GlobalPost and Frontline Report: After Egypt’s ‘Tahrir Moment’

BY Larisa Epatko  August 17, 2011 at 1:15 PM EDT


Protester in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Photo by Mohamed Hossam/AFP/Getty Images.

Despite the removal of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and the start of his trial earlier this month, the organizers of the protest movement that led to the government’s ouster are seeking more.

Charles Sennott, co-founder and executive editor of GlobalPost, and FRONTLINE producer/cameraman Tim Grucza revisited Cairo over the summer to speak to some of the people they interviewed during the height of the anti-Mubarak revolution.

While they were there in July, they saw that protesters had returned to Tahrir Square to urge faster action by Egypt’s temporary leadership, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, to hold Mubarak and the police department accountable for violence against demonstrators during the initial protests. But the broader opposition movement was no longer speaking with one voice.

“Despite the unified cries for justice, the protest movement has largely splintered along lines of political parties and factions. All are competing for a spot in elections scheduled for November — and to shape events in Egypt after Mubarak. The country of 82 million is still far short of the goals of its first free and fair elections, the writing of a new constitution and the reform of the police force,” Sennott wrote in this FRONTLINE and GlobalPost story.

Some Egyptians they interviewed acknowledged the bumpy road but expressed optimism that the situation would improve. Here are some excerpts from their interviews:

>”I think that Tahrir moment was possible because we all knew, all the different political groups knew what they didn’t want — they didn’t want Mubarak. It’s a lot more difficult in the aftermath of Tahrir working out what people do want, what vision they have for the Egyptian state, what role religion should play formally, informally in the constitution, what they think needs to happen first and how they want to organize politically.”

– Heba Morayef of Human Rights Watch

Watch her interview:

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

Retaking Tahrir Square “makes us remember why we’re here.”
– Mohammed Abbas, a member of the Revolutionary Youth Council

Abbas explains the people’s quest for justice in this video:

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

“When the revolution happened, about one million tourists fled the country or left the country within three days…We’ve never been hit so badly like this…The change has come, now we just want to move forward.”
–Walid El Batouty, a tourist guide

He explains more here:

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

“I think that in Egypt specifically, there surely has to be a period of imbalance. This is perfectly normal, but with the presence of a youth force monitoring and pushing for democratization, it will surely succeed.”
–Ahmed Maher, engineer and activist with the April 6 Movement

Watch his interview:

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

In February, FRONTLINE reported on the April 6 Youth Movement and how the Internet-fueled protests grew into a revolution. Caution: the video contains graphic imagery.

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

Also in February, Sennott reported from Cairo for FRONTLINE on who’s in charge of the Islamist political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, as it gained new significance in post-revolution Egypt:

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

The NewsHour hosted Sennott, who had just returned from Cairo, for a Q&A in February. Sennott will return to the NewsHour on Wednesday to discuss his latest reporting. View all of our World coverage and follow us on Twitter.