Complications of leaderlessness

From a piece in today’s Financial Times by their Middle East editor, Roula Khalaf:

Well beyond the scene of bloodshed, the mood of Cairo was transformed, from euphoria to frustration. The memories of that glorious February moment in Egyptian history were fading as people were stuck back in the grind of daily life, finding that little had changed. In Tahrir Square, I looked for a monument to the revolution and its martyrs, but could find none, as if the upheaval has not reached its conclusion. The youth movements that mesmerised the Arab world with their formidable leadership of the revolution have splintered, failing to coalesce into a political organisation that can influence the future. Many of them want to keep up the pressure, now on the army, by returning to Tahrir on Fridays. Much of the rest of the country, however, wants peace instead of more turmoil.

Israa Abdel Fattah

Israa Abdel Fattah. The blogger was one of the most prominent young activists of Tahrir Square

“The problem for us is that we prepared for the January 25 protests without knowing it would be a revolution. We made the desert fertile but we didn’t know how to plant it,” Israa Abdel Fattah, one of the most prominent young activists of Tahrir Square, told me. “We came from different ideologies and after the revolution we joined different political parties. Maybe we should not have left the square, maybe we should have chosen a few people from Tahrir to rule.”

2 Comments on “Complications of leaderlessness

  1. The Tahrir square movement only was able to topple Mubarak when the Egyptian labor movement joined in.

  2. “Maybe we should not have left the square…”

    Sounds about right. Or, maybe they shouldn’t have accepted a U.S. brokered military regime to replace Mubarak. Neither stands as a critique of the Occupy Wall Street Movement’s refusal to establish a hierarchy of concerns by coming up with a set agenda that will be sure to fracture what is still a very tenuous coalition. Finding demands is the least of our worries. They abound. The number one challenge for us is maintaining unity and establishing a ground of self-determination in relation to the corrupt political structure and military apparatus.

    I love your work Doug, but when it comes to OWS you are stubbornly missing the point.


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