Cracks in Egypt's Leaderless Revolution

Americans had George Washington. India had Gandhi. South Africans had Nelson Mandela. And Egyptians? They have themselves. What made the Egyptian revolution so unique and powerful was its impromptu nature, the fact that everyone rallied together without a true leader for guidance. The Egyptian government couldn’t stop the revolution because there were too many people to silence. The Muslim Brotherhood, the supposed enemy of the state, hardly participated. It was — with a little help from technology — people power in its purest form.

But, five months later, Egyptians are suddenly realizing the pitfalls of a leaderless revolution. There was no better example of the movement without a rudder than this past Friday, when tens of thousands took to Tahrir Square in a “Day of Rage.” Walking around Tahrir, it seems as though the revolution is now being fueled by a vast sense of anger and outrage with a myriad of organizations and people. Protestors were unified in their anger against the police and increasing hostility towards the military.

But will this anger last?

Cracks are beginning to show. Although everyone was unified in his/her call for a "better future for Egypt," each person and group seemed to have a different opinion as to how to build a new country. Different stages were set up throughout the square with different organizers voicing different concerns. Spontaneous shouts against the former Mubarak regime or the current military council came and went, but none stuck. None were able to carry the crowd. In one corner of Tahrir was a group of Coptic Christians demanding better treatment while on the opposite side was a small pro-Nasser rally.

Ahmed Mansoor, a protester and supporter of the April 6 youth movement believed helping the poor and social justice were the keys to “improving Egypt by starting from the ground up.” Fatemah Farid, a fellow protester and a mother of two, asserted that, “my children won’t be free until all of Mubarak’s government is in jail.”

The Brotherhood’s presence was also strong and one of their members who only gave his first name, Mohamed, said that “God was the way.” Many more secular and liberal Egyptians fear the role of the Brotherhood in upcoming elections.

Several demonstrations declared that Mohamed Tantawi, the interim head of the Supreme Council of Military Affairs should resign for the military’s role in recent violent scuffles. Numerous others disagreed and believed that Tantawi should be given time to restore order. As one Egyptian commented, “I felt safer in Mubarak’s Egypt than I do now. We [Egypt] need to restore order and the military is the only way to do that.”

Without one unified voice and clear direction, the revolution faces the threat of crumbling under the weight of dissension. A diverse political landscape with liberals, Islamists, socialists, those who support the military, Nasserists, and everything in between, the protests are currently held together by a notion of dissatisfaction. So far no candidate has emerged to condense the frustrations and voices of Egypt’s diverse populace into one clear message and approach.

The presidential elections offer an institutionalized opportunity to do so, but even elections are a cause for bitter divergence with liberals and the youth claiming that they should be postponed while the military council and the Brotherhood attempt to keep elections on schedule for early September.

Unless the people can agree on a few core root problems to tackle first as well as how best to approach them, there is concern that the revolution will not be able to sustain itself. A country famous for its iconic rulers suddenly has found itself leaderless.

At the moment anger is still a powerful glue. The fear is that time is weakening its unifying bonds.

Photo Credit: RamyRaoof

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

David Dietz

After graduating Georgetown University, David traveled to the Middle East to cover the unrest and revolutions in the region for www.policymic.com and his own personal blog www.TheMidEaster.com. David reported on uprisings and political movements from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain and contributed to reports for Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and the Huffington Post. After more than a year in the Middle East David returned stateside to launch Modavanti.com, an online retailer for stylish sustainable fashion. He is also currently a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post where he writes about his experiences as an entrepreneur and creating social impact through business. Besides his interests in the Arab world entrepreneurship and sustainable fashion, David loves sports and enjoys playing golf, tennis and skiing. You can visit his site Modavanti.com for all your sustainable fashion needs. Fun Fact: David has witnessed five revolutions/uprisings during the Arab Spring

MORE FROM

Democrats on Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court term: "We've got another Scalia"

Some say Gorsuch's even-handed performance during his confirmation hearings "might be more an act than it was a real persona."

Fox News just hired US Rep. Jason Chaffetz as a correspondent

Chaffetz is headed to Fox.

Here are the key rulings from the Supreme Court's busy June term

The court's term ended with rulings on immigration, the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and more.

These 3 Republican governors could pose the biggest threat to the Senate health care bill

Why some Republican governors oppose their own party's health care bill

When it comes to upholding the Paris climate agreement, America's mayors are leading the way

In spite of an uncooperative U.S. government, mayors around the world are working together to set the agenda on climate change.

The fatal Hillsborough Stadium Disaster is back in the news 30 years later. Here's why.

What was the Hillsborough Stadium disaster?

Democrats on Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court term: "We've got another Scalia"

Some say Gorsuch's even-handed performance during his confirmation hearings "might be more an act than it was a real persona."

Fox News just hired US Rep. Jason Chaffetz as a correspondent

Chaffetz is headed to Fox.

Here are the key rulings from the Supreme Court's busy June term

The court's term ended with rulings on immigration, the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and more.

These 3 Republican governors could pose the biggest threat to the Senate health care bill

Why some Republican governors oppose their own party's health care bill

When it comes to upholding the Paris climate agreement, America's mayors are leading the way

In spite of an uncooperative U.S. government, mayors around the world are working together to set the agenda on climate change.

The fatal Hillsborough Stadium Disaster is back in the news 30 years later. Here's why.

What was the Hillsborough Stadium disaster?