News / Africa

Election Surge by Egypt's Old Guard Frustrates Revolutionary Youth

A young girl flies an Egyptian national flag as she listens to Mohammed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate, at a rally in Cairo, May 20, 2012.
A young girl flies an Egyptian national flag as she listens to Mohammed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate, at a rally in Cairo, May 20, 2012.
Elizabeth Arrott
CAIRO - Egyptian youth are expected to turn out in high numbers for their country's first presidential election since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. Many of the young activists who took part in last year's uprising say they feel they are not fully represented in the vote.

Egypt's revolution primarily was an uprising of the young -- a rejection of the old, stifling, decades-long government.  So it is particularly galling to many activists that two of the front-runners in this week's presidential election -- Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafik -- made their names as members of the old guard.
 
In a cafe not far from Tahrir Square, youths who took part in the historic protests there now despair of the possible election of felool, or “remnants," as those of the previous government are derisively called.
Election Surge by Egypt's Old Guard Frustrates Revolutionary Youthi
|| 0:00:00
X
Elizabeth Arrott
May 21, 2012 10:02 PM
Egyptian youth are expected to turn out in high numbers for their country's first presidential election since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott reports many of the young activists who took part in last year's uprising say they feel they are not fully represented in the vote.
Mostafa Abdel Ragman Kajo is a writer and member of the opposition April 6 Youth Movement.

He says it would mean the death of the revolution.  It's not fair, he argues, that thousands of youths spilled their blood for freedom, and then one who fought against them became president.  

The other top choices in the race might seem equally problematic for activist voters.  Both Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh and Mohamed Morsi are Islamists.
 
But for Ragman Kajo, that is a qualified step in the right direction.

The activist says he could accept an Islamist as president, but on the condition he respects social equity and most importantly, the enfranchisement of all.

Although Sharia-advocating Islamists and freedom-seeking youth protesters seem divided on what the future of Egypt should be, their shared history of oppression leads to some common ground -- and opponents.

Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef says that was evident in a recent debate. "Aboul Fotouh had spoken of the right to demonstrate, saying the demonstrators don't have the right to use violence, but the state has the obligation to defend protesters. And Moussa's response was much more focused on the stability of the state. He doesn't see revolutionary activists as a constituency he needs to speak to,” he said.

But some youths are alienated by the entire field of candidates, saying there is not a single candidate who represents them.  Accountant Mostafa Akl, who camped out on Tahrir during the uprising, expresses his frustration.
 
Akl believes the problem is that “the revolution took place without having one person at the head.”

There are some candidates that have gained at least a moderate following among younger voters, including Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahi and activist Khaled Ali, the youngest candidate in the race.

But the general lack of representation has some already looking to the next election, and the five years in between to strengthen their position.

In the meantime, some, like Egyptologist and activist Dalia Hussein, are accepting and proud of who is running in this election.
 
She says the revolution was for the sake of freedom, so they won't deny anyone the freedom to run for office. But, Hussein adds, it's her right, and the right of her fellow young voters, not to elect those they fought to get rid of in the first place.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid