Sunday, June 05, 2005

Youth for Change movement

Somehow I ended up going to a meeting for the few weeks old Youth for Change movement. It is apparently somehow affiliated with the Egyptian Movement for Change (Kefaya). It is the youth component of Kefaya I suppose, all under the larger umbrella of Kefaya.

The meeting was interesting. A bunch of young people that I didn't particularly identify with. Some were pretty cheerful singing some Negm/Imam songs before the meeting. Felt like I was taken back to the early 70's and 60's, and the characters were taken out of a Sonallah Ibrahim's novel. Ofcourse, in order to be a rebel and an intellectual you have to be a smoker. So I inhaled lots of second hand smoke. This is my contribution to the advancement of democarcy in Egypt.

George Ishaq started talking. Snowy white hair, but very youthful in spirit. I liked what he said but wasn't really convinced by some of it. He talked about how all the political affiliations should melt inside Kefaya and no one should come here trying to impose his or her political thought. He talked about next Wednesday's quiet 'vigil' at Saad Zaghloul's tomb at 8pm on candle lights. I made sure to ask for affirmation that there won't be any chanting or slogan shouting, and he and others insisted that there shouldn't be any (I was happy about that). He talked about how they will not accept that Kefaya's demonstrations be attended by only 2-300 demonstrators. We will not go out in demonstrations less than a 1000 (I'd like to see how they'll do that). He talked about how last week's beatings and indignity will not be tolerated again. I was wondering how will they stop that, until he said; "we have our utmost respect and trust in our judiciary, but if we don't get justice by this regime, we will take our cases to the international tribunals." I really wanted to clap my hands and applaud. He talked about how a member of Kefaya was arrested a few days ago, and how they would not rest until he's out, and from now on they will have dedicated people to follow-up on any one who gets arrested.

So then George left, and left the youth behind to practice democracy, and I wish he hadn't. It was democracy in its purist forms I suppose. All what they were trying to do was to come up with some organization of their youthful movement, form some committees to oversee the work, and some coordinating committee to oversee the committees, decide what are the roles of the committees, have less or more committess, call them committees or working groups, how each committee should function, bla bla bla, endless. But all was done in a democratic way, just a bit uncivil and disrespectful of others at times. So I left, and an hour later my friend calls me to tell me that they haven't reached a decision yet. I had asked to get the floor for two minutes to tell them to just start with any organization, and worry about restructuring later, start with something, stay dynamic, and most important, have a 2-3 non-charismatic leaders to get things going. But there were too many people that had their turn to talk ahead of me (and two said more or less what I wanted to say), and I have had enough of the smoke and the endless details, and who am I aslan, so I decided to leave.


Haal said...

'So then George left, and left the youth behind to practice democracy, and I wish he hadn't.'

Would u elaborate on that statment, explain that?

Mohamed said...

Well, by practicing democracy I mean how they were trying to be democractic in the way they were conducting their meeting. "I wish he hadn't", because the meeting was very unproductive (and I heard that this wasn't the first time).

Alaa said...

heheheh all very typical, thats actually how the grown ups kefaia meetings are conducted and somehow it works bardo.

well last time we had more than 1000 but that was due to the journalists meeting, I doubt we'll be able to get that number on all protests.

I still can't understand why you guys want a silent vigil, but anyway thats another thing I doubt will happen, its very difficult to make al hatifa shut up once they start, we'll see maybe the night atmosphere will be different.

Mohamed said...

Well, I think the demonstrations in general don't have to be loud, but especially those mourning protests for a few reasons:
1) A quite demo shows respect and sadness, over the unacceptable behavior of the regime.
2) No one really listens to those chants. They are quoted once in the newspapers, but gives a very different image, a more civil one actually if people are just silent. People keep shouting (just like in prayers) as if the louder they get the more the ones up there will listen and do as they want.
3) Especially when there are opposing demos with thugs (or whatever NDP) coming to provoke, it cheapens the cause to direct the chanting and shouting against those few worthless people.
4) I think the shouting just helps let out the emotions, and turns the demonstration more emotioal, less controlled, and thus less effective.

But as you said, we love shouting, and its impossible to shut the hateefa up. They were insisting that this Wednesday candle thing will be different though. They encouraged people to get their families and kids. Nice idea and all, but abit risky I would say.

Me, Myself and I said...

Hey that is why i am a big fan and advocate of civic education (mesh tarbeya brain wash wataneya)--since i sorta gave up on adults, i believe that kids need to grow into this culture, inspite of the environment surrounding them, not easy the contradictions they will face, but we are not living in a perfect world...They need to grow up learning how to act in a civil/democratic manner, how to be able to engage in a dialogue, how to express oneself, respect the view of the other (even if it stinks-debate it to death but do not shut them up and over talk them) ...But that said, i still give the kefaya youth credit for feeling the urge/need to join and do something. I am trying with my little mouse so when he has the chances to be a run for prez after opening it up..he can be able to run and govern this place in a civic and democratic manner..Yaaay for me..this is my mantra to encourage meself