Thursday, February 3, 2011

Adding Context to the Discussion on Egypt's future

We know that President Mubarak will soon be history. And we know that civil society groups will be responsible for his ouster.  While much of the discussion by bloggers and the formal media have focused on the anti-Mubarak and pro-Mubarak factions, we have heard little about the organizers of the marches and demonstrations.  We have seen little analysis of the strength of the human rights organizations and political reform groups, how they have built their capacity and what role they might play in post-revolutionary Egypt.

I intend to add this missing dimension of the analysis of today's events and prognosis for the future.  From 2004-2007, I oversaw USAID's portfolio of democracy programs in Egypt.  Many of these programs were designed and implemented by Egyptian organizations, and USAID funded them despite tremendous hostility from the Egyptian Government and the state-financed media.  My experience with hundreds of Egyptian organizations has given me some insight into the political environment that kept them weak and divided and delayed the development of the political movement that is unseating Mubarak. 

I want to emphasize that we are witnessing the struggle of the Egyptian people, and that any efforts by donors such as USAID to strengthen civil society groups and democratic institutions were intended to enable these groups to build a movement that reflected their own values and interests. What we are seeing today is the recognition that all of these groups have one common interest - removing Mubarak.  I hope to identify where their interests diverge and how that might influence the formation of coalitions that cooperate and compete for power, in a post-Mubarak Egypt. 
Rick Gold

No comments:

Post a Comment