Saturday, October 21,  2017

Life

Mankind and History

BY Manal Fawzy

The Egyptian identity that is as old as time has left its mark on its descendants across the ages, sowing in them the genes of patience, opposition to injustice, and the capacity for change which can light the spark of revolution.


If history could speak it would dispel the false notion that it repeats itself, because history is a series of events that happened in the past and cannot be “brought” back. It is mankind that has been repeating itself over and over since the time of Adam (peace be upon him), and it is mankind that will continue to do so throughout the ages and up until the Day of Reckoning. 


The sequence of events leading up to the first Egyptian revolution in the 23rd Century B.C. (during the reign of King Pepi II – the last monarch of the Sixth Dynasty) and the last revolution in the 21st Century A.D. (against ousted President Mubarak, the Revolution of January 25th, 2011) make analogies between the two inevitable with respect to causes, events, outcomes, because the Egyptian identity that is as old as time, has left its mark on its descendants across the ages, sowing in them the genes of patience, opposition to injustice, and the capacity for change which can light the spark of revolution.


King Pepi II reigned for a long period of time, until he was 90 years old. Similarly President Hosni Mubarak was nearly 90 when his rule came to an end. Both men’s senility drove them to relinquish hands-on involvement in the government, allowing their entourage and aides to take power and cement their influence. The wealthy (provincial rulers/ entrepreneurs)Egypt's history is full of transformations separated by slumps. After each slump everyone believed that Egypt had collapsed and would never recover


assumed decision-making positions, and nepotism ran rampant in all state affairs during their rule, which led to undermining the state’s social structure and altering its natural composition. There were no standards for competence and efficiency, sycophantism and hypocrisy were the norm, the gulf between the haves and the have-nots became wider and a select few exploited the country’s riches.


Just as Pepi II and provincial rulers spent extravagantly on the construction of tombs and cemeteries and allocated enormous endowments to cover their expenses, Mubarak squandered vast sums of money and his entourage and kin looted the country. He also appointed mouthpieces in the visual, printed and audio media to extol and flatter him, and he built countless edifices and projects to which he fixed marble plaques praising his rule and for which time has ultimately exposed the real motivations behind all the projects he built. Hence the Pepi II/ Mubarak state was economically bled dry until it was barely able to meet its commitments and responsibilities.


It was at this point that Egyptians reached breaking-point as a result of their grievance and oppression and set their minds on immediate change and rebellion. They felt that freedom (political rights), equality (social rights), justice (economic rights) and dignity and integrity (human rights) were all natural rights (ordained by heaven and obstructed by the tyrannical despot) that had to be achieved.


And when the spark was lit it ignited a powerful revolutionary blaze in the capital city Memphis/ Cairo whose flame spread to the remaining provinces/ governorates until it almost consumed the whole of Egypt as the revolutionaries rose up against Pepi II/ Mubarak. But due to the revolution’s lack of a wise leadership, the mob/ thugs (and others like them who lost their sense of awareness and adopted ignorance as a way of life) exploited the political and security vacuum leading to chaos and mayhem. State properties were looted and destroyed along with the symbols of sovereignty and authority.  The thirst for vengeance permeated all activities of life and everyday life came to a grinding halt and people lost their sense of safety and security and Egypt was brought to the brink of complete collapse.        


In spite of all of these negative aspects of the former and latter revolutions, the winds of change (which Egyptians are accustomed to stirring up when they feel the ruler is being tyrannical and corrupt) bore fruit and spurred a number of positive changes. Whereas the king/ president had been considered a god and the center of the worldly universe, the By returning to the first revolution against Pepi II, we find that the transitional period lasted roughly a century but the milestones of the road to success became clear and well-established. revolutions against them and their aides shattered the aura of invincibility and sanctity that surrounded their “court” and removed the fear barrier between the people and their ruler. The rulers became the subject of mockery and they were questioned by the true sovereign (the people) who, as a result of their growing political and humanitarian awareness, asserted their right to question the rulers and to call them to account for their crimes, and those committed by their aides and kin. A barrage of criticism targeted and haunted them, with Pepi II being forced to abdicate and Mubarak ending up being imprisoned and subjected to interrogation. 


Both revolutions resemble each other in the sense that they paved the way such that future rulers had to meet new requirements and engender new personal attributes; such as having to act in the capacity of an obedient servant of the people and a custodian of their interests and a protector of national interests, as well as making sure to employ just and competent staff in their governments, instead of minions or remnants of the old regime.


By returning to the first revolution against Pepi II, we find that the transitional period lasted roughly a century but the milestones of success became clear and well-established; royalty became less removed from the general population and kings dedicated themselves - temporarily - to serving the people who had brought them to power and entrusted them with the responsibility of leadership. High moral values replaced base materialistic values and being descended from the people became an honor claimed by everyone competing for the throne of Egypt.


We find a clear example of this in King Kheti III’s (who rose to the throne in the Tenth Dynasty – during the transitional period) instructions to his son: “Do not put your trust in the years and longevity of life because life is but an hour and when you arrive at the gates of death your deeds will be put beside you as if they were your sole possessions, so be fair and just so your name will become immortal. y. Do not discriminate between a nobleman’s son and a poor man’s son. Base your choice of employees on their competence and provide adequately for your staff’s needs because chastity, dignity, integrity, decency and the capacity to execute your orders and commands cannot be maintained by hungry men striving to satisfy their hunger before dealing with the affairs of other people.”  


I swear that the great people who managed to establish justice and equality approximately 2000 years B.C. and centuries before the birth of Moses (peace be upon him) can accomplish these objectives today—God willing. These same people have taken their first steps on the road to freedom, equality and dignity. Egypt’s history is full of transformations separated by periods of dormancy. After each period of dormancy everyone believed that Egypt had collapsed and would never re-awaken or recover. But soon enough the darkness dissipated and a new awakening began, giving fresh hope to the world.  


 Today is so much like yesterday – it is the people not history repeating themselves!!

 



READ MORE BY:  Manal Fawzy

 

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