THE BLOG

What are Egyptians up to Again ?

Those who don't pay much attention to Egypt would be forgiven for thinking that the images dominating their television sets these days are simply a replay of the popular revolution that overthrew President Mubarak two and a half years ago. They are not.

What we are watching today is an attempt by a majority of normal Egyptians to reclaim a revolution that has stalled. They are out on the street in order to reset the conditions for success, and to place the country on a more promising and prosperous path.

Make no mistake, these are messy, noisy, uncertain and unpredictable days for Egypt.

The country is in unchartered territory. The economy is under severe pressure. Most institutions are weak. A credible leader is yet to emerge with widespread support. And, to make things worse, there is no play book.

The mood on the street may look joyful but the situation could easily turn violent.

Every Egyptian understands that unity and national reconciliation are essential for navigating the most difficult of all revolutionary pivots - from dismantling the repressive past to building a better future. However, there is disagreement on how this should be achieved.

Some call for a renewed effort under President Mursi, especially since he was democratically elected a year ago. Many others deem his leadership to have failed, due both to over-reach in certain areas and to not delivering on basic economic and social tasks. And all wonder how the Armed Forces will react, especially now that they have given the country's politicians a deadline to get their act together.

Count me among those who do not have a good handle on how Egypt will navigate the next few days and weeks. It is so unpredictable.

Also, I am in no way underestimating the basic challenges facing Egypt in its important quest for new economic, institutional, political and social anchors.

Despite all this short-term uncertainty, I cannot but feel invigorated by an indisputable fact that will serve Egypt well for many years and decades to come - the unquestioned political empowerment and awakening of everyday Egyptian that has occurred over the last 2 ½ years.

Long known as a people easily ruled from the top by repressive regimes, Egyptian citizens are no longer scared, submissive and ambivalent on how they are governed.

Led by a highly engaged and committed youth, Egyptians have overcome the culture of fear that dominated so many aspects of their lives.

Most importantly, they believe they can, and should influence their destiny. And they are not simply talking the talk; they are walking the walk.

Today, much of this energy is dedicated to pressing the reset button on a promising and inspiring revolution that stumbled. Imagine what can - indeed, will - happen when this powerful energy and commitment unite under a common vision for building a better Egypt for current and future generations.

Egypt's short-term future may be highly uncertain and volatile - indeed, subject to unrest and the risk of violence. Its longer-term prospects, however, are much brighter than most people imagine.

Never underestimate what a committed and empowered people can do.