by Marwa Yahya
CAIRO, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Having been through three years of turmoil, Egyptians wish stability for their country ahead a constitutional referendum seen as a milestone in the nation's political transition.
"I wish that 2014 will bring peace, security and prosperity to my people, and I believe that voting on the constitution, then holding the presidential and the parliamentary elections will be the most important events for the new year," said Ahmed Hassan, a florist, 23, who was decorating his shop overlooking the Nile River in Maadi district, southern Cairo.
Passing the draft constitution in the mid-January referendum without any violence occurring will hearten the people to build a better future for Egypt, Hassan told Xinhua.
Hassan, who graduated from Faculty of Tourism and Hotels two years ago but couldn't a job related to his field, expressed optimism in the revival of the tourism industry after Egypt has completed its roadmap for political transition and restored security.
While buying decorations for the Christmas tree at her house, Nermeen Hana, 42, a lawyer wished "the new year will bring joy, security and improvement for the country."
"I will celebrate the New Year with my family, go to the nearest church, wear new clothes, and leave all fears of violence behind," she added all Egyptians are in dire need for joyful moments after sadness and pessimism blanket them for so long.
Though Egyptians used to suffer a lot under long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak, they miss the security and stability under his leadership
"I used to celebrate before 2011 the new year in restaurants, clubs or even streets with Muslims until the early hours of the next year," Hana added, noting her mother's concerns that a blast might happen at churches on the new year's eve.
Coptic Christian Churches in Egypt, who represent almost 10 percent of the population, have been a target for attacks by hardline Islamists. More than 24 churches have been torched and assaulted after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.
Last week, a blast rocked a security department headquarters in Nile Delta's Daqahliya province north of the capital Cairo, killing 16 and injuring over 100. The incident was followed by another explosion that wounded five people in a bomb attack on a bus outside a school compound in the Nasr city district. Authorities announced dozens of bombs in several provinces have been defused lately.
The government vowed "war against black terrorism" and declared the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, as "a terrorist group." The moved stirred violent protests on Friday that killed five people, followed by clashes between Islamist students and the police.
Since the ouster of the Islamist leader, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members and top leaders including Morsi himself have been arrested for "murdering" peaceful protesters.
"My only wish for the 2014 year is stability and security for the entire country with its all factions, and the release of my son," said Kamilia Mansour, 45, a math teacher in a secondary school in Nile Delta's Mansoura city, whose son, a Brotherhood member, was jailed after a dispersal operation against protesters backing Morsi on Aug. 14.
She expressed fears that the academic future of her son, who was in his second year in the faculty of medicine, will be ruined.
The teacher blamed what happened to her son on both Morsi's bad performance as a president, which led to massive anti-government protests, and the police' harsh crackdown over the protesters.
She wished "a fair president will come in 2014 for all Egyptians to end the division between the country's citizens."
Am Ahmed, 62 years old, a man cleaning cars in front of Maadi Hotel, wished "welfare and prosperity for all Egyptians," confident that the presidential election will end the chaos prevailing the country since 2011."
He wished safety for the people, noting that several cars had been robbed of by armed men under his colleagues' watch as they were not provided with proper security tools.
For Fathy Ali, 13 years old, who is selling fruits on cart, wished "he could enroll again in school in 2014,"
My father forced me and my brother to quit school after clashes outside my school between local residents and the Brotherhood members killed two of my classmate.
He also wished in the coming year that he could earn more money to help his father support the family, as he was laid off in a nationwide unemployment hike after the 2011 revolution.
Despite his father's caution, the young boy plans to spend the new year outside with his friends, perhaps in a nearby garden or on a cruise in the Nile.
Mahmoud Allam, 49, owner of a vegetable shop, said Egypt needed a president with conscience, who could work for the poor people not just fight for power, and who could help the country defuse political and social polarization.
He also wished recovery for the nation's ailing economy, adding with the high inflation, the poor people are living in misery.
The Egyptians went through two main upheavals in their pursuit for dignity and freedom, but their aspirations are far from being fulfilled, at least before the presidential and parliamentary elections take place next fall, according to the roadmap set out by the armed forces on July 3.