May 16th, 2011 by iq2
"Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!" So wrote William Wordsworth at the start of the French Revolution, and that spirit of euphoria still broadly infects the young people who massed in their tens of thousands in Egypt and Tunisia to oust their hated rulers. But in countries with no tradition of democracy, where corruption is entrenched and jobs are scarce, the political and economic aspirations of these youthful revolutionaries are likely to be disappointed. Add to that the fact that the Islamists are far better organised than the liberal groups and are set to come out on top in the forthcoming elections, and things begin to look very gloomy indeed.
But is this view all too pessimistic? The fundamental barrier of fear has been removed and the new democrats are mobilising themselves to make sure that the benefits of change trickle down to all. There's even talk of a possible split amongst the Islamists between the reactionary old guard and a more open-minded younger generation. As one of the two young Egyptians taking part in this debate will argue, if their demands aren't met, "the Egyptian masses know their way back to Tahrir Square!"