Egypt today appears to be a rudderless ship, sailing into unchartered and murky waters and, crucially, without a captain. This ship must also struggle against stormy seas, with around 90 million passengers on board. In a country where poverty and unemployment prevailed even before the revolution which overthrew Mubarak, this is clearly no easy task. But it is now patently clear that the current leadership is not up to the challenge. On top of the dire state of the economy, chronic problems persist in virtually every aspect of life. Tourism, which once offered such a vital lifeline to the country, shows no signs of improving since the 2011 uprising. This is in large part due to the seemingly total collapse in security, with acts of vigilante justice increasing in worrying frequency.
The police continue to strike intermittently, and their often aggressive actions have led many to demand the army take control, as it did recently in Port Said.
Although both parties deny it, the Muslim Brotherhood appears to be intent on capitalizing their power through President Mohammad Mursi. The party seems motivated by a consolidation of its own power throughout the various authorities of the country, rather than a desire to see the quality of life of Egyptians improve.
Once a vanguard of secularism and equality between the genders, Egypt now appears to be sliding, and not slowly, toward extremism, with media control and censorship also on the rise. The education system and cultural activities are also suffering from narrow, Islamist ideals.
All these scenarios seem to constitute the perfect ingredients for a national crisis. Take the streets of Cairo, or other cities across Egypt, on any given Friday, and a palpable sense of discontent prevails. Most weeks seem to bring new casualties, with clashes between those in support and those against the government clashing in ever violent ways.
And all the while the government has not taken any positive action, not a single step which could help neutralize the growing sense of desperation and resentment.
In many ways, Egypt increasingly appears as a failed state: unable to deliver on the most basic fronts, or to provide security to its citizens. As such, the IMF has become increasingly reluctant to provide much-needed aid to the country, as have Gulf countries, discouraged by the Brotherhood’s shadowy tactics.
If the government is not willing to listen to its people, then perhaps it is time for it to pass the task to someone else. Those brave souls who protested throughout those unknown early days of the revolution did not fight for a government unwilling to listen to half of the population. If those in power do not realize soon that their time is up, they may soon be forced out.