Source Newsroom: Cornell University
Mostafa Minawi, assistant professor of history at Cornell University, shares his observations after returning from a visit to Cairo, Egypt, last week.
The clashes in Cairo are not between ‘secular’ and ‘conservative’ Egyptians.
“It is important not to over simplify the protests taking place in Cairo as a clash between religiously conservative Egyptians and the ‘secular’ Egyptians. The Anti-Muslim Brotherhood protesters are made out of a wide cross-section of Egyptian society; religiously conservative, observant Muslims and secular Muslims, Christians, leftists, nationalists, liberals, rich, poor, middle class, students, white collar and blue collar workers, men, and women, amongst others. While there are staunch supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in their attempt to have a choke hold on power by hijacking the constitution writing process and giving President Morsi unprecedented powers, the rest are ordinary Egyptians who refuse to allow the revolution to be usurped by one political party.”
Even though the revolution is alive and well in Cairo, the danger of revolution fatigue threatens to curtail the opposition’s efforts.
“I think the real danger for the opposition is ‘revolution fatigue.’ Most Egyptians understand why so many of their fellow citizens have risen up in anger, again. Nevertheless, with an ailing economy, rising unemployment and heavily reduced governmental services, a large majority of the Egyptian population is hurting and is less willing to support further disruption to their daily lives. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are betting on this revolution fatigue to minimize the will of the ordinary Egyptian to support the anti-government protestors, promising that they will bring back security and economic stability to Egypt. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood might have made a dangerous bet. Egyptians from all walks of life, tired and beaten down, refuse to go back to the days of stability through dictatorship, even if Morsi and his supporters present it as a form of benevolent paternalism.”
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