TED Conversations

Amgad Muhammad

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What would you change in the Arab Spring?

After reading many comments on various TED talks related to the Arab spring, I noticed that TED community has different perceptions regarding the uprising. I'm not discussing here whether the Arab spring is a good thing or a bad thing, I'm rather asking ..

What would you have done differently if you were a participant of the revolution? what do you think the Arab youth should have done back then and what do you think they should do NOW ?

Topics: Arab uprising

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    Oct 11 2012: Amgad, as you live in Egypt, I expect you will have a better idea of what can and cannot work in your region than those of us can who do not live there.

    What would you have done differently had you been able to influence everyone's actions?

    What changes do you believe may seem to those looking from afar to be advantageous that you know not to be, because of your clearer understanding of the situation "on the ground?"
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      Oct 11 2012: Well that's the point; I live there, so maybe I'm missing something.

      Sometimes when we're in the middle of things we don't have a clear understanding of what they are, only afterward do we start collecting the pieces and make sense out of them. But even then we're judging from a player's point of view, maybe those watching from outside saw something different.

      It’s not that we – Arab youth – think that we now have ultimate democratic countries or that we’re even close to having ones. But at the same time we don’t think we could have done any better regarding the things we had in our hands. You cannot suddenly educate a country about their rights, or spread awareness about what democracy looks like or how freedom feels, or that we've been living in a cage for the last 3 decades or more, especially when the government blocks internet and their media tell the citizens that we’re Iranian-American-Hamasian-Israeli spies.

      Yet, all that was manageable, it was democracy that actually kind of betrayed us. For instance, you would be forced to choose a parliament member who’s either an old regime, or imprisoned for being not an old regime. While the first guy is out of the list, you cannot just vote for someone you never heard of him. The result is a country with no old regime, but with no experience on how to run a country (how can someone have an experience in running the country unless he was an “old regime”?). That kind of things might be bad, but how could I’ve prevented them?

      That’s my perspective developed from living the events, but I wonder what those outside the chaos would say?
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        Oct 11 2012: I appreciate your sharing this background information about the context and challenges.

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