What do the revolutionaries want?
By Wafaa Zeinhom
Staging a revolution is not the same as taking a country to safe shores. The young people who spearheaded the 25 January Revolution seem to have grown estranged from society, if not detached from reality. For them, anyone who doesn't rally to their call is suspect. Unless you want to uproot the whole system we've had before, you must be in cahoots with the SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces), working for the counterrevolutionaries, or intoxicated on parliamentary power. Unless you want what they want, you just don't get it.
But what do the revolutionaries want?
The best guess is that the revolutionaries are only comfortable being at the cutting edge of revolutionary action, and are determined to stay there indefinitely. When the parliamentary elections were held, the revolutionaries spoke about boycotting the elections. Some of them, breaking the mould, actually ran for elections. Most of those who did lost for a simple reason: they had no record of social work or close connection with the voters.
While claiming to speak for the people, the revolutionaries hardly deign to find out what the people want. The two most urgent public concerns, security and the economy, seem to have escaped their notice.
Instead, the revolutionaries focus on eliminating every trace of the old regime, even if this means putting security and the economy on hold. The revolutionaries, to be fair, have adopted the popular demand of setting a maximum and minimum wage. But even this demand is not enough. For the poorest section of the population, this demand hardly matters. The poor don't want a marginal increase in their income. They want their entire life changed. They want better education and healthcare systems and -- more importantly -- more jobs.
Listening to the young revolutionaries speaking on television one gets the impression that they live on another planet. The demands they make are not the same as those I hear from ordinary people in the streets. My advice to them is to talk less and listen more.
This week's Soapbox speaker is a journalist working for the Regional Media Institute.