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Egypt turns over new leaf after bloodshed, protests

After 18 days of protest, many Egyptians finally got their wish. Thirty-year incumbent Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down Friday.

“The moment (Mubarak) stepped down was a moment of victory,” said Mohamed Medhat Ali, a graduate student in microbiology at Ohio State. “We were able to force him to step down and we got rid of a corrupt regime and dictatorship that lasted almost three decades.”

Ali was born and raised in Egypt, but has been in America the past two-and-a-half years studying to be a doctor. He said the manner in which the Egyptian revolution was accomplished is significant.

“The most amazing thing was that it was 100 percent peaceful,” Ali said. “It gives (the revolution) a very important moral meaning because it happened in a very civil way.”

CNN reported hundreds of injuries and many deaths stemming from the clashes between the Mubarak supporters and Mubarak protesters. Molotov cocktails were often seen being thrown.

According to CNN, the Armed Forces Supreme Council will assume power of the country until free elections can be held. Ali said he supports this decision.

“They said clearly that they are not asking to rule the country,” Ali said. “They want a civil country and true democracy like here in America.”

The army made one of its first decisions as head of the country Sunday, deciding to dismiss the parliament and dissolve the constitution. Ali said these were decisions that had to be made.

“We cannot hold elections on (the constitution) now. It was so terribly mutilated and fabricated by the regime to make sure there would be a succession of power from the father (Mubarak) to son,” Ali said. He also mentioned the parliament was largely comprised of supporters of Mubarak’s regime.

One thing that remains clear is the jubilation of the Egyptian citizens who were persistent in achieving their goal. Downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square, which served as the center of the protests, was still filled with thousands of impassioned protesters basking in their success on Saturday. Ali said he understands what they are feeling.

“I now feel for the first time that I have a country. I never had this sense of ownership before,” Ali said. “My country was hijacked for so long and now; finally we got it back. Egypt is free at last.”

Clearly, attitudes have changed. Ali said in the past, people with higher education were smart to look outside the country for employment, but that belief is changing.

“Now, I really can’t wait to go back. I want to contribute to rebuilding the country,” Ali said.

Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter played a role in the revolution in coordinating and motivating the people.

According to the New York Daily News, Wael Ghoneim, the marketing director for Google in the Middle East, set up a Facebook page that helped organize the revolution. The Egyptian government later captured Ghoneim when he was reported missing on Jan. 27. The government released him Feb. 7, but blocked Facebook and Twitter, which caused more uproar.

Ali said this is an example of what is being called “Revolution 2.0.”

“This all started on social network websites like Facebook and Twitter,” Ali said. “The whole world witnessed this happening in real time. It was used to get everyone organized and start at the same time.”

And the revolution doesn’t seem limited to Egypt.

According to CNN, other countries, such as Algeria, have been inspired to start revolutions of their own.

“I think it will be a domino effect. We will see a lot of dictators fall one after the other … It’s the formation of a new world order,” Ali said.

Although the revolution has inspired millions, it did come at a price. The Human Rights Watch Group has reported that 302 people, mostly protesters that the corrupted Egyptian police attacked, lost their lives during the revolution. A marble memorial in Tahrir Square is being constructed in their memory.

Ali asked to share a message with his fallen and injured countrymen.

“Thank you. You did not die in vein and you gave us back something that we forgot about for a very long time. You gave us hope. Hope for a better tomorrow,” Ali said. “We will never forget about your sacrifice.”


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