Ten years ago, the Egyptians followed their neighbors in Tunisia, Syria and Bahrain to the streets to call for social, political and economic reforms. In Egypt, protesters demanded bread, increased freedom and social justice. What remains of their hopes, ten years after the revolution?
What started as a peaceful protest movement deteriorated rapidly.
According to official statistics, protests across Egypt left more than 500 dead and more than 6,000 injured among protesters.
Tahsin Baker is a photojournalist in Cairo. Baker describes the first moments of the January 25 revolution.
“Staff from the central security forces started beating the protesters with batons and I recorded their actions with my own camera. That day, I remember security forces arresting the Khaled Said Facebook page launcher Wael Ghonaim just outside the building of the Egyptian Journalists’ Union.
“In fact, clashes between protesters and security officers erupted on January 26. The next day the situation calmed down, while on January 28 the country experienced the biggest protests.
Frustration and disappointment
Zainab Ali is now a 37-year-old mother. She was one of the first protesters. Zainab says his motive for joining the revolution was simply his love for his country.
She is disappointed with the result.
“The idea is that all the regimes that came to power after the revolution had not applied the three main slogans of the revolution: bread, freedom and social justice. Egypt has remained unchanged ten years after the revolution, unfortunately.
Official economic indicators suggest that around 30 percent of Egypt’s population lives below the poverty line, as the country has supported massive foreign loans that have gone so far to finance projects like the second Suez Canal, housing, agricultural reforms, bridges and a civilian nuclear power plant.
Projects that do little to help people
Dr Wael Alnahhas is an economic expert. He says Egypt’s 105 million people have not benefited from state projects.
“We haven’t felt any improvement. Maybe only 10 percent of the Egyptian public have benefited from ongoing projects, such as infrastructure and the like. For example, so far we use the same power supplies, before 2011, because we did not benefit from the increase of 30,000 megawatts.
“We have also not benefited from the reclamation of agricultural land and grain warehouses. Until now, the country depends on the income from the tourism sector that existed before the 2011 revolution.”
Dr. Alnahhas adds that Egypt’s foreign loans could reach US $ 180 billion by the end of this year. He believes that what is needed is to engage in productive projects at the industrial, agricultural and technological levels.