The youth conference in Egypt is one of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s creations, and has been held every year since he became President in Egypt after staging a military coup against the legitimate post-holder, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013. Al-Sisi brings together a number of youth from the elite and upper classes, wearing the most extravagant designer clothing and perfumed with the most expensive fragrances. These young individuals do not represent the hardworking youth of Egypt and do not represent the free spirited individuals currently detained in Al-Sisi’s prisons. They are the “Kiki generation” as he jokingly called them in a previous conference, when he addressed the Energy Minister and said that he should raise the price of petrol, and all they did was laugh along with him.
Millions of pounds are spent on travel and accommodation for these week long get-togethers at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. This year’s conference was the seventh, and he invited 5,000 young people from 160 countries at the state’s expense. This included air tickets, hotel rooms and transportation for the whole week. If the estimated cost per person is a conservative $1,000 minimum, the bill would be at least $5 million.
Al-Sisi then claims that his country is “very, very poor” and in need of foreign support. It is farcical that he then called on the people to be austere and tighten their belts. He also announced that he would be cancelling the annual pay rise for employees in order to save the state some money. “Do you want to build your country and become a worthy state, or are you going to look for potatoes?” he asked. In a previous conference, he declared that he was willing to eat just one meal a day in order to build the country. This is the man who moves around in a huge convoy of motor vehicles shadowed by aircraft to protect him, and then urges the people to walk instead of using cars.
Al-Sisi’s youth conference is similar to the youth organisation established by President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1960s. The purpose of that was to create a new consciousness and feeling of complete loyalty to Nasser so that he could influence the youth who would follow him with no hesitation or objection to any of his decisions or policies. That generation saw Abdel Nasser as a god and his policies as perfection that could not go wrong; it praised him on the day of Egypt’s defeat at the hands of Israel on 5 June, 1967 and refused to let him step down to put him on trial. This generation is also behind all of Egypt’s current disasters and woes; it is referred to today as Egypt’s elite. Its members are the military’s bootlickers used by the army in its charade of 30 June, 2013 which paved the way for the tanks to seize authority from the legitimate President Morsi, bringing the generals back into control after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak during the 25 January 2011 revolution.
Since Al-Sisi and those around him are degenerates who still live with a 1960s mentality and Nasserite style of leadership, he is copying him and is trying, by means of his youth conference, to create a generation completely loyal to him which does not listen to anyone else. He has insisted vehemently in the past that no one should listen to anyone else but him. Such conferences imitate the Communist system and its All-Union Leninist Young Communist League, or Komsomol conferences. The Komsomol was made up of united Communist youth organisations that were founded, developed and formulated under the supervision of the Bolshevik Party before and after the October Revolution.
When will Al-Sisi realise that the sixties era has passed and its followers have become dinosaurs? When will he realise that we are living in the time of a communications revolution that has turned the world into a global village?
Al-Sisi is mistaken in believing that he represents the youth and can hide behind them in the face of any future change. He hates and is against change, which he insists means the destruction of the state. He always links himself to the state — “I am the state and the state is me” — and says that if his authority were to change, the state would collapse. He is unable to differentiate between the state and successive regimes; that the former is well-established but the latter come and go. He clearly wants the people to live in constant fear of their country ending up like Syria, Yemen or Iraq.
I will reiterate that Al-Sisi is delusional if he thinks that the young people that he surrounds himself with and wants to use as a popular base will support him against any upcoming revolution. Such fabricated sixties-style structures that were not organic in their creation and growth will disappear with the regime that planted them without any roots. They will evaporate as soon as any change occurs, just like the Horus youth organisation and others founded by Gamal Mubarak in the hope that he would succeed his father as president. The January Revolution crushed his aspirations and such organisations gave him no support. Instead, they vanished without trace, as did Saddam’s Fedayeen, Lenin’s Komsomol, Gaddafi’s revolutionary committees, and all of the other youth organisations linked to tyrants.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.