Revolution Hijacked


With over 50 new political parties, the upcoming round of elections draw many candidates to Tahrir Square each week hoping to influence the voters.




“ABC Foreign Correspondent” – 01/11/2011, Story by Michael Knight


“I do have one regret, that on the 11th of February, we accepted to leave the square. Maybe we should have stayed.” – Salma el Tarzi, documentary maker and protester.

“Salma in the Square”, broadcast in February, was one of Foreign Correspondent’s most memorable stories this year. As protesters occupied Tahrir Square in central Cairo, refusing to leave in the face of violence, threats and intimidation from the regime of Hosni Mubarak, we were there, following the drama through the eyes of a charismatic young rebel, Salma el Tarzi.

Like so many others, our crew was beaten by pro-government thugs and detained by military police. Protesters were shot, beaten and injured.

For eighteen long days and nights no-one knew whether the revolution would succeed. Eventually President Mubarak stepped down. The Egyptian Army stayed neutral; the people had triumphed, or so they thought.

Now we’re back in Egypt to see what the revolution has delivered.

Despite military promises to supervise a quick transition to democracy, that hasn’t happened. Instead we’ve seen state-sponsored thuggery, the reimposition of censorship, and thousands of military trials where people convicted have no right of appeal.

Our crew was on hand on two occasions when Coptic Christians and Muslim allies clashed with military and police near the government television station.

In the second clash at least 27 people were killed and three injured. Foreign Correspondent was one of the few media teams able to enter the Coptic Hospital morgue where the dead, many of them squashed by armoured personnel carriers, had been brought.

“You know the army council is trying to kill the revolution.” – Bothaina Kamel, former newsreader and now presidential candidate

Amid the bloodshed and trouble there are signs of hope as well. Visit Tahrir Square and you’ll find a democratic nursery, full of passionate speakers and throbbing sound systems selling the merits of just some of Egypt’s fifty new political parties.

Bothaina Kamel and Salma el Tarzi are just two of many women who now have a voice and a more prominent role in the new Egypt. Kamel has begun campaigning for a presidential election which may be as far off as 2013.

And we meet Ghalia Mahmoud, formerly a humble housewife, now Egypt’s latest television sensation, with her own cooking show featuring local cuisine.

“The old regime did not want to show on TV that 90 per cent of the population eat this kind of food. They always had these high class programs, trying to show the rest of the world that Egyptians are always eating turkey, lamb, and lobster. They didn’t want to show the real Egypt.” – Ghalia Mahmoud, television chef

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Broadcast: 01/11/2011

Reporter: Ben Knight

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