By Rania Al Malky
Yesterday morning I wrote an editorial titled “Egypt: A Deadlock”, but by 6 pm, everything changed. In a minute long televised statement, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that President Hosni Mubarak had stepped down and assigned the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to run the country.
Everyone will remember this moment in their lives, the moment a tyrant was overthrown: from the mothers of the martyrs of the January 25 Revolution, to every Egyptian who was arbitrarily detained, whose rights were violated, who felt the scourge of injustice, poverty, humiliation and oppression.
For 30 years Egypt was bowed down by a ruthless regime that derived its legitimacy from the authority of a police force dedicated, not to the protection of the people, but of those in the circles of power. As the country descended into chaos, as all its institutions collapsed under the crushing weight of corruption, negligence and nepotism, Egyptians felt they had lost their dignity in a nation they could no longer call a homeland.
But all that changed on January 25. What happened from then till now is history.
But the profile of the average person on the street demanding the downfall of the regime was not what you’d expect. The recently revealed face of the revolution, Wael Ghonim, who was the mystery administrator of the “We Are All Khaled Saeid” Facebook group, that first called for the Jan. 25 protest, is no disenfranchised, marginalized, deprived young man battling all odds to muster the means to get married.
A Google executive living the dream in the Emirates with his wife and child, he is exemplary of many of the faces who remained in Tahrir Square, determined not to leave until Mubarak stepped down, despite a vicious attack by thugs affiliated to the ruling National Democratic Party on Feb. 2.
As Ghonim said in the first interview he gave when he was released after 12 days of arbitrary detention, this was first the “revolution of the internet youth, which then turned into the revolution of Egypt’s youth, which turned into the revolution of all Egyptians.”
It was a revolution where class barriers all came crashing down, where university professors were picking up garbage to clean the street, where young and old, rich and poor sat side by side making the same call in one breath, a call for change and an end to a decadent and black era in Egypt’s history.
But things won’t change overnight, the road ahead is long and full of challenges. February 11 is the start of a new beginning for this great nation with its great people who sacrificed a lot to make the change we have all been dreaming of.
And to all future rulers of this country, remember how Mubarak was ousted and beware that when we Egyptians rise, we are invincible.
Rania Al Malky is the Chief Editor of Daily News Egypt.