Dr. Rabab El Mahdi, an activist in Egypt and a faculty member at the University of Cairo, called out the title of the Middle East Institute annual conference in Washington, DC: “Managing Transition, Containing Conflict: The Middle East in 2014.”
She said that foreign policy analysts make the following two mistakes: (1) using the word “transition” instead of “revolution,” and (2) trying to “contain conflict” that is a natural and inevitable part of the revolutionary process.
In a controversial response to a question about social media in the revolution, she responded, “the hype about social media is overrated.”
Technology is only a means of communication, she continued, but all of the preconditions for revolution independent of social media were present in Egypt. She noted that many tried to organize protests via social media that had no turnout.
Dr. El Mahdi reiterated the complex problems underlying the political situation in Egypt, including the lack of transitional justice and economic distribution.
Everyone present could agree with her conclusion: Egypt is “not settling anytime soon.”