Will there be a Tahrir Square after the election?


How urban planning accidentally created the perfect space for protest in Egypt's Tahrir Square

Photo by Ben Curtis/AP


In a couple of weeks the people of Egypt will make the final choice for the first president ever elected in Egypt by a popular vote of the people.  It is a very important vote for Egypt, for the Middle East and for the western countries; disappointingly, fewer people voted in the first round of the presidential election, only 46 percent, than in the parliamentary election.   Still the elections dominate the news in Egypt as the two candidates and their parties debate the issues.  One candidate represents the conservative, Islamic party of the Muslim Brotherhood and the other represents a modification of the former regime, as he is the last prime minister of Mubarak.

 The body overseeing Egypt’s presidential election said on Monday the June run-off would pit the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi against Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, confirming the results of last week’s first round of voting. The electoral commission, in a televised news conference, said the turnout was 46.2 percent in the first round of the vote. Reuters, 5-27-12

Not exactly what the world expected from the Arab Spring, the army facing off with the Koran – but there it is.  It would be impossible for someone as far away and as unfamiliar with the real underlying issues in Egypt to guess what might happen next – what kind of a government, administration and regime would a successful Mursi or Shafiq bring?  At this point, I doubt if anyone, including the candidates themselves know.  So what might we be silently hoping might come to pass?

There is only one thing that comes to my mind – Tahrir Square.  Egypt did not invent the Arab Spring, but it did bring something important to the phenomenon and to the world – Tahrir Square.   People gathered in Tahrir Square and peacefully lobbied for freedom of expression and political and economic change.  Egypt needs Tahrir Square, the world needs Tahrir Square – a place to gather peacefully, a place to express one’s opinions and a place to demand a better future than the present – a place of hope.  That is what I will be silently supporting, I hope Tahrir Square survives the election.


2 Responses to “Will there be a Tahrir Square after the election?”

  1. 1 Bill Hanigan May 28, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I doubt the bulk of the people who were in Tahrir Square would vote for either of the two Presidential candidates. So Egypt, where to now ?

  2. 2 Ken Adams May 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    No, neither of the candidates was the candidate of Tahrir Square – the established parties used their “political machines” to get their constituents out to vote – only 46% of the electorate voted – but if whoever wins does not close the Tahrir opportunity – the Tahrirers can get back out and express their opinions.

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May 2012
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