By Salama A Salama
Nothing is worse for a revolution than obscurity of purpose. In our case, this obscurity has brought about a clash of wills -- let alone a divergence of pace -- between the revolutionaries and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)
which, after all, is the guardian of the revolution. The government, which was chosen by pure accident from the street, is caught in the middle, pressured and bewildered.
For the past five months, SCAF, the revolutionaries, and the government don't seem to be reading from the same page. The only point of agreement is that the old regime had to be uprooted. Other than that, everything else has been in dispute: how to handle security, how to try the old regime's men, and what to do with Hosni Mubarak. Even the termination of service for officers accused of killing the revolutionaries became a bone of contention.
The fact is that no evolution can move forward if it keeps dancing to its own music, the music that comes from the street. This music may seem enchanting, and is definitely loud, but it is also precarious. We cannot bring down everything we have before putting the alternatives in place.
The revolutionaries need to start thinking of the millions of toiling people who do not come to the Tahrir Square and do not seek radical change and fail to see a point in undermining the army.
Ordinary people know that the army, even if its actions are perceived as slow, is the only protection we have. The army is what saved Egypt from the kind of horrors unfolding in Yemen, Libya and Syria.
The revolution doesn't belong to the revolution alone, but to all of Egypt, young and old, men and women, peasants and office workers, rich and poor.
To be fair to the revolutionaries who gathered in Tahrir Square on the "Revolution First" Friday, one must acknowledge the fact that it was the protesters that kept away the thugs, the hypocrites, and agent provocateurs from the square. For all their divergent opinions and multiple speaking forums, they managed to keep the peace. Theirs was a model worth following in future demonstrations.
The revolution, I reiterate, doesn't belong to the revolutionaries alone. If they get too cocky to sense what the rest of the nation wants, they will end up estranged. So many revolutions have been caught up in a deadly cycle of bickering and power struggle.
We do not all work at the same speed. The revolutionaries are pushing SCAF to do things faster than it wishes or can. And the government, which is transitional in nature, answers basically to SCAF. You may have noticed how the government wavered in the matter of taking loans from the IMF and the World Bank. Or how the Ministry of Information was cancelled and then reinstated. Or how confused everyone is when it comes to whether to have the constitution or the elections first.
In a sea of hoped-for changes, of which only a small fraction have materialised, the judiciary remains our Rock of Gibraltar, and we must stick to standard legal procedure. We can call for speedy trials but not the guillotine. We cannot repeat the mistakes of other revolutions, when we're still regretting those of 1952.
Each time a one-million-man march takes to the street, I wonder: how can the revolution achieve a safe exit from Tahrir Square? The square is not wide enough for its horizon, and it is not big enough for its goals. The revolution has to find another way of action. It has to find a wider path, for the sake of this country and everyone who lives in it.