NEWPORT BEACH – A year ago, Egyptians of all ages and religions took to the streets and, in just 18 days of relatively peaceful protests, removed a regime that had ruled over them with an iron fist for 30 years. Empowered by an impressive yet leaderless movement – largely of young people – the country’s citizens overcame decades of fear to reclaim a voice in their future.
While much has been achieved since those euphoric times, Egypt’s revolution today is, unfortunately, incomplete and imperfect – so much so that some now doubt whether it will fully succeed. I believe that the doubters will be proven wrong.
Over the last year, Egyptians have voted in their first free and fair parliamentary elections. They have discovered and used freedom of expression in a way that, not so long ago, would have been deemed unthinkable. Participation in civic activities is on the rise. And Egyptians are learning a lot about who they are as a society, and what they can achieve collectively.
For the first time in decades, millions of Egyptians now feel that they “own” their country, and that they are directly responsible for its well-being, and for that of future generations. This is a priceless accomplishment for a country that had underachieved on so many fronts for so many years, in the process losing its self-confidence, failing to meet its considerable economic and social potential, and falling in international development rankings.