Sharif Abdel Kouddous, senior producer for Democracy Now interviews the youth activist and blogger, Alaa Abd El Fattah, in Tahrir Square on where the revolution stands now (Day 15, Feb 9). Alaa describes the contributions of the various groups driving the revolution, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and the challenges of making decisions among a disparate collection of protesting groups. He explains the complex options for pushing the revolution forward, such as whether to try to begin to replace regime structures from the ground up, and the entrance of the labor movement as a new factor. Especially noteworthy is that he treats seriously the pros-and-cons of both a go-slow approach to amending the constitution and the more radical option of rejecting the current constitution as illegitimate.
I highly recommend this ten-minute interview. Both optimistic and realistic, the interview shows how tricky the coming steps will be, seen both from Tahrir Square and from the White House or Foggy Bottom.
Even if the Egyptian government’s response to the expanding protests becomes more conciliatory, the central issue is that those supporting the protests cannot trust the regime leaders’ promises to reform themselves. Hence the significance of the readout of Biden’s phone call with Suleiman: the notion of “irreversible” as part of what constitutes “meaningful” change. Echoing Obama’s earlier statement that Egypt “can’t go back”, this was a critical step in the White House’s evolving public position. At least for the moment, this puts Obama on the same page as the protesters in assessing whether Suleiman’s actions reach the test Gibbs defined in Wednesday’s briefing: that the govenment meet a “minimum threshold” of change acceptable to the Egyptian public.
Transcript of the interview is at the Democracy Now site.