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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid