Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tipping Point for the Egyptian Revolution

We had a very animated session in my leadership class last week. Using the book Leadership on the Line by Heifetz and Linsky, we discussed the leadership traits of Mohammed El Baradei, as well as possible tipping points for the Egyptian Revolution.

My theory is that for Mubarak to have stayed in power for thirty years with little resistance from the population, some kind of equilibrium had been established. Clearly, some thing, or several things happened, on January 25th, which upset the equilibrium, and put Egypt on a new path towards democracy. Here are some some issues identified by my leadership students which might have pushed the Egyptian people over the edge and towards revolution. 

  • Fraud in recent Egyptian parliamentary election
  • Insensitivity to self-immolation by four persons 
  • Provoking statements of the representatives of the National Democratic Party
  • Slow government response to people’s demands
  • Tunisia’s revolution and the president’s exit showing that revolution is possible
  • Bombings in Alexandria
  • Khaled Said incident months ago
  • Increased prices and living costs in Egypt
  • Police reaction and violence against protestors on January 25th and January 26th
  • The power of hope
  • National media coverage was provoking so people wanted to speak out
  • Gap between people's expectations and their possibilities expanded rapidly
  • Gap between the government's perception and the people's perception expanded


  1. Well, we are trying to make the next class more interactive and more animated. Wish us luck that what we re trying to do succeed. I hope you like surprises. Let's Cross our fingers :):):)

  2. We can at one point during the semester have an assignment and try to go back in time and pretend we were in the position of Mubarak and think of what Mubarak could have done in each of the listed factors, which contributed to the happening of the revolution, and work with each factor as an 'adaptive challenge'?

  3. I think it was a really intersting class discussion last week and I am looking forward to the next! :)

  4. Thank you very much all of you for last class discussion; it was very interesting and I definitely learned a lot

  5. The proposed amendments to the new constitution and the recently formed committee is a step towards the democratization of Egypt. The amendments have been proposed and a national referendum will be held on the 19th of March. The proposed amendments are very dangerous. We will still have statements that read "do not have the right to object" and "unnegotiable decisions", such statements are scary because this means that we cannot object or say no, so it is the same oppression that we were left with for 30 years.

    If Egyptians say "yes" on the 19th, this means that we will be having parliamentary elections prior to presidential elections. Parliamentary elections in two months from now will mean that the Muslim brotherhood and the National Democratic Party members will win most seats in parliament because they are the most organized groups and they have money as well. I do not think that the Egyptian people brought down the Mubarak regime to see another parliament controlled by his party and the brotherhood again. Perhaps we can discuss this in class

  6. @Rana, fantastic post. @Mustafa, I like this assignment idea. Lets substitute it for the leadership analysis!@yasmine, I am sure class will be fun.

  7. I'm following this blog from the US. Do those of you in Egypt have any knowledge about the attitude of the National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood toward the peace treaty with Israel?

  8. @Henry, I will ask my class. Which peace treaty are you referring to specifically? I think the NDP is washed up, but some other groups may have positions.