In January 2011, the majority of Egyptians, befuddled and apprehensive, stayed at home but watched closely as history unfolded. They knew that change was needed; they realised that the calls of those in Tahrir Square were warranted, but they were extremely anxious over short and long-term repercussions.
In the short term, imminent danger had Egyptians nights-on-end guard their homes and possessions from looting and thuggery. As prisons and police stations got broken into, as official buildings and churches were set on fire, and as streets became treacherous, Egyptians suffered nerve-racking panic and curfew restrictions.
For the long term, they feared changes that would lead to economic hardships, terrorism, and unnerving culminations.
We can honestly say that Egyptians had every right to be apprehensive, for today we are reaping what we sowed: the pandemonium synonymous with ousting President Mubarak, and soon afterwards, followed by President Morsi’s presidency and deposing.
The chain of events intertwines like a Rubik's cube: a domino effect, where one event initiates a succession of others, and as much as I was for change in 2011, I am dead certain that we are where we are today because of the dim-sightedness we suffered back in 2011.
President Mubarak would’ve stepped down six months afterwards had the activists in Tahrir not insisted on a prompt ousting. In those six months, Mubarak, whilst still in control, would have guaranteed that the Muslim Brotherhood became ineffective. Soon afterwards though, the grassroots revolution morphed into a Muslim Brotherhood victory.
Had the disdain of anything related to Mubarak not taunted Tahrir and activists in general, Egypt would not have lost a precious year with Morsi in office. But once Morsi became president, the whole environment changed.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates assumed a powerful grip on Egypt, and in no way were they to let go of that power, ultimately devising the current turmoil.
The slippery slope the Muslim Brotherhood initiated after the ousting of President Morsi continues to plague us today: every effort is being made to pull Egypt down. If it isn’t overt terrorism, then it is other destructive measures.
Tourists have long gone, and despite the hard-fought battle to have them return, resorts and monuments remain empty. The economy has been dealt a severe blow as manipulative hands incite a currency war, commodity shortages, and hiked prices.
We are paying the penalty for not being wise enough to anticipate the ramifications of our own doings. No one can deny that had we envisioned the course we were to partake on and where it would lead us, we would’ve thought twice back in 2011.
And today the same perennially dissatisfied and disgruntled cluster at one level, and the forever-raging dissidents in Turkey at another level, are calling for another wave of protests and demonstrative actions on 11/11.
Heaven forbid that such a call be realised; but if it is, it will be the end of Egypt, for despite the mammoth efforts that the president and his team are implementing, we are facing compounded challenges and teetering between success and failure.
Another wave of sit-ins, protests, upheavals, you name it, will be the cause of Egypt’s demise.
Why 11/11? No one really knows, but some have interpreted it as four fingers, as in the Rabaa sign, and it makes sense to be just that. And if we are going to fall victims to another Muslim Brotherhood wave of dissent, then we deserve the collapse that we will inflict on ourselves and on Egypt.
So as a reminder to those who are contemplating 11/11 because sugar is scarce or rice is unavailable, what will occur after a successful 11/11 will be by far more damaging than ever imagined, so beware, simplistic folks, beware of such Muslim Brotherhood schemes.
But I have hope that those who watchfully sat out the first revolution will not let anyone harm their country once more. The “Couch Party,” the majority of Egyptians, those who watched perturbed but didn’t budge during the first revolution, have gained a voice and a presence and will not let such an upheaval occur. They have learned their lesson the hard way.
The change that is taking place in this group is crystal clear. The nonchalant attitude is long gone; they care about Egypt, exhibit their love, and encourage others to become hard workers and devoted Egyptians.
Keen on lifting Egypt out of its difficult times, they promote and buy Egyptian products; they donate generously to Project Tahya Masr; they hail the Egyptian army and its martyrs, and they take pride in everything Egyptian. They effect change and demand attention.
Their voice and spirit are loud and clear. And these are the Egyptians, the majority, who will stand behind Egypt against the call for its destruction.
The writer is author of Cairo Rewind: The First Two Years of Egypt's Revolution.