Monday, December 26, 2011

Occupy Movement, Egypt can learn together

Joseph Mayton 26 December 2011
Bikya Masr

"....Over the past few weeks, and especially after my detention on December 17, a number of journalists based in the United States have asked me why Egypt, and the region as a whole, is important to those back in America. Besides the fact that billions of American government dollars are spent supporting dictatorship and unwanted military power in Egypt and across the Middle East, the idea I pressed on was how the largely leaderless movements in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen have been successful on many levels, but have failed in maintaining the successes in a post-revolution world [Syria and Bahrain are still in revolution mode].

Tunisia may be the black sheep of the region, making a largely successful transition from dictator to revolution to functioning democracy. Certainly, there will be ups and downs along this road, but when one turns toward Egypt, the second regional country to overthrow their dictator, the ills of a leaderless movement have shown through, on two levels: elections and change.

Egypt has struggled to make the gains of the January 25 uprising lasting. Since February 11, when Mubarak finally left power, the military has been in charge, initially promising 6 months of transitional control over the country to ensure stability. Now, nearly one year on, the military is entrenched as the new dictator. Activists have seen this and have taken to the streets over the past five months to demand a quicker pace of change. Instead, they have been met with the military junta’s bullets, tear gas and propaganda. It is an uphill battle that, unfortunately, appears to be heading in the wrong direction.

Elections have arrived in Egypt, and while the predominantly middle class activists continue to push for the change they had envisioned would have arrived in the country by now, the Islamists – the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, who sat on the sidelines as the activists fought and spilled blood for change – have taken advantage of the “revolution” and are taking the lion’s share of votes, leading the country on the path toward conservatism and uncertainty.....

The Egyptian movement for change will continue, but without a face for 80 million Egyptians to fall behind, it may teeter and falter many more times before achieving the success expected in February 2011......"

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