The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
The Egyptian Twitterati Falter

Liberal activists called for a day of strikes and protests in Egypt over the weekend. Only a few people turned out, to “very little impact,” reports the BBC:

Strikes at universities attracted small numbers of protesters, and public transport in Cairo ran as normal…

…there was no disruption at Egypt’s airports.

The industrial action also had no impact on the Suez Canal…

Weren’t Egypt’s Twitterati, liberal students and activists, having brought down Mubarak, supposed to overturn the entire system? The West, especially media outlets like the NYT, put too much faith in the voices we could hear—liberal tweeters—but they were never representative of the bulk of Egypt’s population. For most Egyptians, things like stability, access to food and services, and security from violence weigh more heavily than the liberal protestors’ democratic agenda. Shocker.

Published on February 13, 2012 2:56 pm
  • Anthony

    Political/Military stability appears presently more important in country experiencing both poverty and population stress; causes of which may be beyond twitterati, students, and activist calculus.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    As poor and illiterate (30% cannot read or write) as the Egyptians are, why would anyone think they would be influenced by the twitter crowd? Which requires a cell phone with text messaging, and the further requirement that you be able to read and write. The Egyptians are about to receive some hard lessons.

  • Jim.

    Most other human beings find as much to object to as to love in modernity. The twitterati represent the fringe that embraces current culture wholesale; it’s no wonder they’re embraced by NYT types, but not by majorities in their home countries.

    We’d have far more luck bringing the rest of the world along if the West still represented and pitched the sort of Time / Life culture we pitched in the years immedately after WWII.