The New York Times humanizes the ongoing Pan-Arabian revolution with uncharacteristically poetic prose that describes two years of collaboration between Tunisian and Egyptian youth:
The exchange on Facebook was part of a remarkable two-year collaboration that has given birth to a new force in the Arab world — a pan-Arab youth movement dedicated to spreading democracy in a region without it. Young Egyptian and Tunisian activists brainstormed on the use of technology to evade surveillance, commiserated about torture and traded practical tips on how to stand up to rubber bullets and organize barricades.
They fused their secular expertise in social networks with a discipline culled from religious movements and combined the energy of soccer fans with the sophistication of surgeons. Breaking free from older veterans of the Arab political opposition, they relied on tactics of nonviolent resistance channeled from an American scholar through a Serbian youth brigade — but also on marketing tactics borrowed from Silicon Valley.
Youth resistance in Egypt initially coalesced around the April 6 Youth Movement's Facebook page, and later on the page We Are All Khalid Said, administered by Google executive Wael Ghonim. Through both pages, and on blogs and Twitter, Egyptian and Tunisian organizers shared their tactics, successes and shortcomings. One tip from Tunisia, sent as Egyptians clashed with security forces, read, "Advice to the youth of Egypt: Put vinegar or onion under your scarf for tear gas."
A generation that has only known autocratic rule is uniting across the region, and build on the remarkable successes of felling dictators in Tunisia and Egypt. Even after celebrations wind down, however, much work remains ahead.
Egypt's military is increasingly exercising power to mixed reviews. Members of the Youth Revolution met with the military yesterday, according to a Facebook note by Ghonim (and translated from Arabic by Google Chrome.) Ghonim writes, "We all sensed a sincere desire [on the part of the military] to preserve the gains of the revolution and ... unprecedented respect [for] the right of young people to express their views." Ghonim's note seems to indicate that the military is committed to realizing the bulk of revolutionaries' demands, including an elected, civilian government, prosecutions for corrupt officials, and a specific timeline for constitutional changes.
The Facebook note also indicates an agreement between the youth and military leaders that the economy must be a short-term priority -- a notion echoed in the military's Communique No. 6, announced this morning. The statement, released minutes ago, demands an end to labor protests persisting in the wake of former-President Hosni Mubarak's resignation.
Despite the military's indications of solidarity, scuffles broke out yesterday as soldiers attempted to clear Tahrir Square. Some doubt the military's intentions, such as one protester who gave his name as Ahmed to reporters: "The military was the power behind Mubarak, so why would it want to give up that power?"
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