by Stéphane Aubouard Cairo, special correspondent.
The anti-Morsi youth movement, christened Tamorod, started with a few words on social networks.
Hassan Chahine was one of the three privileged members of the Tamorod movement invited into post-Morsi negotiations by general Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi. Along with Mahmoud Badr and Mohamed Abdel Aziz, he is one of those through whom everything has started again.
When last March he called on the Egyptian people — through social networks — to come together and to “oust”” the Islamic leader, the ex-media studies student couldn’t have imagined everything going this quickly. Now spokesman for the movement, Hassan, “exhausted by four days of madness”, is taking a moment of refuge at Tamorod HQ, situated right next to Tahrir square. “We are really very proud of what we, the Egyptian people, have achieved, he emphasizes, you saw all those young people, they dared to say no!” The young man shows great humility, assuring that “Tomorrow everything will go back to normal, everything will be forgotten. The Tamorod movement is not an individualist movement but a collective one first and foremost!” That said, in the space of one historic afternoon, it is he and two of his partners who have been propelled to the highest level of the political stage. “You know, everything was very normal; we were received by the general, and Mr El Baradei was there also. (…) We are very confident about what is to follow…”
For Hassan there is no need to be suspicious of the military. “I hear talk of a coup, but this is not the case. The army is merely accompanying a popular movement.” As for the roadmap presented to the Egyptian people by general Al-Sissi on Wednesday night, once again Hassan approves. “This outline repeats what we want, point for point: a transitional government, the suspension of the constitution, the writing of a new Basic law and elections in the next six months’ period.” Hassan adds, “The Tamorod movement does not take sides, we have no favourite, we are simply a popular movement that wants a real democracy.”
So these are more or less the same demands as the April 6 movement, created by young people in the spring of 2008, which also succeeded in recruiting a large number of militants via Facebook to support the workers of El-Mahalla, an industrial town that was preparing to strike. “At that time it wasn’t Morsi but Moubarak who we wanted to get rid of”, remembers Khalid al Masri, director of communications for the April 6 movement. “We supported the Tamorod cause, he continues, for the same reasons: democracy and freedom.” That said, the new situation, with the army as strong arm of the country, worries him a bit more. “It’s normal that we should be suspicious. We already kicked one soldier out, we did what was necessary a year and a half ago for Tantaoui to release the controls. We remain confident but careful.”
As for whether or not the April 6 movement regrets having supported Morsi in 2012, the answer is clear: “We accept now that Morsi was not up to the task, but he was the only one at the time to have participated in the revolution against Moubarak. What we didn’t want was the election of Chaafik, the candidate from the old régime. And now that his return is being announced, we still don’t want him!” This intransigence in regard to the old régime is the main point of divergence with the Tamorod movement, more open to possibilities, or perhaps more naïve.
Original l’Humanite article Egypte : “Vous avez vu tous ces jeunes, ils ont osé dire non”
by Stéphane Aubouard
Egypt: “You saw all those young people, they dared to say no!”
Translated Wednesday 10 July 2013, by Leopold O’Shea