Thursday, 22 December 2011

Many Egyptians lose sympathy for the young revolutionaries

Many Egyptians, particularly in the deep rural Delta and Upper Egypt, have lost whatever sympathy they might have had for the young, mainly liberal, activists who led the protests that brought down the regime of Hosni Mubarak. And so have the voters. The revolutionary parties have won only a tiny percentage of the votes. In this last round of elections, they risk not winning any seats. The protesters, who also include many hardcore Ultra football fans who have had years of violent confrontation with the security forces, are also held responsible by many for the continued disruption to the economy.

The video footage of a half-naked woman being dragged away by troops, however, has provoked an altogether different reaction. One retired general insinuated that she got what she deserved; what self-respecting woman would be demonstrating anyway? But many will also be seeing this as a violation of a code of honour by the army.

The army knew when it took over in February that the longer it stayed, the greater the risk of making mistakes which would damage its reputation in the eyes of the Egyptian people. It said it wanted to leave as soon as it could. And yet it failed to act to do so; it is now paying the price.

The army is right to say that Tahrir Square is not Egypt. But the army will, nonetheless, be judged by the way it behaves there.

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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