A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Sandmonkey" Assesses Blame, Finds Some Ground for Optimism

There is a plethora of "How the Revolution Failed" and "What We Did Wrong" and "The End of the Egyptian Revolution? think pieces out there today. There is also an original, thoughtful, and outside-the-box assessment from Mahmoud Salem, aka "Sandmonkey," called "Chapter's End." He sees this as the end of Stage One of the Egyptian Revolution. He recognizes the failings of the revolutionaries and how the old regime and the Muslim Brotherhood ended up as the last men standing in the Presidential election. He sees the road ahead in fairly pragmatic terms:
If you are a revolutionary, show us your capabilities. Start something. Join a party. Build an institution. Solve a real problem. Do something except running around from demonstration to marsh to sit-in. This is not street work: real street work means moving the street, not moving in the street. Real street work means that the street you live in knows you and trusts you, and will move with you , because you help them and care for them, not because you want to achieve some lofty notions you read about in a book without any real understanding on how to apply it on Egyptian soil. You have done nothing of the kind so far, and it’s the only way you will get ahead.
While I wouldn't exactly call his post optimistic, it does seek to lookforward rather than merely bewail that all is lost, and he recognizes that much that was achieved remains:
While we are too busy to mourn our losses, we should also not forget our gains; This is what we won:

  • Hosny Mubarak, his son and his VP are not ruling us.
  • The NDP is broken into many different pieces
  • The next President is chosen through fair, competitive and democratic elections, not matter what the outcome.
  • Freedom of Expression, press and speech.
  • The weakening of the MB, the salafis, the end of using religious speech for political gains (Notice how Morsy didn’t say a single Sharia thing in the past 2 weeks)
  • Serious understanding to the nature of the state we live in and the roots of its problems, which we never really knew before.
  • Interlinking between individuals all over the governorates that would’ve never taken place otherwise.
  • Serious weakening of classism in a classist society
  • Incredible amount of art, music and culture that was unleashed all over the country
  • Entire generations in schools and universities that have become politicized, aware and active.
  • A serious evaluation of our intelligentsia and why they suck.
  • Discovering the difference between symbols and leaders, and our need for the latter than the former.
Read the whole thing. It's thoughtful and doesn't repeat the same laments.

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