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WHAT’S NEXT FOR EGYPT? February 12, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Middle East, North Africa.

That is the question.

Amy Goodman at Democracy Now turns the microphone over Juan Cole and Samer Shehater:

My sense of it is that once a critical mass of people have committed to the cause by putting their bodies on the line, developed the self organizing that was required to maintain the demonstration across the country over eighteen days, despite any scapegoating that Michael Nagler identified, it is going to turn that back. As Juan Cole noted this does not seemed to have happened in Tunisia and other protests are taking form in countries such as Algeria. I would put faith in the newly developed labor movement.

The analysis is the formal structures of democracy are important, and they are, but I think that Egypt has discovered, rediscovered and developed sources of social capital that have changed the society. Anyway there are many other people who are now looking to Egypt and we will be very disappointed if things go too far out of shape.


At the BBC Online, Shashank Joshi cautions, among other factors:

. . . the military establishment stands to suffer enormous losses, in both financial and political terms, from genuine democratic reforms.

Rhetoric and emotion aside, the realpolitik of international power (remember Honduras, which it seems is part of a larger story.) and economic relations, and the internal economic situation, will not go away. It is like the Rabbi said, the Egyptian people will have to find their second wind to surmount the next problem along the way (and that post title by the way was supposed to be a tennis not a boxing analogy).

At AlterNet, Michael Winship recounts the words of Olfa G. Tantawi, an Egyptian mother of two, talks about what the revolution means for her country. There are grounds for hope.

Slavoj Žižek writes of the universal appeal of the Egyptian uprising for freedom and human dignity.

Chris Floyd compares the marches against the Iraq Invasion of 2003 with the demonstration in Egypt. There is a difference for as the Egyptian protesters said the police would come for them one by one which creates a completely different dynamic. On the other hand, a permanent protest would have made a difference, and that will have to happen in future, now that our democratically elected governments have demonstrated that they do not listen to public opinion on the assumption that working as one hand they can with the media shape it.

The New York Times in its’ editorial suggests that the protesters should now go home – from whom have we heard that before – whereas Chris McGeal in The Guardian writes:

Egypt’s new military administration and the pro-democracy protesters who brought down Hosni Mubarak were at odds today over the path to democratic rule.

The army sought to stave off pressure from jubilant protesters to swiftly hand power to a civilian-led administration by saying that it is committed to a “free democratic state”.

The military leadership gave no timetable for the political transition, and many of the demonstrators who filled Cairo’s Tahrir square for 18 days rejected the military’s appeal to dismantle the barricades and go home.

They said they were waiting for specific commitments from the military on their demand for a civilian-controlled interim administration, the lifting of the oppressive state of emergency and other steps toward political liberalisation.

Could this state of affairs be really surprising to anybody who has been following events over the recent days in Egypt? This was confirmed by Adam Morrow in his interview with Scott Horton immediately after the fall of Mubarak.

Shashank Bengali asks “Can an Army famous for abuse really introduce democracy” and concludes it cannot.



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