Despite displaying the features of an emerging economy and creating a perception that things are improving in the year 2008, a closer look at Egypt reveals otherwise with major economic and political problems hidden underneath. One of the long-term issues was inflation which was relatively high. As the worldwide economic meltdown took the center state in year 2008-2009, the country saw many of their economic drivers slowdown. Tourism one of the drivers in the country economy fell sharply as the economic crisis continued. Also, the Egypt’s working expatriates remittances dropped as the as construction in the gulf region stalled. Earning of the Suez Canal slumped in the wake of global economic slowdown. Moreover, Egypt remained a state with a tremendous gap between the rich and poor. This is evident as some 2.6 million of the populace dependent on meager wages is too destitute to cover the basic needs like food even. The disparity brought about by slowed economic growth, became a thorn in the flesh. Technically Egypt stable state was, in fact, an oppressive state. By 2011, the then leader had been in authority for over the 25 years. His administration was connected with corruption with his family gathering wealth at the expense of the country amounting to billions of U.S dollars most stored abroad. Election another problem were far from free and fair with opposition leaders constantly harassed charged and jailed by the police on some made up reasons. With all this happening, it was not surprising rogue citizens spilled over into the streets. With the improved technology, tech-savvy citizens used the social media platforms like MySpace, Facebook, Instagram and twitter to harness the power and stage mass demonstrations that gained momentum with the army watching in the sidelines. Long term Egypt’s allies like the US and other western powers joined the voices of the demonstrators calling for theresignation of the Mubarak government. In the end, the position became untenable, and he resigned in the February 2011. The Egyptian military took charge with the promise of facilitation of proper democratic elections. For the first time sixty years, Egyptians were offered a free choice in an election. Even with the elections where Muslim Brotherhood won more seats and seemingly the country to be on the democratic and vibrant recovery, the new government struggled. By 2013, the economy reverted back to trouble. Unemployment was on a steady increase with the currency steadily losing value and inflation on the rise again. Tourism deteriorated with foreign exchangestalled, and the country's reserves were failing fast. The government failed to enact and carry out economic reforms. Foreign debts were increasing with a significant annual budget deficit. May successful foreign companies away feared dire costs. Court rulings from yester years were overturned effectively returning many corporations to states hands. Protests returned again despite the military backing the president was unseated again with the country back to the military hands. From this we can define the problem as bad leadership.
Agitated citizens fueled the Egypt uprising and insecurity. The infuriating facts are widespread corruption, unemployment, lack of free and democratic elections, curtailed freedom of speech, police brutality, inflation, poor wages, and working conditions and political intolerance.
Organizations and countries are generally examined using three viewpoints or commonly called lenses. They include; strategic, political and cultural lenses. When applied to the operations of a company or a country, each lens exposes many different behavior and qualities (Kline, 12)
The strategic lens examines the flow of responsibilities and information or the process of getting the tasks done. This lens points to habits to efficiently maximize flow of work in the process of trying to meet the organization’s goals and aims. Due to its relations to the organization’s foundation, the strategic lens is the most often used perspectives in studying different entities. However, that doesn’t make it the most significant. In the Egyptian case, the countries flow of responsibility was delegated by mere will of the individual. Being at the helm of the leadership for such a long time and having reputation of an autocratic, Hosni Mubarak was the sole determinant of each given task, data passed to the citizens and the overall what is to do in the country (Khalil, 25). He assigned the work to his close allies and used his authority to control the state-owned media house to spread his propaganda and also dictate each project the country was to undertake. Issues surrounding perceived economic gains in his era were greatly broadcasted with the ugly truthful information like the widening gap between the rich and the poor and the widespread corruption in his government and state owned corporations that marred his tenure being hidden in the closet. No proper measures were laid to try to improve the flow of information and other resources in trying to discuss some of the problems that were irking the seemingly peaceful citizens. The authoritarian administration frequently curtailed the phone and internet access in these tense times. The lack of proper communication and continued disregard of citizen’s issues, dwellers themselves developed goals in the process of getting their problems solved. They seized the opportunity presented by technological penetration in the country and used social media to name responsibilities swiftly and pass information to their aggrieved counterparts. This approach largely proved successful as opposed to the government employed propagandist as evidenced by the large resilient crowds growing with each day passing, that poured into the streets of the city and in the famous square and mounted pressure to the government of the day. This strategy and the efficient communication and organization of the demonstrators did not augur well with the sitting government. The administration did the unthinkable cutting off nearly its 80 million populace all access to the internet and shut down mobile phone services. The blackout caused a 90 percent drop in information exchange, disabling critical communications tools used by antigovernment demonstrators and their followers to arrange and to spread their message. By then the requests to join in the unrest had spread exceedingly widely among the Egyptian natives and numerous political and civil society groups who agreed to the invite increasing the spirit offline nonetheless. While it’s an important perspective, the political and cultural lenses still play a bigger part in determining the potential success of an entities goal.
