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Special Report:

36

Egypt rocked by revolution

This month’s Special Report is dedicated to explaining the recent riots and turmoil that took place in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptian President Mubarak was in office for over 30 years, and the Egyptian people rebelled to take back their democratic government. Mubarak finally stepped down on February 11, after originally agreeing only to step down at the end of his term. Read more to learn the causes of this revolution, its potential effects, and what it means for the U.S.

Chaos in Cairo

Photo illustration by Elissa Miolene / Photo Manager

Streets filled with citizens, citizens filled with discontent Steven Lee Staff Writer

Thirty two years ago, Egyptian president Anwar El Sadat along with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accords, which created peace between the two nations in the Middle East. As United States President Jimmy Carter presided over the signing, the U.S. agreed to support Egypt by sending them half the amount of financial aid that they were sending Israel. Three years later, President Sadat was assassinated, and Hosni Mubarak assumed power. He was president for over 30 years, and the United States continued to support both Egypt and Mubarak during his reign. However, the Egyptian people and, to some degree, the Egyptian army, did not feel the same support. Tensions grew between Mubarak and the citizens of Egypt for years, and these tensions broke out into revolts on January 25. After 18

days of protesting, the Egyptian citizens’ work came to fruition. On February 11, President Mubarak stepped down and turned all power over to the military. The previous day, Mubarak addressed the nation of Egypt, along with the rest of the world. Waiting eagerly, the protestors fully expected Mubarak to step down at that time and end the rebellions. However, Mubarak merely reaffirmed his previous statement that he would step down in September, the month of the national elections, and handed direct power down to his righthand man, Vice President Omar Suleiman. Therefore, the protesters’ wish wasn’t fulfilled until the next evening, February 11, when Suleiman delivered a short televised statement announcing Mubarak’s resignation. He said that the president was stepping down for the benefit of the republic. Before Mubarak resigned, many protesters had been quoted

to say that the rebellions would not stop until he had been ousted. Although he was technically “president,” he acted as a dictator, and the citizens were pushing for a true democracy. However, the direct cause of these revolts is not located within the country of Egypt. The origin of these rebellions occurred in a

Ali. Due to issues such as high unemployment and corruption of the ruling class, Tunisian citizens revolted in December 2010. After approximately four weeks of increasingly intense demonstrations, Ben Ali stepped down from power and fled the country on January 14, 2011. News of this revolution traveled through social

Tensions grew between Mubarak and the citizens of Egypt for years, and these tensions broke out into violent revolts on January 25. After 18 days of protesting, the Egyptian citizens’ work came to fruition. On February 11, President Mubarak stepped down and turned all power over to the military. Middle Eastern country nearly 700 miles from Egypt­—Tunisia. Tunisia has faced a similar situation to the one in Egypt. Its citizens had also been led by an autocratic ruler, President Zine El Abidine Ben

media and when it reached Egypt, it gave Egyptian citizens the same idea. To help him fend off the uprisings, Mubarak used the Egyptian police, possibly the only group that

still showed him support. More than 300 Egyptians are estimated to have been killed in the riots, according to the New York Times. Mubarak shut down all Internet access in Egypt, which made communication among demonstrators and the rest of the world nearly impossible. President Obama’s spokesman recently criticized Mubarak’s administration for arresting and harassing journalists and human rights activists. Even though Mubarak is now out of power, Egypt is still dealing with an extremely delicate situation. It is not yet known who will assume power. As history teacher Mr. Hoffman said, “Though technology and mass communication have greatly impacted the revolution in Egypt, there are still many similarities to [the revolutions in] France in 1789, Russia in 1917, and Iran in 1779. All of those ended differently, and it will be interesting [to see] how Egypt ends.”


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