Saturday 1 January 2011

PART 2: Why Many Egyptians Don't Fully Support The Revolutionaries...


3- The focus on "youth" in media, especially some less-than-capable speakers, has given some people a juvenile immature image of revolutionaries and activists:   The image of youth, many in their early to mid twenties on TV, debating politics and talking about the future of the nation on all news shows, sometimes with the complete absence of proper journalists, academic figures, politicians, had both a negative and a positive outcome. Positively, it showed a dynamic and intelligent youth who was both much more knowledgeable and capable than otherwise felt by the people. Negatively, the image of young and sometimes skinny teen or teen-like or just young person in Jeans talking about the future of the nation was not very confidence-inspiring for the standard Egyptian who, as I said, prefer older and easily authority-inspiring figures, preferably in a suit (I'm serious about that last phrase!). I easily heard many people say: "Are we gonna be led by a bunch of kids now!? Everytime these kids disklike something are they gonna go to Tahrir!?" The choice of poor unprepared speakers from youth coalitions sometimes had helped to foster that image that was already capable of growing on its own inside the minds of a society like ours, where youth has always been looked down on as incapable, brash, unwise.

4- Lists of demands were often ridiculously written, demanded abstract goals, had too many demands, and left people unable to focus on prorities and confused: Many of the Lists of Demands that were circulated after the revolution were absolutely ridiculous, both in terms of the demands themselves, and/or the way they were written, and they varied immensely from one to the other (some were much better written, such as those by the 6th of April movement, whether or not you agree with the demands themselves). Some mentioned abstract goals like "We will not leave Tahrir until we achieve social justice", some goals were just headlines without mechanisms, some were critical goals that did not have a road map and required clear consensus both on the goal itself and the methods to reach them (e.g. The debate over a Civil Presidential Council, over which I wrote another article in Arabic), and some were just either wrong goals or were not grounded in reality, at least for many. Worse, there were just too many demands, many of which were big in scope. While most of them were indeed rational demands, not properly designating 1-3 main demands per phase, demands that people can focus on, debate, that the media can ingest and openly discuss and create pressure over the political forces of the country to achieve them in one form or other, led to people asking the same question ever single time: "why are those kids in Tahrir protesting this Friday!? What do they want again!?" It also made people confused about what was being wanted and by whom, and this confusion was exacerbated and increased by the normal news cycle of course. People need to be given specific items of focus, popular ones with wide consensus, and create pressure on a case-by-case basis, in a peaceful manner, using media and other methods. Other demands should also remain highlighted, because when there is high resistance to main demands, attempts at appeasing the public happen by granting lesser requests on the list, and because special opportunities do appear at times for certain other forgotten demands. (Note: that focus has been developing recently indeed).


One of the Shorter lists of demands. The larger the list, the great the lack of public attention focus, the less the political pressure, the larger the lack of consensus. 

PART 3: Why Many Egyptians Don't Fully Support The Revolutionaries...


8 - Which brings me to another important point. Many activists have been exposed to superhuman pressures, including violence and detentions by the Mubarak regime and after it, as well as the continuous verbal attacks by people who didn't share their cause before, during, and after the revolution. As a result, they became exhausted, physically and mentally, frustrated, and exasperated. They have identified patterns in people who criticise them and they have become allergic to certain keywords, people and attacks. Some (not all) of them have become extremely rude and violent with anyone with a contrarian view (on facebook, twitter, gatherings). While some are intentionally trying to just bother the activists to piss them off or just out there looking for a fight, some are actually well meaning individuals with either wrong or insufficient information. I think in an effort to win back support for the wider causes, there needs to be a general agreement on being stoic, calm, respectful and patient with the others. Either they would win them over, win their respect or at least force those trying to just bother them to realise that efforts at setting off activists are useless. Most importantly, some activists just need to accept that the others are sometimes right in a thing or two. Beside the intentional provocateurs, there needs to be true and modest and kind interaction with well meaning individuals who are seeking the truth is less-than-perfect ways. Also, statements that are meant to be encouraging, such as "The Gutsy Are Gusty, The Corwardly Are Cowardly, And The Gusty Are Going To The Square" and other chants of the type and slogans are starting to cause more backlash than good, a turn off, if you will. Egyptians are exhausted economically and physically, and many don't like to be emotionally bullied into action. Chants that encourage everyone rather than divide people into patriots and non-patriots/lazy bums/culprits should be the ones being used. Activists need to go back to re-explaining why people, from their point of view, need to participate more, and how, as if they never explained before. Less emotional blackmail or pressure, as they are starting to bring the opposite results.

The army is extremely popular, supported and beloved by the overwhelming majority of Egyptians