The political lens scrutinizes the devolvement of power and influence as well as a look at how organizations handles and distribute power and influence and the preferences people who have the command. This power is not only held by the people at the helm of the leadership or directly involved in the control of the entity but also other players like organizations subjects, employees, customers suppliers and labor organizations all have some level of control and power. This level of control is dependent on the extent to which the group is willing to explore and exploit it. By understand who hold the power and their motives, future forecasting and decision-making are greatly aided. If we look at Egyptian case from a political lens, it’s easy to identify the end that has the most influence and power. For a long time –over 25 years, the government and Hosni Mubarak in particular had or thought he had power and influence and authoritatively applied that perceived control to the otherwise peaceful and conservative citizens completely being ignorant of the effects it was inflicting and probable consequences of his government actions. The government exercised authority over the citizenry by allocating and embezzling resources with a few powerful people who were pro-government. When the populace got fed up and took to the streets, the government’s objective was to manage the civil strife and continue holding on to the power and to the influence. The Egyptian government –in the Internet era, instituted many ways to exercise control over and influence in the flow of information — or at least tried to do so — by interfering with digital communications and limiting access (Raoof). The communication blackout in Egypt was a tragedy and a colossal in terms of diplomatic, political and economic implications. The swift dissemination of information on the internet had beenlargely effective and slowly threatened to take power from the few people in the government to the masses in the streets. Government decision to curtail communication proved costly and not influential shown by increased numbers of demonstrators as people who otherwise could have expressed their views online took to the streets (Ritchel). Even after the government blocked social sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Bambuser many natives proved powerful as they were still able to get access to those sites by use of different advanced tools that were able to bypass the restriction. Before the government shutdown the last internet service provider, activist groups in the country showed influence and power as they were able to protected few internet access points that they could use to update the events unfolding by the texts, images and videos. Protesters set up a media center in the Tahrir Square to collect all forms of information from the activists and then relaying them online via the designated the access points. Efforts to crackdown on reporters did not deter multimedia reports finding their way into mainstream media (El, 12). When the government resulted to using violence other interested parties like parties like the US and other western government exert their power and influence to the anti-government protesters by aiding and facilitating the broadcasting of government wrongdoings and generally mounting pressure on the president to resign which eventually happened. With the incoming government refusing to reform, the citizenry proved once again powerful by unseating the Muslim brotherhood government. The main lessons in this political lens in the Egypt’s case reveals a valuable lesson that power and authority resides in the people and efforts to silence their voices, is an even more motivating factor to give a more creative and stronger response.
The final view is the cultural lens. This lens observes how an entity’s history and past actions shaped its subjects’ assumptions and influenced their future actions. Cultural lens, probably the least used perspective, looks at the typical statement of “that’s how is normally or always done. While naturally traditions of a society develop and unfold over time, they may be formed and structured to provide direction and leadership. When we look at Egypt in the Cultural perspective, history depicts its people as peaceful and conservative people. Though there was uprising in 1955, it was nothing close to what experienced in 2011. President Mubarak’s dictatorial reign had become a norm for a long time that the citizens assumed the events of oppression was nothing out of the ordinary. The growth of the different societies and improved cultural and social interaction through access of information on how to do thing differently in other parts of the world influenced their future actions. Case in point, Tunisia had staged a similar widely publicized demonstration that began a year earlier and led to ousting of their long serving president and so paved way for democratization of the country through free and fair election. The triggers of the unrest were not unique in the sense that they are same issues that led to the uprising in Egypt. Protesters used their common adversity which is historical injustices and oppression that marred them to evolve and shape the leadership and direction of their country.
Using these lenses can help us find ways to better analyze who, what, why and when. In terms of who, the protesters composed of ordinary citizens, civil rights groups, journalists and international community were all key players in the revolution? In terms of what, bad leadership was the main cause of the conflict. Why or the reason for what happened was the need and wish to change the situation that was facing them. In terms of when, strive for better leadership it is an ongoing process that started in 2010. Thought there still problems in the country, protestors efforts set a precedent for the oncoming leadership that authority resides in the hands of the citizens.
El, Medni B. M. E. Civil Society and Democratic Transformation in Contemporary Egypt: Premises and Promises. N.p., 2013. Print.
Khalil, Ashraf. Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2012. Print.
Kline, Steve. "On My Mind: Organizational Lenses : Products Finishing." Suppliers, Technical Resources, News and Events for the Finishing Industries : Products Finishing. N.p., 2001. Web. 7 Nov. 2014.
Raoof, Ramy. "Egypt Revolution 2011 and Communications -Aftenposten." Aftenposten. N.p., 12 Oct. 2011. Web. 7 Nov. 2014.
Ritchel, Matt. "Egypt Cuts Off Most Internet and Cellphone Service - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., 28 Jan. 2011. Web. 7 Nov. 2014.