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Egypt's youth undeterred on path for freedom

Emboldened by the strength of their conviction, the protesters who overwhelmed Egypt's security apparatus in the early days of the demonstrations have broken down barriers and inspired change

Gamal Abdel-Gawad , Wednesday 9 Feb 2011
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Views: 1941

I send a salute of reverence, respect and appreciation to the youth who contributed to the march on 25 January, and everyone across Egypt who responded to their call. I will not discuss the ideas and visions and plans of the youth because there are other occasions for that. Today is the day to celebrate them.

The youth have their ideas and principles, but the most valuable asset they possess is their boundless courage to face the security forces, which no one believed they would be able to defeat based on the imbalance of power and capability. Courage is when you come out at a moment when the strength is against you, but the youth of 25 January had a degree of innocence and purity which enabled them to ignore this balance and leap over it.

Talk of power equations is troubling because we all measure our words and deeds a thousand times before uttering them or taking action. There were hypocrites amongst us who only said what the emperor wanted to hear, and there were those who knew the truth and spoke it in a timid manner with many evasions on account of sensitivities and implications. This diluted the content of their words because they were not sharp enough to penetrate thick skins. Only the uncalculating youth were able to speak the truth about the emperor’s new clothes. They spoke and liberated us from the shackles of these calculations, and so we thank the youth and recognise their accomplishments.

The youth of 25 January had the courage to come out and the resilience to remain. I will not talk about their return to the streets after they were forced to leave Tahrir Square on the night of 25 January, or their resilience for six long hours during on 28 January, not only after security forces evacuated from the square but altogether fled across Egypt. Instead, I will talk about their steadfastness on the day the camels came.

They remained undeterred when hooligans rampaged on horses and camels through Tahrir Square, when, that night, it burned. And that night bullets cut down young demonstrators, whose corpses were pulled back by their colleagues to the warmth of their friends in the square.

The youth were resolute throughout all these difficulties, and when they overcame them I was certain that Egypt had overcome its predicament. The youth proved without a doubt that defeating them by force is impossible, which opened the door to political debate and negotiations. This is the only way out of this crisis.

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