Friday, January 25, 2013

1/25 Two Years Later

Today's anniversary of the start of the uprising which deposed Husni Mubarak saw riotous protests against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood:
The demonstrators’ main complaint was that the Islamists had failed to fulfill the social welfare and social justice demands of the original uprising. A banner in the center of the square called for the repeal of the Islamist-backed Constitution, passed in a referendum last month, which opponents say failed to enshrine ironclad guarantees of individual freedoms...
Protesters at times seemed to be re-enacting scenes from the 18-day revolt in 2011 that toppled Mr. Mubarak. The loudest chants were recycled from the revolution — “Leave, leave” and “The people want the fall of the regime.” Others were adapted slightly to focus on the Islamist Brotherhood, calling for an end to “the rule by the supreme guide,” Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader...
Both the Brotherhood and its opponents are looking ahead to parliamentary elections expected to be held in April, and critics of the Brotherhood contended that its community service drive was in part an effort to curry favor with needy voters. The opposition had poured most of its energy into Friday’s demonstrations, and its critics said it was once again wasting its time on street protests while the Islamists had already turned their attention to the more important electoral battle...
But some demonstrators argued that the public protests were a first step toward building a more potent political movement that might someday counterbalance the Islamists. “Nothing tangible will come of today, and I don’t think anything tangible with happen with the elections,” said Ayman Roshdy, 57, a retired marketing consultant. “But there is hope. What is happening today is part of the process of building hope. 
The parliamentary elections could be critical.  The Muslim Brotherhood has clearly moved to take control of the state left by Mubarak, including by alliance with Mubarak remnants where necessary.  However, the political space remains open, and one can see the possibility for an anti-MB vote to take the parliament if these protestors do represent a majority of Egyptians.  However, that in itself is uncertain.  Egypt still feels to me like it defies prediction.



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