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The Egyptian Struggle May Be Protracted, But Will Emerge Victorious
By Stephen Zunes
With the subsidence of dramatic demonstrations on the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities a few days ago, as many protesters return to jobs and catch their breath, some analysts were arguing that the pro-democracy struggle had peaked and Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak had won. Tuesday's demonstrations proved otherwise. There is little question that the pro-democracy struggle in Egypt has achieved lasting momentum.
As with other kinds of civil struggles, however, a movement using nonviolent resistance can ebb and flow. There may have to be tactical retreats, times for regrouping or resetting of strategy, or a focus on negotiations with the regime before broader operations that capture the world’s attention resume.
Those who were expecting a quick victory are no doubt disappointed, but successful People Power movements of recent decades have usually been protracted struggles. It took nearly a decade between the first strikes in the Gdansk shipyards and the fall of Communism in Poland; Chile’s democratic struggle against the Pinochet regime took three years between the first major protests and the regime’s acquiescence to holding the referendum which forced the dictator from power.