Egypt 'revolution youth' divided ahead of landmark poll
They came out in droves united in their desire to overthrow Hosni Mubarak, but on the eve of Egypt's landmark presidential election, the youth are divided over how to keep it alive.
CAIRO - They came out in droves united in their desire to overthrow Hosni Mubarak, but on the eve of Egypt's landmark presidential election, the youth that spearheaded that revolt are divided over how to keep it alive.
After a tumultuous, sometimes bloody, transition following the strongman's fall, activists say they are tired of the constant struggle with those left behind from the old regime, but vow to return to Tahrir Square if their revolution is threatened.
They are disappointed at seeing their spectacular uprising hijacked by the ruling army or by Islamists whose power has since risen, and as Egypt prepares to choose its next president, they find themselves leaderless.
Esraa Abdel Fattah, who in 2008 created the Facebook page "April 6" in support of striking workers and to call for political reforms, admits the youth are divided.
The 33-year-old activist, whose Facebook page turned into a political movement and whose name was floated as a possible Nobel prize winner in 2011, told AFP she is now an "honorary member" of the April 6 movement, lending the group support and attending their events.
"Of course there are divisions and this weakens us. But this is a phase," said Abdel Fattah who remains "optimistic despite the fact that some of the old regime is still there."
"With a new president, we will start the real transition and the Egyptian people will be watching," she said.
In recent weeks, the debate has particularly crystallised around whether or not to vote in the election and if so, for which candidate.
Abdel Fattah has picked Hamdeen Sabbahi, a pan-Arab Nasserist who joined the Kefaya (Enough) protest movement that spearheaded anti-Mubarak protests in 2005.
Wael Ghonim, who shot to fame during last year's revolt when he came out publicly as the creator of the "We are all Khaled Said" Facebook page -- another site that helped launch the uprising -- is supporting moderate Islamist candidate Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh.
Others like longtime leftist activist Mohamed Waked, are boycotting the poll altogether.
"I know we are a minority and that most people won't boycott the election, but it's about exposing the sham that these elections are," Waked told AFP.