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Egypt…we see, but do we understand? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It seems that everyone is in need of an interpreter in order to facilitate dialogue between “Ancient Egypt” and “Tahrir Square Egypt”, for it is clear that there is difficulty in understanding what is going on in the country today. Yesterday, a remarkable event took place with great significance, when the young, yes young, Egyptian popstar Tamer Hosni was expelled from Tahrir Square. He was booed by the young protestors there, when he tried to deliver a speech to them.

The youth were hostile towards Tamer Hosni because he tried to support the regime when demonstrations first broke out across Egypt, but this is not the important matter here. It was the reaction of Tamer Hosni that was significant. Having previously enjoyed a high level of popularity amongst Egypt’s youth, he proceeded to cry hysterically, and swear he had been deceived. He said that the ruling regime had told him at the beginning of the crisis: Go out and say something, save the people! He added that he had come to Tahrir Square to tell the youth protestors he understood he had made a mistake!

Tamer Hosni’s tearful outburst means there is now another source of authority in Egypt, coming from Tahrir Square. The Egyptian popstar was not the only one to experience this, for the media personality Amr Adeeb has been subjected to the same issue. According to “Al-Masry Al-Youm” newspaper, [when Adeeb tried to join the protestors], the young people in Tahrir Square did not want him there. This means that Tahrir Square is now imposing a genuine reality on Egyptian affairs. As a result, notable Egyptian personalities have come to the Square to be amongst the protestors, including Amr Moussa, Osama al-Baz, and other key figures in society, not to mention the multitude of academics, judges, clergymen, and of course the artists and media figures. This represents a diverse spectrum of Egyptian society.

Another highly significant point is that the protests are not confined to the people of Cairo or Alexandria, or amongst specific classes, but they have also affected the people of rural Egypt. They have arrived in the New Valley Governorate, which has witnessed acts of violence and the buildings being burned, including those belonging to the ruling party, and police stations! Demonstrations have also spread to Port Said, Suez and Ismalia. The protestors have also surrounded the Council of Ministers building, and the Parliament, and these are all important indicators. As I noted yesterday, even the official Egyptian media has begun to change, to the extent that if you read the headlines of an official Egyptian newspaper, you may be confused into thinking you were reading an independent, or even opposition paper!

Therefore we ask ourselves: when we look at what is happening in Egypt, do we understand it? Here lies the danger, for Egypt is not in a state of change, Egypt has already changed, but we do not know in what direction it will go. There is optimism, and there is pessimism, and we are all clinging on to hope, but what is most worrying is that our region does not yet understand that Egypt has changed. Therefore, today there is an urgent need for two things: Firstly, to help Egypt to pass through its transition safely and easily, without blatant interference, but on the basic principle that the Egyptian people are the most important. Secondly, there is a need to reconsider how to deal with the coming phase in our region, both politically and diplomatically, for we are facing significant changes, and their impact will soon be clear.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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