The Truth Shall Set You Free…It might piss you off first, but it will set you free.

Reflections on the Egyptian Revolution – The Military and Hero Status

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 14, 2011

Egyptian man embraces the militaryI remember when I first saw the military entering into the streets of Cairo, I had foreboding feeling deep in the pit of my stomach.  The rumble of the tanks on the road made me fear the worst.  Certainly a sign of a regime in its final death throes,  a desperation move.  The fighter jets making my windows shake,  flying over  Tahrir Square so low the crowd could see the pilot.  Military helicopters circling the protesters in the Square.  The police had virtually disappeared, what was to come?  Was he going to unleash the military on the people and violently squash the voice of the people?  Yet, while the tanks were rolling into the city, the crowd was electrified shouting “the people and the army are one.”  I admit at the time I had my doubts.  The talk on the streets from the beginning said the fate of the country will be in the hands of the military, that seemed to be a foregone conclusion.

I was trying to get my head around what I was witnessing, some where in my life conditioning military tanks and protesters made for a violent outcome, not a love-fest.  As I engaged in conversations with friends and neighbors trying desperately to understand WHY they were finding comfort in seeing the military on the streets they gave me quite an education.  It is one thing to read history,  I knew the history of Egypt on an intellectual level,  but to talk to people who had actually lived through it, their experiences, the raw emotion puts it completely different slant on it.  Egyptians are by nature passionate people, the love for their country runs deep, to the core of their being.  As an older neighbor told me his views on modern Egyptian history, and his eyes well with tears as he recounted it, I began to understand.   He had lived through  he 1952 Revolution, where the British occupation and King Farouk were ousted in a coup d’état.   The 1967 War was viewed as a “humiliating” event for Egypt.  Nasser the President at the time, offered his resignation, saying he had failed the people.  The people took to the streets and demanded he stay.  During the years that followed the people supported the build up of the military, and the military restored Egypt’s sense of pride and dignity when in 1973  Sinai was liberated.  The people supported the military in failure and in now in victory, that bond is viewed as unbreakable. The overwhelming sense of  the military is from and of the people is firmly embedded in psyche of the Egyptian people.

The military has played a significant role in the history of modern Egypt:   all of Egypt’s modern day leaders have come up through the ranks of the military. Virtually every family in Egypt has a son serving in the military from one to three years depending on education and skill level, not to mention those who choose the military as a career. Everybody I spoke to had absolutely no doubt that the military would not turn on the people of Egypt.  I still had my doubts, and watched suspiciously as they took up positions.

I was on edge as I watched the military NOT moving in on the protesters.  I watched more tanks roll in, more troops trucks being deployed through out the city.  When they rolled into my neighborhood I could not shake the uneasy feeling that came over me.  I happened to be downstairs bringing my neighborhood watch team tea and cookies when a young army Captain came into the neighborhood.  He was smiling, his hand extended, the neighborhood erupted in cheers of welcome and praise.   He was greeted like a son,  he spent a few minutes, thanked the neighborhood watch for doing such a good job and offered some instructions.  When he left you could feel the bond, the trust.  A completely different atmosphere than the police received  from the citizens.  That is when it  hit me, the military is literally the only credible, trust worthy institution in the country.  The chants of the crowd began to make sense, and I noticed there was also an almost intuitive line that the crowd would not cross with the military.  While some  protesters near the end marched to one of the Presidential Palaces, they did not stay, it was almost as if they knew how far they could push as well.  Mubarak was still in theory the Commander in Chief and those soldiers around his palace were hand picked.

I stared in awe at people sleeping under the enormous tanks in Tahrir Square to prevent them from moving…surreal was the word that kept going through my mind.  I watched in amazement as people wrote messages on the tanks – No to Mubarak, No to Sulieman,  Down with Mubarak…

As the analysis continued on cable networks, some saying the military was divided, the old guard was not ready for change, and the up and coming young officers supported  the change, it made it increasingly difficult for me to determine who the military was going to support.  Ultimately it came down to a moral decision, this “revolution” was not a foreign country invading, it was the Egyptian people speaking.  The military was placed in some what of an awkward position, the Commander in Chief had a glorious military record, a hero as a matter of fact, and they wanted him to have a dignified exit.  Actually I believe the vast majority of the Egyptian people also wanted this, but that was not to be.  I remember when a highly placed General went into the crowd and told the people “Inshallah, you will have everything you asked”, this was before Mubarak’s last speech.  I truly believe that a deal had been brokered to give Mubarak a way out, and at the last minute the man who once said “I have a PHD in being obstinate” changed the speech.  Everybody was caught off guard, from the US to the Egyptian people and the military.  The military risked its credibility with the people when that General went into the protesters, not to mention what ever action occurred behind the scenes with various governments.

