Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The people versus the people

Religious sectarianism and the threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafists, are no longer the headlining issues. The new headline is: the people versus the people.

Now more than ever, Egyptians are divided by the protest in Tahrir.

The latest sit-in of Tahrir, which started on July 8, labelled as the beginning of the second wave of the Revolution, may have pushed people too far. Mainstream Egypt is exceedingly growing impatient with protesters.

One group supports protesting in Tahrir. I call that group Camp Tahrir. The second no longer supports action in the street. I call that group Camp Stability.

Camp Tahrir feels the Jan 25 demands have not been fully met, but pressure in Tahrir has led to some of the demands being met, even if partially. It seems to work.

On the other side of the fence, Camp Stability feels Camp Tahrir doesn't reflect the opinion of the majority and it's not an elected body. They feel Camp Tahrir is increasingly a detrimental force to Egypt's overall economic well-being and stability. 

Both camps wish to see a prosperous democratic Egypt. Both camps are entitled to an opinion on the matter. Both opinions are no less valid.

One of the achievements of Jan 25 was freedom of speech, a fundamental right that the revolution fought for, yet worryingly I notice how people are exceedingly less tolerant of each other's opinions. Absolutist opinions make way for stereotypes. 

If you support Tahrir, you're one or more of the following: you're a traitor funded from abroad, you're possibly a spy or a saboteur, you're unemployed or a thug and you're probably someone who's politically ignorant. 

If you're against Tahrir, you're one or more of the following: you're a member of hizb el kanaba (the couch party), you're possibly someone from fulul el nizam (remnants of the system), or you're one of the Roxy crowd and you're probably someone who's politically ignorant too.

In place of state sponsored censorship, we get people sponsored absolutism. You're either with us or with them. History has shown where absolutism leads to. 

Divided opinions have led to the creation of a state within a state, metaphorically speaking. 

Recent allegations by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that the April 6th movement is funded from abroad, with an agenda to create a wedge between the people and the Army, has divided people further. The incidents of Abbassiya pushed opinions even further apart.

There are probably one or more forces with agendas, trying to manipulate people into one camp or the other, but looking at it from the outside in and from the inside out, for I have spoken with both camps, it seems to me the threat is not presented by an ominous force trying to sabotage the revolution or the country. 

The threat is right here represented by the people, unable to find consensus and unable to move forward together on agreed principles. 

Absolutism can ironically sabotage the revolution and what it stands for. Therefore it seems to me that now more than ever a bridge needs to be built to connect the two camps.

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