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HALA ELKHOLY > The young are the hope to rejuvenate Egypt

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Mistaken are those who think the young are helpless. Egypt began to demonstrate exactly that two years ago Jan. 25. Today it still does. In the lead-up to Egypt’s third year of revolution, groups of young, angry and disappointed Egyptians showcased their ability to dissent in a series of events around the capital. Jan. 23, hundreds of the “Ultras,” originally organized to support their favorite soccer team, flooded an underground metro station and blocked the tracks for a few hours.

Simultaneously, they brought Cairo’s 6th of October Bridge, which cuts across the city from east to west, to a halt amidst the end-of-day rush hour, paralyzing traffic all around the city. Their rowdy sit-in around the main downtown stock exchange rounded up their warning signals.

This young group might not have been among the main dissenting groups demanding change two years ago, but they have developed today into a forceful group with a grievance they will not ignore.

Their initial involvement in Egypt’s Tahrir Square in the earlier stages of the Egyptian revolution shed light on their abilities to organize and their numbers around the country. They developed from young, energetic soccer fans to a true patriotic stakeholder following the brutal massacre in Port Said February 2012. The Port Said Massacre took the lives of 70 fans and their friends. The survivors will not forget and will not forgive easily. They have since awaited legal justice. Jan. 23, they announced they have had enough dallying in the courts. A verdict was postponed to Jan. 25, with rumors it could be postponed again.

They might not be the biggest groups, they might not be the greatest politicians and they might not be the only revolutionaries, but they are, however, the youngest and therefore a force to be reckoned with. Their power stems from their values, for unlike adults, they have not yet learned to compromise.

Their integrity, their pain and their loyalty to their massacred friends continue to ignite their drive to demand justice. Unlike their seniors, they have an unrestricted imagination, flowing energy and very strong links to each other. They believe in the virtues of right and wrong enough to fight for them vehemently. The one thing they are not afraid of is death. In all their recent chants, they declare they are willing to die if justice to their martyrs is not served. “Justice to them or we die like them,” is a translation of one of their popular slogans.

It has already been two years since the first wave of revolution; the second wave is just beginning.

Time is of the essence to all in Egypt. The old should never underestimate the young. The passage of time adds to the young and younger, while it takes away from the old. The future is theirs and the present will be shortly. It would be wise of the old not to underestimate their young. Unarmed with experience, unlimited by boundaries, unrestricted in their hearts and thoughts, youthfulness is their power. They will carve their way through. They are the hope for Egypt; the oldest human civilization, to once again rejuvenate and become youthful. We have been warned.

January/26/2013

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