Montgomery County Community College History Professor Tom Kolsky says the revolution that toppled former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime earlier this month was no big surprise. He says resentment against the government was building for a long time.
“There were a number of uprisings in the past, but there was an important noise in 2005, and then in the last election when the Muslim Brothers and their allies received no seats, it was obvious that the Mubarak people were rigging the election, and then the events in Tunisia showed them that their strongman may be resting in a house of cards.”
He says the January revolution in a small country of little importance encouraged revolutionaries in the Middle East’s largest and most important country, and it succeeded because it was led by educated young people who had no money, no influence and no future if conditions stayed as they were.
“You have a lack of economic opportunity in Egypt. You have a country which has been developing very fast, but you have a social differentiation where many groups did not succeed in partaking of the prosperity. You have many lawyers, for example, who cannot find jobs, and so you have people who are educated, who are aware of things, but don’t have the opportunities, and so you see a frustration in a blocked elite that cannot move forward.”
He says the military controls Egypt now, and he cannot predict what the future will bring, but a lot of the officers were trained by the American military, some have visited the United States, and a little democracy may have rubbed off on them.
“They might be satisfied keeping their positions in the military with some privileges and allow civilians to run the show, but they might stay behind the scenes as kind of a semi-puppeteer.”
Doctor Kolsky says Egypt could end up with another repressive regime, but times change, and it could also become at least a partial democracy. He appeared Wednesday on the WNPV talk program Comment Please by Univest.