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Egyptians Need Political Awareness

Posted on the 10 April 2011 by Warigia @WarigiaBowman

Dear readers
I attended a lecture at Bassily Auditorium at the AUC New Cairo on April 8, 2011. The speaker was Dr. Amr Hamzawy. Dr. Hamzawy, who irritatingly is the exact same age that I am, earned his doctorate at the Free University in Berlin. He has announced his intention to form a new political party , the Egyptian Social Democratic Party. He has worked at the Carnegie Endowment, and currently teaches at Cairo University. Learn more about him here and also here. Again, translation was provided by a student. He spoke incredibly fast, so I have done my best here.  I summarize in some places indicated by [...] I was unable to stay for the question and answer period, but this represents the entire formal lecture. WMB
"I worked at Carnegie in Beirut. I write a monthly report. I teach political science in Cairo University. I am so happy to be teaching at Cairo University where I graduated. This is a very important time in Egyptian History. All of you are living it and joining in it."
"I am happy with the new Prime Minister. I am working with the Ministry of Youth. I am 43 years old. I am engaging with the Youth Ministry in the upper governorates of Egypt, not just Cairo and Alexandria. I have closen this role, I have not been forced into it."
"We are in a transitional phase in Egypt. It is not the role of political analysts to take a political job. They should raise awareness instead. There are four main points I want to make. {He did not immediately say what those were. They came out later} We as Egyptian youth, we need awareness and engagement. I do not think we should have one organization for young people. Youth should participate in all parties, and in all organizations."
"What is happening now in Egypt? The worry of all Egyptians, the changes we have asked for, the demands we have made are not being implemented quickly enough. This is causing worry. There is fear. People are worried because elections are taking place very fast. It is normal that we have fear and concerns. We never thought about having a real competitive election. We do not know how to participate in elections."
"Yet, do not let this fear and worry [paralyze you]. Do not become victims of the fear. Now, because of this fear, people may not engage enough in political life. There is a fear that one party will take over {Probably referring to Muslim Brotherhood here}. This will lead to where we have been in the past where only 2 to 3 percent of people were engaging in civilian life."
"We might be afraid to make a decision. It is hard to make up your mind. Or, if you go and make up your mind to vote for someone, you do not know if he will win. We must control our fear so that we can make decisions and form political parties. How do we deal with this fear?"
"We must be organized as Egyptians. We need more knowledge about politics in Egypt. The youth should care about this. We need a lot of political awareness all over Egypt. Awareness, Awareness, Awareness. We have to create awareness to make people feel secure".
"1. Make Egyptians Feel that they have freedom of choice
2. Social Media. We can use nontraditional media in an organized way to handle our fear. Discuss our fears in a written format, verbally, online.
3. Organize events like the one we are sitting in now. Encourage people to have events in the villages. Go outside Cairo, go outside Alexandria. Have an organization to teach people about democracy all over Egypt.
4. Each person has his own society, his friends, his family, his mosque. Teach them. Some people are asking for things to calm down. [Tell them that we need to ask for our rights] Discuss with family, neighbors. People are asking for their rights."
"There are four main ways to deal with fear."
"People are afraid that the religious parties will take over. [It is important to understand] that democracy will not always lead to what you want. This does not change the normal life. There is the fear that the liberal people want to cancel the identity of Islam in Egypt. There is a contrast. On the one hand, people worry that there will be a Muslim Brotherhood takeover. On the other hand, people worry that Egypt will lose its identity as a Muslim nation. [These fears are exaggerated]" 
to be continued . . . .

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