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Every generation needs a new revolution — Thomas Jefferson

It takes reason to create a stir, courage to defy power and endless hope to build a new tomorrow; but, it takes all of this and a lot more to alter the course of a nation’s destiny and mark it as a revolution. The unfolding of the events that started from Tunisia and spread across Egypt is not an account of a mere uprising against injustice and impoverished lives, but involves a far deeper cry of the people who have grown tired of being told how to live and be ruled in their own homeland. This revolution is rather more a reflection of how the world needs to function today. Why does absolute power need to be pulled out from its roots of corruption? This revolt points to the ultimate authority, which lies in a country’s citizens in the true sense. A number of criterions characterize this revolution as perhaps being the most instinctive, the most omnipotent and also the most widespread till date.

Firstly, Egyptian Revolution, as it has been termed, doesn’t salute any leader whose name can be inked in history forever. No name joins the ranks of the Napoleon Bonapartes, Vladimir Lenins, Martin Luther King Jr., Fidel Castros of history. This uproar speaks volumes about the power of the common man. RK Laxman’s anecdotes of the amused country citizen who witnessed everything yet silently traced his course through the harsh realities, took a new mantle altogether in the Middle-East. The people’s potential to upturn tyrannical political dynasties and bring change for the better is what actually defined; what it meant to have power in the hands of the general public. Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo for days following the attack on Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak’s thirty year old rule over Egypt. Even the military forces refused to attack the protesters considering that it had women and children alike. The force of masses was felt that time, as it shook the base of the nation’s rule altogether.

Secondly, this entire outbreak has been youth oriented from its inception. The younger generation demanding just livings and making attempts to re-enforce clean democracy, is one of the strongest highlights of this revolution. Twenty-six year old Tunisian, Mohammed Bouazizi, whose act of self-immolation against social injustice led to a series of protests in Tunisia, or the story of thirty-year old computer engineer Wael Ghonim, who became an international figure for organising the pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt underlines the growing angst among the youth particularly in these nations. The ‘April 6 Youth Movement’, an Egyptian Facebook group founded in 2008, has political bends with the focus being on restoring democracy, social justice, free and fair elections. All this points out how the younger generation has been the real force behind the actual turn of events. It highlights how young people are not only the future of a nation, but can also be the makers and lay the foundations of a better tomorrow altogether.

Also, it is this revolution that marks the use of internet as one of the biggest weapons in igniting its influence far and wide. The power of the web ushered into a new dimension altogether when videos and blogs about the turning events during the protests became viral. The role of Facebook, Twitter and blogs acted like arsenal against the Middle-East nations’ governments. Facebook pages like “We are all Khaled Saeed”, blogs detailing the rallies and demonstrations, and online networks connecting and updating people across Egypt and throughout the world, were one of the main reasons that made the revolution strong enough to shake the world. It was this growing power of the wireless that the governments took severe measures against. In an attempt to stop the frenzied online spread of dissent against Mubarak’s rule, not only social networking sites, but the entire internet was shut down overnight. Virtually all of Egypt’s internet addresses were made unreachable worldwide! It is evident how mighty has been the influence and how successful was the internet in garnering the required support across the globe.

This revolution thus stands as a revolt that tried to demolish the establishment of self-immersed dictators and acts as a key to the attainment of civic independence in places where civil progress has not grown a shred through all these years. An upheaval of emotions that struck these countries, self proclaims what might be termed as an uprising that withheld itself in the hope of lighting a fire to demand liberation from ruthless dictatorships. The turbulence that aimed at solely bringing secured democracies in shattered nations. Hopefully, a breath of privilege awaits these nations, which, despite all that is taking from their people to attain it, will ultimately restore the courage in the citizens to new path for a bright future altogether. This will be the revolution that will hold a place in history etched in people’s voice and not in a leader’s name.

Mariyam Raza Haider

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A journalist by training, Mariyam Haider is a writer and performance poet in Singapore.
She is the researcher of the book The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age written by James Crabtree.
Her writing has appeared in Hindustan Times, Livemint, Feminism In India, New Asian Writing and Kitaab.

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