About 4 a.m. Friday morning I received along with the rest of the nation a message from the Military, informing us of an important announcement soon to come.  As Friday dawned, and the streets were so angry at a defiant Mubarak, memorial services were scheduled after Friday prayers, and a call had went out for more protesters to join.  Coptic Christians made sure that the world knew this was not an Islamic movement, they showed their support and offered Mass in the Square.  Two different religions, speaking with one very clear voice, we are Egyptian.  Make no mistake, the military is made up of both Christians and Muslims, but first and foremost, they are Egyptian.

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When it was announced that the Mubarak had resigned and the military was in charge, there was literally a collective sigh of relief, and at the same time a deafening cheer rocked the country.  The military is a safe institution for Egyptians, they are respected, and to date they have done exactly what they said they would do.  While to the Western mind the military conjures up all kinds of fears, I can assure you this is not the case in Egypt.  The military members are the sons of Egypt.

In a series of statements below the Supreme Council of the Armed forces in short, has suspended the constitution, which given the way it was written there was no ability to have free and fair elections, so it was absolutely useless in going forward.  It has reaffirmed all of the international treaties, which should put Israel at ease, it has called for people to go back to work – this is critical that this country resume business.  Throughout the process they have continually reaffirmed a transition to democracy, free and fair elections.  There is no “democracy in a box”, we as Americans forget that when our country started we were not in agreement, a constitution had to be hammered out.   The chatter I hear about there is no constitution, nothing has changed it is unfounded.  Things are not nice and tidy in a revolution, but unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, this is change is coming from within, give Egypt a chance and you will be amazed at what she can do.


The 6th Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ( Feb 14,2011)


In light of the current conditions in the country, and the Armed Forces responsibility for the protection of the people who have demanded their legitimate rights, and now that, with God’s help, conditions are now appropriate to facilitate the democratic process through the issuing of a constitutional proclamation that will guarantee constitutional and legislative amendments that will realize the legitimate demands of the people for a true democratic environment. Nonetheless, it has been noticed that in certain sectors of the state demonstrations have been organized even though normality has been restored, and under conditions where it is expected that all groups and sectors of society would work together to support this positive progress and the efforts of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to realized the ambitions and aspirations of the people. Honorable Egyptians regard these demonstrations taking place at a critical moment as leading to negative consequences, including:First: Harming national security by disturbing all the institutions and the agencies of the state. 

Second: Negatively impacting the ability to supply the public with necessary goods.

Third: Disturbing and disrupting production and operations in the state.

Fourth: Delaying the public’s day-to-day life.

Fifth: Negatively impacting the national economy.

Sixth: Creating an atmosphere that gives the opportunity to irresponsible persons to commit illegitimate acts, a situation that requires that all citizens to work together to stabilize the country and prevent further impacts on the national economy and its development.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces with a view to achieving the security and stability of the nation and the people, and to guarantee the restoration of operations in all institutions of the state, calls on citizens and professional and labor unions to fulfill their respective duties, while recognizing the difficulties which they have long faced. We hope that everyone will work to create the necessary conditions to deal with this critical phase until authority is transferred to a legitimate and popularly elected civilian authority that will be responsible for democratic and developmental progress.

God is the source of success and support.

The 5th Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (on Saturday, Feb 13/2011)

(still looking for a good translation)

The Supreme Council of Armed Forces announced on Sunday the suspension of constitution and the dissolution of the People’s Assembly and Shura Council.

In a communiqué number five broadcast live on state television, the council decided to form a committee to draft a new constitution for the country.

It said it would run the affairs of the country on a temporary basis for six months or until the end of parliamentary and presidential elections, promising a referendum on political reforms.

The communiqué said the military would form a panel to rewrite the constitution, which effectively locked down power for the National Democratic Party (NDP), and submit it to a referendum.

The statement also confirmed that the chairman of the supreme military council, Minister of Defence and Military Production Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, is now the de facto head of state and represents Egypt on the international stage.

According to the statement, the Supreme Council for Armed Forces promised to abide by all regional and international treaties Egypt had signed.

