Dr. Abdul Mawjoud Dardery, a member of the Egyptian parliament, will be speaking at Seton Hill University (SHU) today. His lecture entitled “Is the Arab Spring still blooming? and what does this mean for America?” explores the revolutionary movement of protests and wars that started in the Arab world on December 18, 2010.
“I don’t like to call it the ‘Arab Spring’ as it gives the meaning that it might be followed by winter or summer and then it is over,” said Dardery. “I prefer to call them enduring Arab Revolutions. As they were real revolutions against decades of corruption, injustice, and despotism which were the main causes behind those revolutions.”
The people of Egypt had their first revolution on January 25, 2011.
“The first revolution was to seek their freedom to live in a democratic society, freedom of speech, equality among each other under the law, respect for humanity and for a president to take office every four years just like in the States,” said Mariam Shenouda, a junior biology major and international student from Egypt. “However, it went in the wrong direction, and the power became under a religious power, represented by the Muslim brotherhood.”
In regards to religious freedom in Egypt, Dardery said, “There is enough agreed upon platform where followers of all religions can come to common terms to work together against corruption and social injustice.”
Dardery doubts that the Arab Spring could have been prevented “because Arab people suffered from deteriorating political, economic, social conditions under the despotic regimes which kept putting more pressures on their people without any respect for their rights or dignity.”
“I do not think that America will face the same fate as Egypt because America supports democracy and respects our rights. And President Obama is on our side with protecting our rights as US citizens,” said Shenouda.
“Whether America can face a similar situation, this is specifically up to the American people to decide but there is a general principle in life when there is oppression humans will always resist,” said Dardery.
Egypt has recently started using presidential election, their first presidential election being held in 2005. Dardery said, “…we hope we get the best out of the American democracy and leave its negatives behind us. We will resist corporate democracy and we would like to have people make their free choices without being controlled by the rich or by the media.”
Shenouda said, “many protesters are being thrown in jail for being against the current president Mohammad Morsi. And he also banned the work of the supreme court for a while and interfered with the power of the judges. However, the people of Egypt will not stop fighting toward their freedom until they have it.”
“In my opinion I will stand beside the youth who are protesting and fight for our freedom. And live in the democratic society that we dream about,” said Shenouda.