Friday, February 18th the crowd in Tahrir Square was estimated to be close to 3 million people. They have all responded to a call from the young revolutionaries.
The objectives of the mass gathering were to celebrate the VICTORY of January 25th to remember those who sacrificed their lives to free Egypt from an authoritarian regime.
Furthermore, they reiterated their demands for reforms such as:
. The release of political prisoners
. The lifting of emergency law and curfew
. The replacement of Prime Minister Shafiq’s cabinet which
still consists of the previous regime’s ministers
. The dissolution of the National Democratic Party (NPD), which has always rigged the parliamentary elections
. The drafting of a new constitution replacing that of 1971 which put 60% of the government power in the president’s hands
. The creation of a parliamentary government in which the prime minister is elected rather than appointed by the president
. The inclusion in the constitution of the terms, FREEDOM of EXPRESSION, EQUALITY and SOCIAL JUSTICE
Sheikh Youssef el Qaradawi, chairman of the Association
of International Muslim Scholars, led the Friday noon prayer.
He began by blessing the young revolutionaries, the
Egyptian people in general, and the military forces for their
support of the revolution. He further extended his blessing and
admiration of Muslims and Christians who stood side by side in
support of the revolution. Qaradawi then stressed the peaceful
aspect of this revolution that became a model admired all over
Qaradawi could not prevent himself from interjecting a
wishful political request. He hoped that the military forces
would open the gate between Gaza and Egypt in order to ease
the hardship the Palestinians are facing in Gaza.
In my opinion, Qaradawi’s speech can be equated to Dr. Martin
Luther King’s famous speech in the 1960s. However, a note of
criticism should be added to what happened after Qaradawi’s
sermon. His body guard prevented Wael Ghoneim, a principal
instigator of the revolution, to reach the platform and address
the crowd! This was a blunder from Qaradawi’s entourage. One
wonders if he himself was aware of it.
The rest of day was spent joyfully and in a celebratory mood.
The army was distributing the Egyptian flags to the crowd amassed in Tahrir square. Music was blasting in every corner
and people were singing in unison all types of songs. This
celebration was repeated in many other Egyptian cities.
Today, Sunday February 20th, banks are resuming their work, and some private schools are open. There seems to be a return to some normality. Let us hope that the transitional government fulfills its promise for reforms and to abolish all corruptions.