I’ve been paralyzed for the past few days following the historic events unfolding in Egypt. I studied in Egypt in 2009, and I spent a year researching the April 6th Youth Movement (A6YM), an Egyptian political opposition group that played a significant role in organizing the initial protests that have since morphed into a national uprising. There are a few things that my research on social media in Egyptian opposition movements can add to the understanding of what’s happening in Egypt.
Obvious as it may seem, this didn’t “just happen.”
Clearly, the unrest in Egypt was sparked by the apparent successful uprising in Tunisia. And it is generally understood that economic, political, and social conditions in Egypt have deteriorated over the past thirty years. Still, one cannot simply draw a straight line from the events in Tunisia to what is happening in Egypt. An underlying fabric of opposition has existed for years in Egypt, growing larger and more efficient with the aid of social media tools, and it is this existing opposition which made possible the protests that snowballed into open revolt.