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'Happy Birthday, Revolution' from the Muslim Brotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood focuses on the positives of Egypt's revolutionary year in the Tahrir commemoration of the uprising that brought the group to power; protesters call for the end of military rule

Farah Montasser, Thursday 26 Jan 2012
MB tahrir
Photo by Ikhwanweb

On the first anniversary of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched in cities throughout Egypt to call for the end of military rule. However, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) – the largest party in Egypt's new parliament – wanted to celebrate, and declared “Victory to the martyrs, and victory to all Egyptians," from the largest stage in Tahrir Square, the epicentre of last year's revolution.

From early morning on Wednesday, more than ten marches headed to Cairo's Tahrir Square to commemorate the revolution and counter celebrations planned by the Muslim Brotherhood and the armed forces. They chanted that the “revolution continues.”

The FJP stage in front of the Omar Makram Mosque played Abdel-Halim Hafez's patriotic songs from the reign of Gamal Abdul Nasser and others celebrating Egypt's victory over Israel in the 1973 Six October war. A particularly famous song was Bism Allah (In the Name of God), which evokes memories of Egyptian soldiers crossing the Suez Canal to drive Israel from the Sinai Peninsula.

Crowds gathered around the FJP stage to celebrate the revolution. Fireworks peppered the sky and one celebrant released a red helium balloon attached to a candle.

“Our presence in Tahrir is to celebrate the January 25 Revolution and declare that we support all of its goals… The Egyptian Revolution continues,” said their slogan on the stage.

On the main FJP stage in the square, the musical group Al-Nour performed Sout El-Gamaheer  (Sound of the People), and Ahmed Abu Shehab – described as the singer of the revolution by the FJP announcer – recited Malhamet El-Tahrir  (An Epic of Tahrir). The Al-Doha Band sang “Islam has returned to my country… Oh my fortuned country… Oh my Islamic country.”

The FJP also played a song entitled Gameela ya Misr  (Oh Beautiful Egypt), sung and written by Mohamed Esmat. The song documents all Egyptian revolutions, including those in Fatimid times, 1919 and 2011.

Poet Mohamed Eid took to the FJP stage to recite poems entitled Ana Masry (I am Egyptian), based on his personal experience, and Haneeni Ya Omi (Congratulate me, Mum), in which he congratulates Egyptians for the successes of the revolution so far. Haneeni Ya Omi received minimal cheers.

Despite the Muslim Brotherhood and the FJP's desire to celebrate the January 25 Revolution, the protestors chanted louder, calling for “freedom, justice, and social equality.” They insisted that their goals were unfulfilled and their revolution continued.

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