The fact that more than 77 percent of the voters in Egypt approved constitutional amendments that the youth movements and the potential presidential candidates opposed sends a strong message. There is a clear divide between them and the majority of the population on the pace and direction of the revolution.
Don’t take to the streets; organize, institutionalize and build the future.
The youth and these presidential candidates must work hard to bridge this huge gap and promote a consensual basis for moving forward. The answer is not to take to the streets and organize one-million throng demonstrations in Tahrir Square, as some young Egyptians have declared. Clearly, the people voted for a different direction.
The majority voted for stability, reviving the country’s faltering economy and getting their normal life back. This is the tough reality of revolutionary moments: they are sweet, uplifting, but end quickly.
Revolutions should transform, institutionalize and build the future. This is exactly the new direction the youth movements need to work on. They need to contribute and participate in building the country’s institutions in the post-revolutionary phase and make sure that they have a voice in the newly elected parliament and local councils.
Because of differing intellectual and ideological orientations, it might be difficult to form a coherent and stable “youth” political party. However, they can join the electoral lists of existing or newly formed parties and field youth candidates to the parliament.
More important, they need to organize into pressure groups and operate at the grassroots level to monitor the government, participate in development-related projects and engage the population. This way the youth can make sure that the revolution does not abandon them.
This piece was originally published in The New York Times