Sunday, February 06, 2011

Has the Glorious Revolution Just Gone Down the Toilet?

Sand Monkey, Mahmoud Salem, makes a quick post on what he sees as the next steps for the Egyptian protesters. He fears stagnation, loss of momentum and power. Those are not possibilities, but probabilities. They need to organize for the long haul. Particularly when the current government is starting to act like the protests are already a thing of the past. Soon it will be back to the same old same old while people simply struggle to survive. The question is, what are the people willing to sacrifice to achieve their dreams?

He talks about registering people for a "party" as if they will be a political entity accepted and allowed to run for parliament in the next election. The problem is that individuals and groups belong to political parties, not an entire nation. Further, registration of individuals for a political part can only exist in a free nation where the right to organize, privacy and free speech are protected. Anyone else on a "list" under an authoritarian or police state is in danger of being jailed, tortured or killed as a traitor. That is a bad idea.

However, the movement does have a problem. It really has no "face" or representative(s) that can appeal to the people or express their ideas to a national or global forum. As Mahmoud suggests, the movement will eventually break apart without leadership or direction or continued buy in from the general populace.

Secondly, the movement is currently so jumbled that it does not have a clear path or agenda forward beyond "oust Mubarek, give us freedom". Something that is bound to scare even the "neutral" citizens about the future security situation for Egypt. Frankly, the Jan 25 Movement should be very afraid, too. Anyone could take control of the chaotic state and then where would their freedom and democracy be?

How can anyone be sure that the general ideas expressed are being spoken or heard by anyone when there is no clear voice(s) to disseminate it or to bring those ideas forward from the people? Even in the limited area of Tahir Square or out in Alexandria? Worse, without it, anyone could step forward and claim to be leading or negotiating on behalf of the movement before selling out any real democratic reforms for their personal agenda. The movement requires the majority of voices to have clear representation, accountable to the people with a universally accepted message, list of grievances and demands.

It may already be too late as the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood have just made this the Muslim Brotherhood's Revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood has graciously said that, though it wants an Islamic state, it would not require women to cover their hair.

This is what comes of refusing to identify a leader or any leadership. The Brotherhood is going to get their concessions and everyone with any liberal tendencies will be forced to support the dratted NDP for any large body of power and representation while smaller, liberal parties, like the April 6 Youth Movement, are left on the outside.

Has the Glorious Revolution Just Gone Down the Toilet? Mubarek et al certainly know how to do "divide and conquer". Get the Muslim Brotherhood to negotiate and turn the rest out cold.

If I was Mahmoud (aka Sandmonkey), I'd get my pro-freedom friends together, pick some representatives, make a short, but sweet universal declaration and start spreading the word ASAP and in a hurry. And, by the way, I would ditch the January 25 and April 6 YOUTH Movement title for something more universal and inclusive of all liberal minded people. Dates are great for the manifesto/declaration indicating the what, why, when and where the movement began, not a name stating intent. Second, "Youth" designates member selection and exclusion. They need something much more inclusive, national and implication of a larger body. Like the Egyptian National Congress.

It doesn't imply religious affiliation or exclusivity on any bounds. If they want power, they are going to have to find as many people as possible who would support their general ideas. The door is closing.

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