The Arab Spring really saw the world turn topsy turvy back when it happened. There has been no looking back since though, and while old dictators have been removed, it does seem as though new ones have emerged to take over. Some are happy with the developments that have occurred, while others are not too pleased, wishing that things could get better in the long run. Let us a take a closer look at what has happened to Egypt's Arab Spring activists down the road.
Back in 2011, there was the famous "Day of Rage" that happened on a Friday in Egypt. The organizers for “Day of Rage” were Ahmed Maher and Mohammed Adel, and their dream is to see a million people arrive and stake their claim in the nation on Tahrir Square. While it proved to be a successful movement that captured the imagination of many around the globe, April 6 was another watershed moment in the ebb and flow of the Arab Spring.
April 6 saw a split in the movement, as there were some members who were not too happy about the way that Ahmed Maher went about with his decisions. The wantaway section who decided to opt out fancied themselves to be the April 6 Youth Movement Democratic Front. While Ahmed Maher played the role of coordinator for the main April 6 group, he also did organize and lead protests from the front -- just like a true leader, with a focus on issues of freedom as well as social justice, all the while making a push for democratic elections.
With a Muslim Brotherhood candidate known as Mohammed Morsi being elected as president in June 2012, April 6 decided to protest against Morsi's ambitions, resulting in him being in office for just a year before the army led a coup, headed by Egypt's existing president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The military rule under Abdel Fattah saw the introduction of draconian laws, and in November 2013, the anti-protest decree was put in place which gave complete power to the Ministry of Interior when it comes to the organization and cancellation of street protests.
As a result, Ahmed Maher was detained for a while since he happened to be one of the organizers of a protest. Needless to say, this protest was against such a controversial law, and a full arrest warrant was even issued, asking him to give himself up to the courts. The month after that, two other young activists known as Mohammed Adel and Ahmed Douma were given the sentence of three years of hard labor in addition to a monetary fine.
Ahmed was just released earlier this month after serving his sentence, although he will still be under the watchful eye of the authorities, being placed under probation for another three years. His sleeping place each night? A police station between the hours of 6pm and 6am. His co-detainee, Mohammed Adel, was freed just less than a week ago on January 22 with similar conditions stipulated.
The fight for justice, freedom and equality is never an easy one. We can only hope and pray that the sacrifices which these young men have made, will pave the way for a brighter future in Egypt.