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Jan. 25 a significant, divisive date for Egyptians

Events and dates can generate different memories to different people. For example, Jan. 25 is a significant date for Egyptian society as it is associated with unique and powerful memories. This date is a notable reminder of the many patriotic police martyrs killed on Jan. 25, 1952. It is also the start date of the 2011 revolution led by our youth — so it obviously conjures bad memories for people who had been in power for many years and who suddenly found themselves subject to prosecution. 
Egypt’s National Police Day (Jan. 25) commemorates the 1952 massacre of 50 police officers at the hands of the British occupation army after they refused to put down anti-British protestors, hand over their weapons and evacuate the Ismailia police station. The patriotic action of the police martyrs was highly valued by the entire Egyptian society at that time and paved the way for the 1952 revolution six months later. 
Ironically, on Jan. 25, 2011, an uprising was initiated that prompted millions of Egyptians to demonstrate against former President Hosni Mubarak and his regime, and that eventually led many Egyptians, attempting to exact revenge on the police apparatus, to attack and burn down police stations in several cities. Additionally, the date marked the clear defeat of former President Mubarak and his regime, ending almost three decades of absolute rule over Egypt.
Since Jan. 25, 2011, Egyptian society has clearly been polarized. Not only do Egyptians engage in heated debates on social media, but several of them have committed terrorist acts, killing hundreds of innocent fellow citizens. Surprisingly, Egyptians have been enjoying this polarization, which empowers citizens affiliated to the ruling regime at the expense of their critics. Nevertheless, in my opinion, politics is like a roller coaster — no triumph is ever permanent. 
Citizens affiliated to the regime tend to deny any possibility of future internal conflict, claiming that Egypt is ruled by an iron fist that precludes such an occurrence, but politics is like a roller coaster — no triumph is ever permanent.
Mohammed Nosseir
The sociopolitical development of Egyptians over the roughly six decades separating the events of Jan. 25, 1952, when Egypt’s police and civilians were united against the British occupier, and those of 2011, when millions of Egyptians engaged in a battle against our police apparatus, may be summed up thus: A comprehensive, widespread and intense degradation of Egyptian social norms, national economy and moral values. 
The British occupiers left Egypt in 1956, but our country’s subsequent engagement in a number of regional wars and internal conflicts has affected Egyptian society. Today, the most important question is, will Egyptians revolt again? In my view, the present clear polarization may lead not only to another uprising, but to even more widespread civil conflict, which will not benefit any of the polarized segments of society and will leave our country in a much worse position than its present state. 
On a number of occasions, I have personally been deceived by a triumphant political force’s domination of social media posts. Eventually, I understood that social media reflects our “conqueror’s culture” that only makes room for winners’ opinions and leaves no window for losers to express a different perspective. What is happening on social media is also occurring in real life: Only citizens affiliated to the ruling regime are given breathing space and all critics are marginalized. 
Egyptians affiliated to the regime tend to deny any possibility of future internal conflict, claiming that Egypt is ruled by an iron fist that precludes such an occurrence. These citizens believe that the state only needs to use its power to put an end to any nascent internal uprising. Nevertheless, I often wonder whether over-pressuring opponents leads to neutering them permanently or eventually to recharging them. Jan. 25 is a historic date that probably won’t witness new events in 2018, but political developments may well occur on different dates.
Mohammed Nosseir, a liberal politician from Egypt, is a strong advocate of political participation and economic freedom.
Twitter: @MohammedNosseir