The vox populii, the voice of the people, has become the vox Alli, the voice of Allah, following the stepping down of long-time president Murbarak.
According to sociologist and adjunct lecturer at the Jamaica Theological Seminary, the Rev Peter Espeut, “The people of Egypt have decided that they have had enough of corruption, bogus elections and cronyism.” The historic demonstration has come close on the heels of parliamentary elections a few weeks ago in which Mubarak won by a landslide.
Of the 518 seats contested, President Mubarak’s party increased its majority from 330 to 420. the election was not under the supervision of any national court or observed by any international monitors, opening the door to bogus voting and various other irregularities which may have included “vote-buying, illegal campaigning at polling stations, exclusion of opposition supporters, especially those backing the Muslim Brotherhood, and discarded votes.”
The government under the Mubarak administration also cracked down on freedom of the press, and on October 19 last year, suspended the licenses of 12 TV channels, after a previous ban on five stations.
The pyramids of Egypt are the only surviving artifact of the magnificent seven wonders of the ancient world, and they are as fascinating as the history and politics of that country.
As the oldest superpower around today, Egypt has been through many and varied structures of governance, both as a people subject to others or as nation subjugating other peoples.
For example, recently a Jamaican Old Testament scholar, Dr Stephen C. Russell, has pointed out that in the sixteenth century BC, Asian foreigners ruled the country and were later expelled by Thutmose III. We are more familiar with the Egyptian hegemony of the then known world in which the Israelites were enslaved for a period not exceeding four hundred years.
This fact of Africans enslaving Asians for such a long period of time is seldom mentioned if any at all by those for whom Black History month is so vital. What is a pity, though, is that the Jewish people have made much of their Exodus from Egypt and their Exit from Babylon but those in the African Diaspora and in the motherland seem oblivious to the need to unify themselves around their common history of oppression.
This sad situation has made Marley’s call several decades ago for Africa to unite fall on deaf ears. But what is happening to Egypt today may be the catalyst to a pan-African political revival that will cause Marley and Garvey to turn in their graves with fulsome anticipation of a brighter future for the continent that many regard as the cradle of civilization.
For hundreds of years Egypt was ruled by a series of monarchs known as Pharaohs, a dynastic title which some scholars say means ‘Great House.’
The parallel with slavery in the Caribbean in the 18th century AD and that of the Jews in the 14th BC is difficult to miss: both the enslaved in Africa and in the African Diaspora chafed under the yoke of the Great House.
It is more than a bit ironic, therefore, that one lad recently carried a placard with the words ‘Egypt Better without Pharaoh!’
Other North African countries, like Tunisia and Algeria, are also flexing their political muscles. They and the rest of the world appear to be desirous of a new and lasting governance with integrity at its centre and which eschews violence and corruption. Jamaica’s own ‘Gyptian put things in lyrical perspective when he says:
These are some serious times
All I can see around us is just violence and crime
Full time for us to centralize, socialize and realize
To let the sun shine throughout everyday
Let the moon shine through the peaceful night
This seven times rise, seven times fall
But I don’t really believe in those falling things at all.