Cairo – March 2011
Despite the fact that we are still looking over our shoulders in a desperate need to understand the reasons for the past, we must all be aware that we are now at a place where we can never turn back, and so together we must all make a pledge that we shall always march forward. We Egyptians must move ahead, hand in hand, knowing wholeheartedly, that our destinies are forever linked, and that united, our dreams can come true.
We have a solemn obligation never to forget the past 60 years which resulted in, and led to, the events which we participated in, on January 25th 2011. When our nation’s men, women and children from every walk of life, Muslims and Christians, old and young, rich and poor alike, put themselves in harm’s way so that our future generations would have the opportunity to grow up in a new Egypt, democratic and free. This obligation is not only to those who fought and died for our rights in “Tahrir Square”, but also to all those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of this country in wars which won us back our lost lands and with them, restored our dignity.
For decades, good, honest and decent Egyptians have stood up one by one against consecutive regimes of oppression, but only when we all stood up together, were our voices heard, screaming that we will no longer accept the imposed policies of the past, nor will we accept to live with uncertainty for our future and that of Egypt’s posterity.
With all great Egyptians, come simple aspirations; aspirations that no child shall go to bed unfed or go to school with their feet bare, and will be protected from any harm, illnesses, abuse, poverty, illiteracy and ignorance; that a poet can recite his or her words in public or behind closed doors, and a reporter cover “the story”, without being dragged from their beds in the middle of the night; where small ideas turn into large businesses as a consequence of determination and hard work rather than the result of corruption, favoritism or unfair business practices; that all of us can participate in a fair and transparent political process without fear of persecution, and forever retain our right to vote, and most importantly, are guaranteed that our votes will make a difference.
In only 18 days, my younger brothers and sisters achieved more than what my father’s generation or mine have ever achieved in the past 60 years, because we have always been the “unheard minority”, while today they are the “vocal majority” with more than 50% of Egypt’s population still under the age of 30.
Yet history has always taught us, that the role of protest movements is not necessarily to provide solutions; it is their job to be critical and it is their duty to speak out, and ours to listen and act accordingly and responsibly.
The responsibility then falls upon our shoulders, as the educated and intellectuals, those with strong Egyptian roots, experiences, qualifications and good intentions, and those with Egypt’s and its peoples’ best interest at heart. In response to those calls for change, we must lead the way in proposing a new road map which will meet the demands of the people and guarantee a better future for Egypt.
My intention to run for president of Egypt in 2016, may be met with great skepticism, cynicism and criticism, but in my opinion, such sentiments would only apply in “the Egypt” of the past, while I intend to run for president in “the Egypt” of the future. Where by then, a candidate such as myself would have the freedom, right and equal opportunity to come forward to compete in a free, transparent, and fair election.
By: Ashraf Mohamed Naguib