Even though political injustice may have triggered the revolution in Egypt, another important cause was the stagnant economy. The difficulty of the family of my sister Hala illustrate that.
My sister Hala has two sons, Shawki 29, and Sameh 31 are college graduates like many young men in Egypt, they cannot find jobs. Hala’s two daughters, Samia 32, married with three children, and Sonia 26, a college graduate as well. Sonia has accepted a job with monthly pay of less than one hundred dollars, not so much for the joy of working, but for an opportunity to meet a suitable young man for marriage.
Hala’s family is representative of most middle class families in Egypt. No matter how hard life is, a college education is a priority. Parents struggle financially to provide their children with a college diploma in the hope that it will one day help them achieve financial security.
Khalid Saiid was one out of the young generation that suffered under the deposed president Mubarak. His regime oppressed and suffocated their aspirations. Mubarak, his son Gamal, and the government of Ahmed Nazeef looted the country. They controlled and distributed its wealth among themselves, their families and friends. They controlled the people of Egypt with 1.5 million secret police working for the Ministry of Interior. Young people were routinely arrested, tortured and thrown into prison and die without informing their parents.
Fear kept my sister’s generation quiet and the generation before her. Mubarak ruled Egypt for 30 years, and prepared his son Gamal to take over. Not only did he rule Egypt with an iron fist, but he amended the constitution to make himself a supreme ruler and his son the rightful heir to Egypt.
For years resentment and discontent brewed at a slow pace. But when the middle class disappeared, the discontent reached the boiling stage. Poverty hit every Egyptian family not connected to Mubarak’s regime. The generation witnessed in silence the suffering of their parents as they struggled to provide them with education, computers and a comfortable life style.
The parent’s efforts paid back. The generation descendant from the great Pharaohs rose to the greatness of their ancestry on Janary 25, 2011.