The world’s attention is tuned to Egypt, were almost a quarter of a million gather to call the resignation of its 30-year ruling tyrant, 82 year-old Hosni Mubarrak. The president did a reshuffle of its cabinet at the height of the people’s protest. This is a desperate move to appease a nation that ceased to recognize authority and integrity from its ruling leader.
The protest have been running for a week and protesters are growing in number. There are various sentiments from the protesters, aside from their angst that Mubarrak was instrumental in the peace-relations with Israel, and his alliance with the United States in protecting the interest of the Jewish state. The Egyptian sentiment is a call for national transformation at the economic and social levels within the Arabic cultural context:
The Egyptian people see that a change in leadership can bring about political change and national transformation. This is their hope, and this is similar to what the Filipinos hoped for in the several EDSA revolts it had against three presidents. Every people’s uprising perhaps has the same hope, but it mostly lie within the heart and mind of the people. That hope in many cases have not been previously discussed, debated and questioned as to how it may be realized. So, not so many revolutions succeed in the end.
The protesters in Egypt gather to oust its president. It may succeed as long as they can hold their number, keep it growing and continue to mobilize the people for their call. But what’s next? Its politics and laws can restrict the transition towards putting in position a new leader to carry the same hope for the nation. Politically, if Mubarrak leaves his office, another will rise from his ranks or his government, which the people may not really like to be their leader. Then, what?
From, Deeb and Al-Salchi’s report, I can read the same clamor of my fellow Filipinos, quality education, corrupt-free government, respect to human rights and freedom. In our modern history, we have gone to so many revolutions of sort, but nothing much of the national transformation that we wanted ever took place. The local newspapers here says that the Philippine GNP has risen to 7.3 more than what the government expected.
Nevertheless, even before this GNP increase, when my salary increased, I haven’t felt any difference in our lives. The Filipinos are probably in a better economic position than the laborers of Egypt. At the basic, their people, just above or below the poverty line get 2$ a day. A beggar here earns like triple of that, and a basic laborer in our country is paid 10$ a day. Now what’s difference between our mendicants and our basic-paid labor?
National transformation needs political maneuvering. To steer our country in economic growth will require policies and political assertiveness. These policies that will advance the interest of the Filipino masses, apparently are against the interests of our bourgeoise bureucrats.
Just think of land reform, how many of our politicians are land owners? Think of socialized housing, how many of our politicians invests in construction and land development? Think of labor rights, how many of our politicians are businessmen themselves, or friends of business tycoons? Think of universal healthcare, how many of our politician have shares of stocks in the local huge insurance companies? Think of the concerns of women and the youth, fisherfolk and the indigenous, how many of them are there holding offices to resolve their issues?
National transformation remains ambivalent until genuine political change is imminent. Changing the faces of a country’s leadership is not a guarantee in bringing significant political change for national transformation.