July 3, 2013 is another day to be remembered with much pride and joy in Egypt.

Egyptians are smiling again and wishing each other much congratulations (Mabrouk in Arabic) with hope for yet another chance to determine a democratic future for Egypt, saying to each other — “Welcome back ya Masr (Egypt) We missed you!”

The past four days have been a wake up call for people to descend into the streets with loud voices calling for the goals of the 2011 revolution, which were not realized: bread (in Arabic ‘eish means life is the word used for bread), freedom and social justice.

I have received many messages of support, respect and awe about the achievements of the Egyptian people. I have also heard skepticism from naysayers who predict doom and gloom, insisting that what Egyptians did yesterday was undemocratic and a betrayal of the ballot box.

Some have even accused me and other Egyptians of having a “hang over” from some metaphorical drinking binge and have predicted the pain we will face the “morning after.”

This is insulting to me and to all 33 million Egyptians who since the 30th of June have spent day and night in cities, towns, villages, squares, and streets of Egypt despite a massive “fear campaign” and violence from the former government and its allies.

I ask all those skeptics to please give us just one night of celebration before we must analyze, comment and attempt the folly of making predictions about Egypt’s future.

Whether you label these events as a coup d’etat it cannot be denied that millions of Egyptians were out in the streets making their voices heard and peacefully calling for fundamental rights.

As one individual put it, Egyptians “have the right to be angry…..it is very clear that the military did not over throw the Muslim Brotherhood or Morsi – the Egyptian people overthrew them, in a fight that started in November 2012.  If the President of a country refuses to listen to the demands of 33 million people that had taken to the streets in what was dubbed the world’s largest demonstration in the history of mankind, then how could the Egyptian people achieve their goals while remaining peaceful?”

Photo credit: Heba El-Shazli

Photo credit: Heba El-Shazli

Egyptians were mobilized by the Tamarod (Rebellion) petition campaign, which gathered over 22 million signatures asking for early presidential elections. As the campaign itself stated, “Since the arrival of Mohamed M0rsi to power, the average citizen still has the feeling that nothing has been achieved so far from the revolution goals which were life in dignity, freedom, social justice and national independence. Morsi was a total failure in achieving every single goal, no security has been reestablished and no social security realized, thus and gave clear proof that he is not fit for the governance of such a country as Egypt.”

On the 3rd of July, I joined my dear sister carrying our Egyptian flag, dressed in black, white and red. As we walked to Tahrir Square, we met several supporters who could not walk to the square and were in their own way lending support.

In contrast to protests on 30 June, there were several military and police vehicles parked on the side of the road waiting and watching.  We thanked them for their service and they wished us good luck.

One young lady was standing on the median in the middle of a major road by the Opera House waving a huge flag.  Another elderly gentleman was standing on a street corner holding his own homemade sign that said: “Egypt will always remain very dear to us.  I am with Islam and against the Brotherhood”.

We crossed the famed Kasr el Nil bridge with its sculptures of two lions flanked each side. More and more people joined in the march. To get into Tahrir, we had to go through a community patrol with a

Photo credit: Heba El-Shazli

Photo credit: Heba El-Shazli

light pat down and search of our bags.

Everyone was polite and courteous. We entered the square to chants calling for “Down with Morsi; Leave Morsi and take your legitimacy with you; Down with rule of the Brotherhood’s Guide (leader); and Long Live Egypt and May Allah protect her and her people”.

There were many homemade signs people’s expressing.  One stated that “they say that women’s voice is a sin — women’s voice is the revolution”.

I saw so many women in groups or with their families and children in the square – their presence was more than expected since the security situation had been so bad particularly against women.

We had such wonderful conversations for several hours waiting for the expiration of the military’s 48-hour deadline for President Mohamed Morsi to resolve the crisis.

We waited patiently until 9 pm and then the square suddenly went silent. You could hear a pin drop, as the Commander-in-Chief of the military, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced that Morsi was no longer president.

A thunderous cheer went out! The revolution had succeeded for a second time!

There were flags for as far as the eye could see. A young girl was wearing a dress made out of the Egyptian flag; many had flags draped around their shoulders or small flags made into hats. The Egyptian flag has been the main feature of this revolution all over the country – it represents the uniting symbol of a nation and a proud people.

Today is the beginning of a new chapter in Egypt’s long history made by and for the Egyptian people.  There is much to be done and many challenges ahead. First and foremost, we must draft a new constitution in the light of day; then organize elections for president and parliament ensuring a grassroots electoral campaign that is inclusive of all segments of society.

But until then one sentiment looms large: Welcome back Egypt, we missed you!


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