“The Square” Review

Jordan Mains

“The Square” is a Netflix original documentary that shows a revolution in the making for the people of Egypt demanding rights in their country. It is the first Netflix original to be nominated for an Oscar, and it is very well deserved.

The film starts off showing clips of the cruel and inhumane treatment of the Egyptian people by the Egyptian government. Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak is the president and dictator responsible for many of these happenings.

After the people have decided that they have had enough, they start a peaceful gathering protest at Tahrir Square. They seek equal rights and fair treatment for all. Mainly youth occupy the square, and all who are there refuse to leave until they get what they want.

After occupying the square for 17 days, President Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11, 2011. He left the power and management of the nation to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.

It seemed like the revolutionists had gotten what they wanted — or so they thought. It was not enough for Mubarak to be removed from power, as his regime was still in place. Very little in the country had changed.  

The Emergency Law was still in effect, which gave police extended power and suspended constitutional rights of citizens. The secret service, or “secret police” as they call it in Egypt, still plagued the people with their unjust and brutal tactics against them.

The Egyptian army was no pushover, either. They appeared to side with the revolution, but it was soon realized that nothing had changed.

The military was still killing their citizens and running them over with tanks.  At one point, the military decided to clear the square of all protestors through pure force, taking down their tents, and arresting and punishing those who refused to leave.

They then decided to put a curfew into place for all citizens. The army was trying to prove that they are not afraid of their citizens.

All hope of changing the country appeared to be lost, but the revolutionists refused to go down without a fight. Anyone with a video camera was encouraged to film the inhumane treatment the government placed on its citizens.

These were used to combat the corruption of the media, who portrayed the police and military as doing absolutely nothing wrong or unreasonable and encouraged citizens against the revolution. The goal was to expose them for who they really are.

After coming so far, there were still no new constitutions or laws protecting the Egyptian people. Revolutionaries decided to take back the square once again in the hopes they could get what they want.

A new presidential election was finally held in the summer of 2012. Those in the revolution did not have a much of a choice of who to vote for, as one party was from Mubarak’s regime and the other was a Muslim who had negotiations with the military. No matter who had been elected, they knew they were back to square one.

Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected president by a small margin. This led to the square being divided at times between Muslims and those of other religions. Religious affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood are calling for no new constitution, the opposite of what the revolutionaries want.

Under President Morsi, still not much had changed. Police and military were just as brutal to citizens as ever.

These events in Egypt continue today. People became more wary of what is going on, however. President Morsi was removed from power after only three days of presidency. Millions of people showed up on the streets of Egypt to protest what was happening.

This film is highly emotional and is a real eye-opener. I can safely bet that a majority of people in the United States did not even know about the happenings in Egypt.

Many people sacrificed their lives in this revolution for the future generations. Conflict has greatly intensified between the people and government as time has passed. It is insane that the police and military can take down their own citizens without batting an eye.

This movement is starting to completely change the country of Egypt. It does not matter what religion or political affiliation you are; people are starting to come together as one.

Like it was stated in the film, a revolution does not happen in only two years. The people of Egypt have come a long way toward getting what they want and I have no doubt they will one day achieve their goal of having the rights that every human being should have.

If you care about politics and other happenings around the world, this is a highly recommended documentary. The film can be quite graphic at times, so be wary.