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Yosri Fouda on Egypt After the Revolution

In real life Yosri Fouda is relaxed. A warm character with a grey pin stripe suit, he settles down on a brown leather chair in the Frontline Club to begin his discussion. In a show characterised by positivity and determination, last night in conversation with senior BBC presenter Lyse Doucet, Fouda outlined his vision for the future of Egypt post the revolution.

It seemed appropriate that high on the agenda was the frustration of people in and outside of Egypt, an emotion that is widespread amongst many factions of society. One of the causes, he told us, is that Egypt is roughly divided into three. The Islamists, the army and the Tahrir Square revolutionaries all want a voice and "every force flirts with the idea that they can have the whole of Egypt."

But they can't. Or at least they must learn to share. One of the great things about the revolution was that Liberals met Salafists on the street and vice versa. They talked to each other rather than defining their neighbours with sweeping generalisations. A positive future means accepting others around you, despite polarised views.

Many are frustrated and fearful of Mohamed Morsi's election, and it's not just those who wanted a secular government. It's also the security forces and intelligence services entrenched in society, the last remnants of the old regime. Nowhere was this more obvious than the removal of Morsi's power by the army just before he became President.

But Fouda believes Morsi has done well at unifying the country, "sending the right messages concerning the main issues."

Not all of the audience were convinced. A lady in the back asks, "Aren't you afraid that the Muslim Brotherhood will become another NDP?" Yes they might, he answers. But awareness that this could happen is the greatest way to prevent it.

Many fear that Islamists could impose a more hard line lifestyle on Egyptian citizens but if "people want them then people want them…you can't start your road towards democracy by being a dictator." A lot of it, explains Fouda, has to do with trust and whether or not intentions to drastically change society have actually been declared by the President. "I really doubt people actually listens to what he says."

But concerns are widespread within a fragmented society and religious minorities such as the Copts, Sufis or Baha'is are left wondering where they will fit in to the new Egypt.

It's getting tense but someone at the back someone diffuses the situation. Why do you always end your programmes with an art and culture feature? She asks.

Fouda is happy to answer. "I deeply believe that this is the most important part of the revolution. I'm really heartened by all of these talents, of young springing up out of nowhere…people did not feel that they were part of their own country…people were alienated inside their homes." Now people have a voice, they feel part of their country and musicians, actors, graffiti artists are emerging to have their say. Where were they before?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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