The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Confronting political apathy

An interesting new movement launched last night called Shayfeenkum-- We're watching you. The movement's 12 founders, and reported 250 members to date, will provide an avenue for citizens to report any human rights violations, electoral mishaps, and other problems to the media and government ministries. Anybody can file a complaint through the groups slick Web site. Visitors to the Web site can write an account of what they witnessed, and then click off the boxes of those government ministries and Egyptian newspapers that they want their report sent to. It's being billed as an attempt to reinvigorate Egyptians' interest in politics, and an attempt to counter the lack of credible election monitors in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

Egyptians much lamented political apathy was the focus of a series of studies reported in the Nasserist party weekly Al Arabi this week.

Of the 5100 Egyptian youth polled in one of the studies, only 12% belonged to a political party.

A Ministry of Youth poll reported that 57% of youth don't follow politics.

While youth apathy is a problem in nearly every country, the most telling and I should think worrisome statistic came from a study by the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. It claimed that 92% of youth are afraid of getting involved in politics.

The same study reported that 92% see no point in political participation.

80% don't know the meaning of a political party.