July 21, 2011
After The Revolution: Groups Vie For Minds, Votes Of Egyptians
'Facebook revolutionaries' find challenges outside virtual world
Despite helping to push Hosni Mubarak and his regime from power, Egypt's liberals and pro-democracy activists are having trouble moving from revolution to politics, according to a recent article in the World Policy Journal (published by SAGE).In this in-depth look at the Egyptian political landscape, the article's author, Jenna Krasjeki, examines various groups vying for influence and public support in the run-up to elections this fall. One common characteristic that Krasjeski notes is the lack of organization in the groups of young, liberal Egyptians who helped serve as catalysts to the protests in Tahrir Square.
"Was it possible that they had enough power to topple Mubarak, but not enough to avoid being pushed aside in the new Egypt?" Krasjeki writes. "Secular-democrats and liberals are scrambling to organize. The result has been an amorphous array of organizations and parties, each trying to define a platform and identify leaders to sell it to the Egyptian public."
One challenge the youth activists face is the need to expand their grassroots support beyond the educated middle class in Cairo. While many of them were successful while concentrating their activities in Cairo and using social media, such as Facebook, to help spur street demonstrations, those tools are proving less effective in wide swaths of rural Egypt, where access to the Internet is limited. In the meantime, other groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the remnants of Mubarak's National Democratic Party, are using their political experience and organizational abilities to sway Egyptian voters.
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