All those "third" ways
If there is to be a third way outside the old regime and Islamists, it needs work to establish it, writes Abdel-Moneim Said
The number of "third ways" is rising by the hour, as people scramble to find a way of doing things that differs from that of the Islamists on the one hand and the former National Democratic Party (NDP) on the other.
A whole new political scene is unfolding, entangled and perplexing, in search for this elusive "third way". It is hard in this scene to know who is right, left or centre. But it is easy to see that everyone has an axe to grind. Take, for example, a recent article I read by a dye-in-the-wool leftist, one of those whose parties won a few thousand votes in the elections. The author of this article claimed that all the other "third ways" were no good, because all are capitalist at heart.
More credible figures have also come up with their own formula for the "third way". Hamdeen Sabahi is embracing the idea, although he proclaims loyalty to Nasserist ideals, which were always first -- never second or third -- in their time. Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh is now vowing that his Strong Egypt programme will takes us down the "third way", as if the country's first and second ways aimed to produce a weak Egypt.
The list is long: there are those who until recently opposed both the military and religious currents and are now congratulating the victor and vowing to stay in the opposition. There are also those groups who spoke of a "third way" even before the revolution. And there are the many parties and figures that surfaced after the revolution and pledged to fight for a civil state.
So many ways have been drawn up, but I don't see anyone paving any. To pave the way ahead you need hard work. But nowhere do I see anyone capable of doing this job aside from the two political powers still dominating the scene.
The Islamists and the former NDP are still the best organised, the best financed, and most capable of addressing the people in the simple language they understand. So don't act surprised when the public decides to listen and to follow them rather than the "third way".