Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Egyptian youth party | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Certainly, Egypt’s youth have secured a genuine foothold on the political scene, but if matters move in the direction everyone hopes [i.e. towards democratic reform], which will be good for Egypt and its progress, we must be wary of some who seek to hijack what these young people have achieved.

As long as Egypt heads towards dialogue, regarding constitutional and legislative reform, it is essential that the youth movement has a strong presence in these negotiations; otherwise others will hijack the scene. Therefore, in order to preserve the success achieved by the youth opposition on the streets, and in order for Egypt itself not to lose all it has achieved, and at a high price, the time has come to declare a new political force in Egypt, namely the Egyptian Youth Party. This will prevent others from manipulating the efforts of these young people, and harvesting the success they have achieved. As I said previously, this would be an achievement for all Egypt.

The question now is: when the time comes for dialogue to be conducted with the opposition, who will represent the youth movement? Will it be the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wafd Party, or El-Baradei? It is certain that none of these represent the young Egyptians who have undertaken genuine efforts ever since the “Day of Rage”. It is in the interests of the state of Egypt to declare this new party, i.e. the Egyptian Youth Party, and for several important reasons.

It is clear that the Egyptian youth, or ‘the Facebook Generation’ as they have been branded, are demanding change. They represent a genuine power, aged between 20 and 40 years old. They have imposed a new reality upon Egypt, and are now a real force on the ground. These people have not only taken the regime by surprise, but –according to what I hear from Egyptian friends – they have surprised even their mothers and fathers. Most importantly of all, these young people are a political force without an ideological base, unlike the Muslim Brotherhood, who will bring only damage to Egypt and the region. These youths have proved that they are politically conscious; they did not get caught behind the slogans of Muslim Brotherhood propaganda. Many reliable reports have indicated that the Egyptian youth resisted all Muslim Brotherhood attempts to raise Islamic slogans during the demonstrations, insisting on a purely nationalistic sentiment instead.

The Egyptian youth is a force not to be wasted; they are the nucleus of a new political class. They will inject young blood into the coming phase, and help to bring about the new face of Egypt. Youth can also galvanize various sections of Egyptian society, of all ages, for if the Egyptian experience has taught us anything, it is that a generation gap is the real danger.

As I mentioned in my article yesterday, young Egyptians – according to what I was told by one of them, Ahmed al-Asily – understand that democratic practice takes years to construct. In order for this process to take place, young people must be given an opportunity, through the establishment of the Egyptian Youth Party. If, as Al-Asily told me, the Egyptian protestors have already achieved one of their demands, namely not to be subjected to oppression again, then today the Egyptian youth can achieve the bulk of their goals. Therefore, we should not leave room for others to hijack their efforts. Likewise, it is the duty of Egypt not to waste this enormous energy, without investing in it, in a positive manner that benefits the whole country.