Egypt: Mona Eltahawy, revolution continues but can wait

Journalist in Rome with Aspen & Creative Commons

17 April, 18:45

(ANSAmed) - ROME, APRIL 17 - The revolution is continuing, but it can still wait another five years. During this period the winner of the coming presidential election will have to face the country's present underlying issues and will have to find tangible answers to the expectation of Egyptians; will have to offer solutions to the country's economic problems. This is the view of Mona Eltahawy, a journalist having dual US and Egyptian nationality and who was a guest of the Aspen Institute and Creative Commons at a conference held in Rome.

The conference ended yesterday evening with a performance by the 'trans-Arab' musical collective ''It will be wonderful''. ''We shall carry on working within the context of a challenge that will continue for the coming five years,'' Mona says. The journalist is well aware of the weight assumed by the Muslim Brotherhood and the country's armed forces on the political scene following the events of January 25 2011. Revolutions are made by minorities, she tells Ansamed. The journalist also notes that those still ready to protest on the streets now represent 4% of the population. But this minority forms one of the corners of the triangle of power that has formed itself within Egypt, with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Army forming the other two. It is a force that the other two have had to take into account, Ms Eltahawy stresses. As she notes with pride, ''We may be few in number, but we influenced their choices''.

Nonetheless ''one of my greatest frustrations is seeing how the Western media are now concentrating on the Muslim Brotherhood alone, just like in the past they spoke of nobody but Mubarak'', who was ousted on February 11 2011. It is true, the Brotherhood is important because of the role it plays in the mosques and because of its social activities, she acknowledges.

But there is more to Egypt than them. As for the presidential elections in May, the journalist expects the winner to be the former Arab League secretary Amr Mussa, who was also Mubarak's foreign minister. But he and the other victors of this first round of elections will have to tackle greater difficulties ahead: the people will not be as concerned about pornography on the internet as being able ''to buy bread and meat'' she says. Which is why those who made the revolution in Tahrir Square are willing to wait their turn. The Aspen Institute conference focused on the role of the media in the recent transformations of Arab society. Among attendees was the Deputy Speaker of the Italian Senate, Emma Bonino. The conference also provided a venue for a comeback by musical group 'It will be wonderful'. The group was born in Tunis last July at the concert with the title ''Sharing the Spring'' On the stage with them were several former participants at musical seminars held by Mark Levine from the US and by Morocco's Reda Zine.

These included the Tunisian rap group Armada Bizerta and Egyptian artist and activist Yasser Shoukry, once more working through the Arab revolutions in their music which was given its first performance in July against the splendid backdrop of Ennajma Ezzahra in Sidi Bou Said, the picturesque Tunis hill-town overlooking the sea. On an initiative by Creative Commons, musicians from Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia began working together to create original music. Yesterday evening's event in Rome marked 'phase two' of this project. (ANSAmed).


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