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

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid