To answer this question one must first look at the recent history of Egypt to see what alienated such a diverse assortment of groups into rebelling against the state. Mubarak comes from a line of military leaders who took control of Egypt since the 50s in response to British colonial policies and while both his predecessors put down Islamist dissent, they had the broad support from the rest of the Egyptian populace who supported their nationalistic and socialist ideologies. Yet unlike his predecessors Mubarak only played lip service to those ideologies, seemingly more concerned with bringing Egypt into the free market system which seemed to enrich him and his close associates while impoverishing the lower classes. By not only forgoing the ideologies that got support of the majority of the population but continuing to suppress Islamic movements, none of the mosaic of Egyptian movements felt that the autocratic leader where defending their interests. Shukrallah in her article sums it up by stating that ” It is all these grievances that started to come to the surface particularly in the past five years where daily protests by different sectors of the population became the norm. These protests included a wide variety of the population that never before took part in any