Where are the Egyptian liberals?

We have failed to locate the liberals who took to the street in 2011 and so have failed to tell their story. The news media assume by and large that the liberals are on the side of the Mubarakists, but El Baradei’s resignation shows at least one who professes to be one of their leaders disagrees with that assessment.

 

It does show that the liberals are vastly outclassed by the political acumen of the Brotherhood and especially the Mubarakists. In the crush between these two they have been first sidelined, after securing the revolution, by the Brotherhood and then absorbed by the old repressive apparatus.

 

Consider that the liberals mostly are young urban people who much more strongly identify with the secular, elitist, educated and urban character of the security state than the religious and conservative character of the Brotherhood. Their coalition with Mubarakists was obvious, the latter usually are elderly relatives anyway.

But we shouldn’t assume this is a run race, the restoration of the state that disenfranchised urban liberals and the Brotherhood isn’t going to be the end of the story; Egypt with 82.5m people living on the narrow strip along the Nile fails to feed half its own and relies on the largesse of others to fund its food and energy needs. Egypt must have a more viable economy that can generate the foreign reserves necessary to wean itself off the dependency on foreign, largely Gulf, largesse. Without liberal reforms to the economy and society Egypt can’t become self-sustainable and will be swayed by foreign agendas. Which is a recipe for instability.

 

http://blogs.ft.com/the-world/2013/08/egypt-building-the-narrative/