When analyzing the countries of the Arab Spring, and the uprisings that have sparked revolution throughout the nations, Egypt’s 2011 revolution provides an interesting case of the less commonly discussed aspect of revolution: the aftermath. During the Egyptian revolution in 2011, the historic Tahrir Square became the center of protest, community, and change. Tahrir Square is physically central to the countries capital, Cairo. Its physical centrality created the perfect environment for the Square to become politically central as well. As action began to take place in the Square, news spread rapidly. The location provided a point where thousands of people could gather and become physically and politically unified in their mission to remove President Mubarak from power. However, while the events of the Square are fascinating to study and reflect on for the protest’s unity and focused mission, the way the revolution changed after Mubarak stepped down raises the often ignored question of how to rebuild and remain unified after the revolution has succeeded.
Following Mubarak’s removal from office, the unity and camaraderie of the Square protests quickly shifted. While the protesters of various faiths, political beliefs, and family backgrounds shared a common revolutionary goal, they differed greatly in their ideas for what should come next. The Square was seen as a global symbol of success and hope for grassroots efforts. However, this symbol quickly changed in the aftermath. As members of the Muslim Brotherhood began calling for the creation of an Islamic state and flooded the Square, protests turned more violent. The now police-ran government began controlling and silencing the protests that once seemed unstoppable. Dozens were killed and thousands were injured. The revolution in Egypt should not be forgotten. The story reminds nations globally of the value of grassroots unity, and has proven that the people can change structures that seem all powerful. However, the story also reveals that the revolution does not end when the power structure falls. Instead, revolution can become even more necessary, as a vacancy in power is waiting to be filled and it is critical to ensure the changes desired are the changes made. Egypt’s uprisings also reflect the challenges in revolution, and the way that a united front can faction rapidly. As discussed in class, democracy and government are not guaranteed or constant. Similarly, the revolution in Egypt reminds us that peace, justice and revolution require constant attention, because they too can change or disappear in the blink of an eye.