Standing hand-in-hand (figuratively, of course) with thousands of demonstrators on Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Hollywood actor Sean Penn praised Egypt’s revolution while waving the country’s flag:
“The world is inspired by the call for freedom by the courageous revolution of Egypt. There are still struggles forward, there are constitutional issues, there [needs to be] a transition of power from the military to the people.”
In a bizarre scene, Penn joined activists and citizens who, once again, gathered in an effort to urge the military to speed up the transfer of power to civilians. These individuals, frustrated with current conditions, want to see the emergency laws that were once used by former leader Hosni Mubarak revoked. Al-Jazeera has more:
Activists said they expect thousands to join the protests, which they call “reclaiming the revolution”, amid growing discontent with the way the ruling military council has been managing the country’s transition.
The council has announced that parliamentary elections will start on November 28 with a mixed system of proportional representation and individual lists.
The Associated Press further explains these controversial Mubarak-era laws:
The much-hated laws give police almost unquestionable powers, and activists say they are to blame for much of the human rights abuse that occurred under Mubarak, who was ousted in February. […]
The latest criticism of the ruling military council also centers on a law governing the parliamentary election process that begins at the end of November. Critics say the law favors Mubarak-era officials. Activists and political parties are threatening a boycott.
Apparently, there’s fear among political groups that the system’s corruption will continue and that this will allow Mubarak supporters to find their way back into public office. For this reason, some apparently now view the revolution as “a danger.”
While Egyptians worry that Mubarak’s ranks will re-emerge, others fear the Muslim Brotherhood’s potential power grab. We have already covered the Brotherhood’s call for Sharia law in Egypt (oh, and the proposed ban on alcohol and bikinis).
Then, there’s the story about Dr. Salah Sultan, who has apparently called for the murder of “every Zionist who enters Egypt.” Experts, of course, are saying that the Arab Spring actually made the Brotherhood, which has become Egypt’s largest political force, stronger. Interestingly, the Brotherhood claims it will not be participating in the protest (who knows if this is actually true, though).
Revolutions are messy, as they take the “out with the old and in with the new” mantra and turn it into a painful reality. The new governance that is to come once power is handed over may be worse than the old. One wonders if Penn, among others, understands this potential danger.