I will be very honest with you, Tahrir is losing momentum. It is not because we are weak or our cause is not just, it is merely because our message is not being channeled properly. We are losing public sympathy whether we would like to admit it or not. Rallying for numbers to flock to Tahrir is not resonating the way it used to at the time when we were calling for the removal of Mubarak and his system. If you are wondering why, I would personally say it is because many sane protesters are asking for the downfall of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF). This puts many Egyptians off, and dissuades them from supporting our cause, for they regard the army and its SCAF as the last standing intact entity in Egypt. Do not get me wrong, I do not think SCAF is fit to run the country, but asking for them to step down is empathy suicide. The masses are feeling insecure as it is, let us not rattle the remainder of their sense of security.
Now what? Now, we need to study what people consider radical offensive expressions, avoid them, and plan to appease the masses without compromising on our core principles. We are not crazy, our demands are not void of reason, and we really want the best for this country. However, if the masses cannot see eye to eye with us on this, it is about time to change our mode of communication. In essence, we have to strategically package our message and brand it according to public demand. We are part of a media war, and it is about time to step it up a notch and play the game the way it should be played. So, first and foremost we have to sugar coat our slogans to sway the sympathy votes in our favour. Secondly, we need to massage SCAF’s ego, not because they are strong and we are weak, on the contrary, we have leverage, and this is why we have the luxury to manipulate their strategies.
So, what is the one thing that concerns every egyptian household at the moment? The answer is quite simple: stability and security. Not one person would disagree with our need for a sense of security, be it food security, economic security, shelter security or even safety security. Consequently, our main slogan should be: WE WANT SECURITY AND STABILITY. A clear and simple message no one would be able to argue against or defame us for. It basically leaves no wiggle room for misinterpretation, thus allowing us to package any demand under set slogan. In essence, we want to limit SCAF’s authority, but of course we will dare not say the word “limit”, that would just mean going back to our old blunt habits. Instead, we will attempt to convince people that SCAF is spread thin by participating in politics, and we need their vital input to restore security in the country.
Here are some simple approaches we might consider adopting:
Demand: SCAF should not govern Egypt. The cabinet should be the governing entity of Egypt. The Prime Minister and his cabinet should have full authority in running the country.
Means: We will stop calling for SCAF to step down, instead we will call for full governing power for the cabinet.
Justification: Since the cabinet is formed of civilians, there will be no sensitivity criticizing them for any faux pas. Also, it will guarantee having one entity that could be held accountable for their actions. Meanwhile SCAF will assume logistical planning for the upcoming elections, since logistics is one of their fortes.
Demand: SCAF should not play politics. Tantawi and his team should not meet with foreign dignitaries or local politicians to discuss politics.
Means: We ask for SCAF to refrain from participating in the political shaping of our country. Instead, they should focus on developing a security and intelligence plan that would help secure our country.
Justification: SCAF taking sides in politics could compromise their status in the future, and we are keen to maintain their integrity.
Demand: SCAF should not have any legislative powers.
Means: We should demand all legislative powers to be transferred to an elected judicial committee, supervised by the government.
Justification: Again, this could easily frame SCAF in favoring one segment of society over the other, since laws and regulations never receive public consensus.
Demand: All military trials of civilians should seize immediately.
Means: This is easy, we are already doing it right. We just need to play the emotional card more often.
Justification: Apart from the obvious reason of them being unfair, we are also keen on avoiding animosity between the people and SCAF. Any wrongful verdict will cause the army’s integrity more harm than a thousand just verdicts would help their image.
I am certain my ideas are not the ultimate solution, but I am also certain that we need to change our approach. Maybe this post will encourage you to come up with some solution to our dilemma, or it will just provoke you enough to attack me. In all cases, just take a moment to think about an effective way to get our voices heard.