Dissent in Egypt

Hussam El-Hamalawy, a friend and a “The Arabist” Contributor, has this link to a video on “street activism“. I hadn’t seen it before and found it quite interesting.

What interested me most was the bit near the end. The group of young people that the Journalist/Reporter talked to were, as far as I could tell, AUC Undergraduates. I do not know except two of them personally.

Since I’m a judgemental SOB, let me just say that these people (as AUC students) do represent young people that the NDP would recruit. Those of the NDP target-market are people who see the benefits of being a part of the system, yet at the same time they want reform (or so they say). I had discussed something similar, on this blog, a number of days ago about two of my friends.

What do I think? I think the idea is despicable. Understandably, some of these people I refer to are not like my friends in the fact that some of them are members of the NDP already, and others are well-known for their NDP-sympathies.

The way I see it, they can be categorized into these groups of people (Keep in mind that most of their parents are rich businessmen or “industrialists” or what have you):

  1. Those that are are ignorant of all the political, economic and social atrocities committed by the NDP. They probably think its confined to not allowing people to protest and arresting dissenters and throwing them in jail. They probably think that removing those specific conditions, and not having the road blocked for a couple of hours when Mubarak passes by, will probably mean more democracy in Egypt. They have no knowledge that there are poor people in Egypt beyond the few beggers they see in Cairo. Charity, and not development, does wonders to alleviate any kind of guilty feelings they have (and many of them do, as I’ve seen and heard) towards the current social and economic class distinctions.
  2. Those that know that real power lies within joining the NDP. The current Patron-Client system (Shokran ya Menza!) is something they are willing to be a part of in excahnge for a carte blanche that allows them to go about their business successfully without any of the other NDP or NDP-affiliated businessmen enchroaching on their turf. They usually are willing to comprimise their moral beliefs, if they had any to being with, to this effect.
  3. People that cannot be placed in groups 1 or 2. Some think that the way the country is run right now is good. Some believe in reform from “within”. Others believe in other stuff that I, personally, am not privy to.

Those AUC-ians? The boys are mostly of the Group 2 Variety and the girls are mostly of the Group 1 variety. Of course, I say mostly and not completely. There are those that would attend any meeting that they believe to be more constructive because it is carried out in a nice, air-conditioned place where the attendees all speak English and look like they belong to the same social class.

That’s about it.

Please keep in mind that I was not trying to be mean, in the least. I am disgusted sometimes, frustrated at other times, but mainly… I just ignore them. Oh! One last thing, did you hear that remark about “future leaders”? More AUC-implanted class distinction bullshit which, by the way things are going, is highly likely to occur.


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