Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Egypt's revolution is stuck in a rut, but we still have the spirit to see it through

Egypt's military government has placed obstacles in the way of reform that can only be overcome by a collective effort of will

Ahdaf Soueif
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 12 July 2011

"You could say our revolution has stalled. Or you could say a revolution is not an event, but a process – and that our process needed a push. As I write the revolution is once again gathering pace in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Arbaeen Square in Suez and Qaed Ibrahim in Alexandria, and streets and squares across Egypt. A march has been called for 6pm, and various escalatory activities are under consideration.

With hindsight, we left the streets too early. We were victorious, and yet we left with nothing
. When we managed to push out Hosni Mubarak and the army took over, we should have stayed and demanded that power be vested in a government of the revolution. But we had no defined "leadership" that could speak on our behalf to the military, and we had no government in waiting ready to take power. But that was also the beauty of our revolution; our leaderless, authentic, grassroots, peaceable revolution.....

Our spirits are still high. We still believe the revolution will prevail. We are in a better place now than we have been for the last 40 years. The country, for all its troubles, is more at ease with itself. Innovative forms of collective action – unions and syndicates – are springing up. People are carrying the principles of the revolution into the workplace. For instance Cairo University's faculty of arts defied the university president when he insisted on his right to appoint a dean; it conducted elections and chose a young female professor of English literature for the position. Other colleges have followed suit. Stages and songs and street art are springing up all over our cities. People everywhere are talking and debating fearlessly – and what a wealth of opinion and energy and eloquence there is here.

Thousands of families have paid a terrible price for bringing us even this far. To begin to make sense of this sacrifice, we have to go further; we have to make sure this revolution works."

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