Noget af det mest afgørende, der er sket i Egypten i løbet af de sidste 18-20 dage, er det rent psykologiske: Da det blev klart, at regimet faktisk ikke kunne forhindre de store demonstrationer, trods hårde kampe og en usædvanligt brutal indsats fra det frygtede uropoliti og siden fra regimets betalte bøller, glemte folk ganske enkelt at være bange.
I stedet er de nu vågnet op til et land, som er deres eget, og som de selv må tage ansvaret for, som Al Jazeeras Evan Hill skriver fra Cairo:
In 18 days, revolution uprooted a regime that had ruled the country with ruthless tenacity for 30 years.While the upheaval has opened the door to political and economic reform, its most lasting effect may be the opening of the Egyptian mind.
With the army on the streets and the old order in flames, the wall of cynical humour and pessimism erected by Egyptians as psychic protection against the crushing weight of their corrupt government seemed to split apart and crumble.
Suddenly, anything was possible.
As dawn broke, all-volunteer teams of street sweepers wearing rubber gloves and cotton masks struck out along Cairo’s decrepit boulevards, sweeping dust and debris into trash bags.
Where once it was commonplace to see Cairenes chuck wrappers and used food cartons with abandon, it was now impossible to drop a cigarette butt without a stern reprimand.
In and around Tahrir Square, civilians painted over and scrubbed away anti-government graffiti that peppered every surface, from the walls of the old campus of the American University in Cairo to the armour of parked tanks.
In Abdel Moneim Riad Square, near the Egyptian museum, where pro- and anti-government crowds had hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at each other in deadly combat on February 2, men and women now formed human chains to prevent passersby from smudging the curbs they had just painted in thick black-and-white stripes.
But the effort goes beyond rubbish pick-ups and street sweeping.
What is being suggested in Cairo now is nothing short of a mental house-clearing – a complete overhaul in the way the average Egyptian has learned to do business in a society that has been smothered beneath nepotism and emergency law for decades.
One flyer being distributed on Saturday put it this way:
“Today this country is your country. Do not litter. Don’t drive through traffic lights. Don’t bribe. Don’t forge paperwork. Don’t drive the wrong way. Don’t drive quickly to be cool while putting lives at risk. Don’t enter through the exit door at the metro. Don’t harass women. Don’t say, ‘It’s not my problem.’ Consider God in your work. We have no excuse anymore.”