The 4th Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (on Saturday, Feb 12/2011)

In the name of God the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

The fourth statement of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,

In light of the conditions that exist in the country, and the difficult times that have placed Egypt at a juncture that demands of us all to defend the stability of the nation, and the achievements of the people; And due to the fact that the current phase requires a reordering of the priorities of the state with the objective of meeting the legitimate demands of the people, and of delivering the nation from the current situation; And as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is aware that the rule of law is not only necessary for the freedom of the individual, but rather it is the only legitimate basis for authority; And with determination, clarity, and faith in all our national, regional and international responsibilities, and with recognition of God’s rights and in the name of God, and with His support, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announces the following:

First: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is committed to all matters included in its previous statements.

Second: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is confident in the ability of Egypt’s people and institutions to get through this critical situation, and to that end, all agencies of the state, and the private sector must play their noble and patriotic role to drive the economy forward, and the people must fulfill their responsibility towards that goal.

Third: The current government, and governors shall continue as a caretaker administration until a new government is formed.

Fourth: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces aspires to guaranteeing a peaceful transition of authority within a free and democratic system that allows for the assumption of authority by a civilian and elected authority to govern the country and the build of a democratic and free state.

Fifth: The Arab Republic of Egypt is committed to all regional and international obligations and treaties.

Sixth: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces calls on the great people to cooperate with their siblings and children in the civilian police forces, for affection and cooperation must exist between everyone, and it calls on the civilian police forces must be committed to their slogan “the police serve the people”.

God is the source of success.


The 3rd Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (on Friday, Feb 11/’11 – about 10pm Cairo time)

At this historical juncture in the history of Egypt , and in light of the decision by President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak to relinquish the office of the presidency of the Republic and the tasking of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces with the administration of the affairs of the nation , and with awareness of the seriousness of the demands of our great people everywhere for fundamental change , the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is examining this matter, asking the aid of God Almighty, to fulfill the aspirations of our great people. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will issue further statements that will announce forthcoming steps, measures and arrangements, and it affirms at the same time that it is not a replacement for the legitimacy that is acceptable to the people.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces extends its highest salutations and appreciation to President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak for his services over the course of his career in war and peace, and for the patriotic decision he took in choosing the supreme interests of the nation. In this respect, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces extends its highest salutations and admiration to the souls of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the freedom and security of their country, and to every one of our great people. May God grant us success.

May God’s Peace, mercy and blessing be upon you.

The 2nd Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (on Thursday, Feb 11/’11 – about 4pm)

Due to the consecutive developments in current incidents and which define the destiny of the country, and in context of continuous follow up for internal and external incidents, and the decision to delegate responsibilities to the vice president of the country, and in belief in our national responsibility to preserve the stability and safety of the nation.

The Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces decided to secure the implementation of the following procedures:

First: End the state of emergency as soon as the current circumstances are over.

Decide on the appeals against elections and consequent measures.

Conduct needed legislative amendments and conduct free and fair presidential elections in light of the approved constitutional amendments.

Second: The Armed forces are committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people and achieving them by following on the implementation of these procedures in the defined time frames with all accuracy and seriousness and until the peaceful transfer of authority is completed towards a free democratic community that the people aspire to.

Third: The Armed Forces emphasize on no security pursuit of the honest people who refused the corruption and demanded reforms, and warns against touching the security and safety of the nation and the people. And emphasizes the need for regular work in state facilities and regaining of life to normal to preserve the interests and possessions of our great people.

God protect the nation and the people.

The 1st Communiqué of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces(On Thursday, Feb 10/’11 – about 5pm)

Statement of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
Based on the responsibility of the Armed Forces, and its commitment to protect the people, and to oversee their interests and security, and with a view to the safety of the nation and the citizenry, and of the achievements and properties of the great people of Egypt, and in affirmation and support for the legitimate demands of the people, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convened Thursday, 10 February 2011, to consider developments to date, and decided to remain in continuous session to consider what procedures and measures that may be taken to protect the nation, and the achievements and aspirations of the great people of Egypt.


One Response to “Reflections on the Egyptian Revolution – The Military and Hero Status”

  1. […] Reflections On The Egyptian Revolution – The Military And Hero …Ultimately it came down to a moral decision, this “revolution” was not a foreign country invading, it was the Egyptian people speaking. The military was placed in some what of an awkward position, the Commander in Chief had a glorious ……[Read More about Egypt Revolution Military ] […]

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