It was past midnight when the news broke out that Mubarak stepped down. I kept myself busy curating the reactions from the Egyptians as they celebrated in Tahrir Square. You can actually feel their joy, as seen in the faces of the revolution. While most of the tweets in the Philippines dealt with the memories of EDSA 1, I felt the day belonged to the people of Egypt. I purposely didn’t place any reference to our own People Power 25 years ago. It is their moment.
Our President issued a statement with reference People Power as most Filipinos felt that day:
The Filipino people welcome the relatively peaceful resolution to Egypt’s political crisis. Egypt’s “People Power” transition shows that the aspirations for a more free and fair society are universal. As Filipinos did in 1986, Egyptians must now begin the work of rebuilding their institutions. We stand in solidarity with Egypt and all people who long for peaceful and meaningful change.
Not that I want to rain on their parade, but I felt a bit apprehensive. Indeed, we removed a dictator but where are we? The country is run by the same old elite, traditional politicians though there is a rise of new ones. Corruption in the Philippines has only turned worse and poverty still persists.
I share the same apprehension with Bong:
The euphoric, proud, jubilant mood reduces the vigilance on what matters – the policy environment which sustained the existence of the autocrat in the first place.
While Aquino states that Egypt’s “people power” transition shows that the aspiration for a more free and fair society is universal. Aspiration does not necessarily translate to execution without the accompanying introspection, exertion and perspiration. Egypt is full of aspirations. And it remains to be seen whether the people of Egypt will follow through. After all, the Filipinos were the darling of the world in 1986 for having ousted Marcos “bloodlessly”. I really wonder if the “bloodless” applied because the revolution didn’t reach the tipping point without the conscious efforts by highly motivated advocates who laid down the groundwork – and paid for it with their lives.
I only hope developments in Egypt bring about democratic reforms and positive improvements they have been seeking for.
Here are twitter reactions that compared Egypt’s revolt with that of EDSA 1.