Hossam el-Hamalawy, en ægyptisk blogger og journalist, der er meget aktiv i disse dages begivenheder, havde i går lejlighed til at besvare spørgsmål fra Washington Posts læsere:
Boston, Mass.: How long before Mubarak steps down?
If he does, do you worry about a power vacuum?
Do you see ElBaradei as property interim leader until free and fair elections can be held?
Hossam el-Hamalawy: I see him stepping down pretty soon or else he will be taken into custody of the protestors and will be put on trial.
I do not worry about power vacuum because the people are already taking initiatives on the ground to fill any security or political vacuums as we saw in the case of the popular committee that are running security now in the Egyptian neighborhoods, following the evacuation of the police.
Regarding ElBaradei, I do not want to see him as an interim leader because he will diffuse the revolution, not take it forward.
Sheffield, U.K.: Which are the opposition parties capable of replacing Mubarak and will they respect the call for elections?
Hossam el-Hamalawy: I don’t see any of the current opposition groups capable of providing an alternative at the moment. And what I hope for is that we end up with direct democracy, not liberal democracy. Direct democracy is based on collective decision-making from below based on the committees that are springing up now in the neighborhoods and hopefully soon in the factories.
Liberal democracy is voting for rich fat cats once every five years.
Bluffton, Ohio: As a university student interested in social justice and social change, what can American students alike do to help during this situation?
Hossam el-Hamalawy: They can protest in the front of the Egyptian embassies and consulates and pressure their own government into cutting the aid they give to the Mubarak dictatorship.
Durham, N.C.: How much truth is there to rumors that police are behind the looting?
Hossam el-Hamalawy: These rumors are largely through many of those criminal thugs who work closely with the police who use them against political dissidents previously in elections and in protests.
Coon Rapids, MN: Do you think the new government will be a secular one?
Hossam el-Hamalawy: At the moment it is very hard to say what the outcome of the uprising will be since it’s not over yet. However, the Islamic forces are not running the show. Personally I’m hoping for a secular system.
New York, NY: I am a Coptic Christian and would like to know if Coptic youth are taking part in the protests? And if you have spoken to any of them what are their hopes for Coptic rights if the regime leaves? Please give us some information. Thank you.
Hossam el-Hamalawy: Despite the call by the Coptic church in Egypt not to take part in the protests because the church is closely affiliated to the Mubarak regime but many of the Coptic youth are taking part in the uprising and the Muslim protesters largely welcome that and in demonstrations there are always slogans chanted by the demonstrators calling for unity between Copts and Muslims against the regime and denouncing sectarianism.
London: What does “diffusing the revolution” mean for you? What is the aim of this revolution if not an interim leader and then a properly and freely elected new government?
Hossam el-Hamalawy: The revolution for me is about radical redistribution of wealth and a government that will represent the will of the Egyptian people when it comes to civil liberties in addition to a pro-resistance stand vis a vis the U.S. hegemony on the region and Israel. ElBaradei is not the man for that.
Toronto, Canada: We see the size of the street protests but what types of organizations are springing up to organize these? For instance neighbourhood committees, factory committees, political parties. Or is it still primarily “spontaneous” and localized organizations?
Hossam el-Hamalawy: In many cases the protests are spontaneous but slowly there are grassroots organizations that are mushrooming to manage the protests, including the neighborhood committees, the few independent trade unions we have and hopefully soon factory committees.
London: Do you see this as a popular, mass led, revolution? What chance do the Muslim Brotherhood have of hijacking it?
Hossam el-Hamalawy: It is a popular mass revolution indeed. However, history is full of previous cases where groups have hijacked the uprisings. Up until now the Brotherhood have not presented themselves as an alternative to Mubarak. But who knows about tomorrow?
Washington, DC: If Mubarak steps down, is there a fear that a radical regime will take his place instead of a democratic one? How likely is that to happen?
Hossam el-Hamalawy: If you are talking radical, like in radical redistribution of wealth and active support for the spread of regional dissent against both the local Arab dictators and the western backers, then we welcome the radicalism. But if it was radicalism in the direction of religious fanatacism we definitely do not want that and I see no signs on the ground that religious fanatics are taking over.