Monday 28 November 2011

The Evolution Of The Tahrir Revolution...

It has often been said that one either has to choose between Evolution and Revolution...

Tahrir On November 21st

Tahrir, as a movement, began as an unlikely association of diverse people united around one single unifying demand: the downfall of the Mubarak regime, beyond which intense rivalries between the different groupings that made up Tahrir had still remained. But even then, Tahrir had its differences. Some believed Mubarak should be given a chance to stay until September, some believed he shouldn't. While these differences evaporated to a great deal after the battle of the Camel, yet even then there seemed to remain ambiguity over what Tahrir wanted after the fall of Mubarak.

And with every single protest or sit in, Tahrir focused often on defining clearly "what it rejected", but often lacked clear the presentation of the alternatives it wanted. When Tahrir demanded something, it was often vague, up for interpretation, and lacked detail, whether in terms of description or in terms of how to execute such demands. Tahrir would demand "social justice" or "police reform", but these broad terms lacked the clarity and detail that would have allowed more people to debate and improve them as proposals, that same clarity that would have also allowed for intensely greater pressure on SCAF or the affected institutions and forces, by showing the public an attractive, detailed and ready option.

Even more, Tahrir would often drown its more immediate demands with many others during the same protest. It was not uncommon to find 20 separate demands each week on documents purporting to speak for the protest, with many of these documents often written in simplistic, unrealistic or conflicting detail. That was, of course, more apparent in March, April and May.

But now, for a change, Tahrir is doing almost just the opposite.

Tahrir is demanding a single clear goal, rallying people and centering the media debate around it, and supplanting it with significant detail: the demand for a national salvation government with full authority.

It even suggested the names that would lead such a government, a degree of detail that proved powerful in forcing a quick response from the ruling Military Council indeed, with regular (calls for) meetings with these figures and others. Of course, the responses, to this point, have been much less than what Tahrir desires, but the pace of the negotiation and bargaining is much more rapid, and the debate is much more intense and focused.

It is remarkable to see the evolution of a revolution...

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