Celebrating Egypt’s New Future
"Congratulations, Egypt has returned to us," Egyptians cheered shortly after the country's armed forces overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood regime and ousted President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday. A sense of relief and joy was visible nationwide as millions came out from their homes to join together in a giant celebration that lasted into the early morning hours on Thursday.
Egyptians had come out in the millions on June 30 determined to topple a regime they believe had hijacked their revolution and had taken them through dark tunnels that only street demonstrations could rectify.
The celebration was taking place in all “liberation” squares across the country, which filled up to maximum capacity as celebrations erupted. Egypt was once more free from an oppressive leader.
Wednesday was a tense day. Millions of Egyptians who wanted Morsi removed had stayed in the streets since June 30, showing their strength and resolve for change.
Military tanks, armored vehicles and troops were deployed across the country and around the presidential palace ahead of the armed forces announcement on Wednesday that would put Morsi on the sidelines.
The head of the Armed Forces, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, said the president had failed to "meet the demands of the people.”
The president of the Supreme Constitutional Court Adly Mansour was sworn in on Thursday morning amid popular optimism that the early stages of the transition would be smooth and help reduce and end violence across the country.
This, in many ways, was a reconciliation between the people and the police and army.
Some fear the militarization of the state, but the armed forces seem to have recognized the damage the first transitional period did to its relations with the public during its one and a half year rule.
Even skeptics seem happy the Brotherhood chapter in Egypt is coming to a close.
Brotherhood leader and former Speaker of Parliament Saad al-Katatny, top Brotherhood official Khairat al-Shater and his deputies within the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) were arrested and many were taken to custody at the infamous Torah prison, known for its holding of political activists over the past few years.
Another 207 leading figures at the group were banned from leaving the country.
People are debunking the military coup idea pushed by the Brotherhood and mainstream international media outlets, arguing rather that a massive revolution had forced the army to intervene, especially after the continuing death threats targeted at protesters before June 30.
Morsi supporters had angry reactions to the former president’s ousting. Violence erupted after angry militants attempted to terrorize people.
Three people died in Alexandria and violent responses targeted churches in Minya and Assiut in Upper Egypt. Six people were reported dead in Marsa Matrouh along the northwestern coast. Another 70 injured in Fayoum highlighted the still tense situation facing the country.
The National Salvation Front (NSF), a conglomeration of opposition parties and movements, says there is still room for the future participation of Islamic groups in the political dealings of the country. But they also added that the will of the people would be upheld.
"We confirm our strong belief in the right of all political groups to express their opinions freely, and to form their own political parties. We totally reject excluding any party, particularly political Islamic groups," the NSF said in a statement on Thursday.
The roadmap for the transitional period in Egypt was reached with the full consent from all political and religious powers, who met with the military on Wednesday as armored vehicles deployed across the country to maintain the peace.
The meeting with al-Sissi included Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the NSF and a leading figure who has garnered much respect and popularity since returning to Egypt a year before the January uprising. The Wednesday meeting also included the head of al-Azhar, the Coptic Pope, and the Tamarod Movement – which had made June 30 the monumental day it was – among other groups and representatives representing all walks of life in the country.
As we Egyptians begin to look forward, it is hard not to think of how momentous the past few days have been. The hope and joy of people coming together to speak in a unified voice with one vision for the country cannot be diminished. Egypt has a lot of work to do in the coming months, but after two and a half years removed from the Mubarak era, the people have a voice. And they spoke loudly this week.
Manar Ammar is an Egyptian journalist.
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