Egyptian protesters are back on the streets of Cairo after last Monday's announcement of results of the fist round of presidential election.
From the tune of the protest music, it is clear that this is a country back at the crossroads; feeling trapped; sort of helpless.
The message on the walls and other public spaces of the city tells it all. "The revolution continues...No to a candidate from the old regime...No to Muslim Brotherhood," screamed one of the posters spotted at the Tahrir Square. Another one dismissed the election as a farce.
"No to Shafiq," announced a graffiti on a wall standing a few metres from the destroyed office of Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister during the final days of his rule, who came second to Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohamed Mursi.
The amount of graffiti, slogans and the dramatic acts apparently against the election outcome, especially at the landmark Tahrir Square where Mubarak's exit strategy was crafted and executed, are telling images of the confusion that has engulfed the city by the Nile River; and the country at large as it prepares for round two of the presidential polls, on June 16.
One of the most memorable images of the disappointment in the Northern Africa country, which was ruled by Mubarak for over three decades, until he was ousted by the masses February 2011, is that of an old man sitting in a huge basket. It reminded me of the expression basket case. It threw my mind back and forward.
Cairo city was not always littered by protest notes; graffiti and angry mobs. The city was a spectacular cultural capital of the Middle East and Northern Africa (Mena) region, with sub-Saharan Africa always looking to her for inspiration.
Even with the heaps of protest graffiti, the city is still one of the best, according to a new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report that ranks hundreds of cities.
The report ranks Cairo at Number 4 out of the other African cities, just below South Africa's Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
The other cities on the list, from top towards the bottom, are Nairobi, Alexandria, another Egyptian city, and Nigeria's populous city of Lagos.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the ranking is based on each city’s performance across eight broad categories: economic strength, human capital, institutional effectiveness, financial maturity, global appeal, physical capital, environment and natural hazards, and social and cultural character. So what if Cairo is still on top?
When the winds of the Arab Spring finally blew Mubarak out of power, there were parties across the country, with a few of the ex-president's supporters expressing their disappointment.
At first, the US appeared a little confused. This was a man who had served their interests, both in Egypt and around the Middle East, especially on the Israel and terrorism issues.
With the fall of the ally, there was still a system in place. And because Uncle Sam, through the civil society, was part of the great revolt, although it came sooner than expected, they still had connections in Egypt.
The military rulers were their Number One. In Egypt, unlike most African countries, the military has been a darling of the people in more than one way: They build the roads that the country drives on; they deliver affordable bread, a very important item on the region's menu, to millions of Egyptians everyday; they provide most of the appliances that the country uses, and also provides power that lights several homes.
On the other hand, the country's military has enjoyed $1.3 billion US assistance, over 85 per cent of their recurrent budget that easily buys loyalty to Washington.
However, the Muslim Brotherhood, only seen as Islamists, have been warming up to the US, in the last months in ways that have surprised many analysts. They have also been accused of being conspirators with the military, especially after boycotting protests against the ruling Military Council, Scaf, that has come to be associated with repressive rule, akin to Mubarak's.
The US, with its well lubricated diplomatic machinery, has been publicly courting the Muslim Brotherhood, who together with Salafists, have a decisive number in the house that will decide the direction that post-Mubarak Egypt will take, including writing the constitution.
So what became of the liberal youths, whose resilience and resolve changed the course of Egypt?
In my opinion, there begins the next revolution that even the decisive round of elections that happen in two weeks may not stop.
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