Egypt Braces for Tuesday
Charley Bravo - 1/24/11
Tuesday the 25th marks a potentially pivotal moment for assessing the trans-Arabian potency of Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution”. Eyes turn to Egypt where elation over Tunisia and social media amperage drives the expectation of a mass protest against the Mubarak regime.
“In every neighbourhood in the country there is a pressure point which the government is afraid of and which will be brought to the surface on Tuesday,” said Ahmed al-Gheity, 23, a doctor and one of the regional organisers of “revolution day”. On the event’s Facebook page, tens of thousands of supporters have posted comments suggesting Ben Ali’s departure could be the precursor for Mubarak’s downfall. “If Tunisia can do it, why can’t we?” read one. “We will either start living or start dying on 25 January.”
As the Guardian’s Jack Shenker continues to survey the scene, we see some reasons to doubt whether internet activism can resonate with the psyche of the working class. Reported anywhere from lukewarm to opposing the demonstration, The Muslim Brotherhood has recently announced it will participate.
Fears have been downplayed even as investors grow concerned. The Times’ Michael Slackman reports on a trans-ideological tenor to recent developments, where corruption and political inertia is now “everyone’s nightmare”. A recent show of sympathy by Muslims for indigenous Coptic Christians appears to support this view.
What this all means remains unclear. But even with many pointing out the “difficulties in translating Internet clicks to support on the ground”, the fact that so many in Egypt have nothing to lose has elites worried. The murder of Khaled Said in June has already primed the pump along with Tunisia’s spontaneity, with as many as 17 opposition groups currently supporting the demonstration.
While one factor in the mix proclaims “We are all Khaled Said”, one of the biggest names to watch may be Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Laureate and marginalized opponent in elections that have been tainted by accusations of systemic fraud.
Egypt is the largest Arab nation and the 2nd largest recipient of US foreign aid. 60 percent of the population is under 30. So the US State Department no doubt already watches closely. In fact there’s likely a team now working on copy for the sake of something to say should karma hit the fan.
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