Polarized Egyptians get a third option

Amidst growing rift between Brotherhood, army supporters, new Egyptian movement goes against both; 'They're keeping revolution's ember alive,' says Egyptian novelist

While many may say that Egypt's second revolution was on June 30, when protesters ousted democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, some Egyptians think it's not over yet.


Concerned over polarization in the country and alienated by both sides in Egypt's struggle for control, several hundred young Egyptians recently formed what they call the "The Third Square," a reference to two other Cairo squares where masses from opposing sides have held mass rallies.


Related stories:


Banker Moatassem Gaballah, a Third Square member, told The Media Line at their recent rally that the group was formed by young Egyptians who felt they were not being represented got together to make their voices heard.


"We didn't like what we saw in Egypt lately, and we don't want there to be the false impression that Egypt is only divided into two groups, those who favor the army or who favor the Muslim Brotherhood – we are against both," he said.


"They've created a space where the original attitude of the revolution expresses itself, where the aims of the revolution are remembered. They're keeping an ember alive," Ahdaf Soueif, an Egyptian novelist endorsing the campaign, told the Reuters news agency.


Fellow activist and singer of Egyptian band Eskenderella, Samia Jahin, added, “Maybe there’s only a few of us tonight. But soon you might hear of another group like ours in another square."


Third Square demonstrators filled most of Sphinx Square in Cairo's Mohandesin section earlier this week, shouting slogans vilifying the army and the Muslim Brotherhood.


"Mina Daniel (who died in the clashes with the police and the Moslem Brotherhood was slain by Tantawi -- who is responsible?" was one slogan and "Egyptians died in Raba'a, and Sissi is responsible!" another.


They were referring to both the former and current heads of Egypt's armed forces and to clashes near the Raba'a Mosque between Morsi supporters and Egyptian security forces, where over 70 demonstrators were killed.


The Third Square demonstrators also chanted against the United States and President Barack Obama for not backing the Egyptian people, shouting: "Barack, oh son of the people, shame on you." Some held banners reading, "Down with all traitors, the military and the Brotherhood," and "Stop the return of Mubarak's state,” referring to long-time autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak.


Dozens turned up for the Third Square rally to reject the rule of the army and the Muslim Brotherhood. "We are against the return of the arrests by police and state security, against the return of military abuses," one demonstrator told The Media Line


The cause, not the numbers

Mina Maher, a Christian Egyptian, claimed that he has not seen any changes in the country, despite the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood regime. "Do not ask me to support the military or General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi. His decisions caused divisions in the Egyptian streets and we don't know if this will end or not."


During Morsi's one year of rule, poor management of resources and a sudden fuel crisis led to increasing criticism of the government. "We should put the Muslim Brotherhood on trial (for this) and they should be brought to justice without violation of their human rights," Maher told The Media Line.


He added that he joined the Third Square movement because he didn't like what the army did by favoring one party over the other, their closing of TV channels and their attacking protesters with live bullets. "We have a peaceful battle with the military. The revolution we know was for a civilian ruler, and not a religious one," he said.


The movement is growing, as seen by its marches and protests spreading over other Egyptian cities, Group leaders claim they are trying to end the tyranny and fascism practiced by Egyptian leaders.


Whether or not their revolution will benefit Egyptians in the short tem remains to be seen, but the atmosphere in both social and political spheres is gloomy.


Third Square leaders, however, remain optimistic that their relatively small number of members will not result in their inability to have any impact, pointing to the power of ideas.


“Back in 2011 when we started protesting against Hosni Mubarak, we were insulted. They called us lunatics and dreamers,” 30-year-old Ahmed Nasr told Reuters. “It's not about the numbers, it's about the cause.”


Article written by Sherif Elhelwa, courtesdy of The Media Line



  • Receive Ynetnews updates directly to your desktop




פרסום ראשון: 08.01.13, 18:11
 new comment
This will delete your current comment