But if Salah brings joy to the millions, leave it to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to bring sorrow.
When a man installs his son as the leader of the agency that chooses the Egyptian political elite, one must recognise intent. Sisi is tilting the playing field on three fronts: Judicial, executive and legislative.
This comes as no surprise, from a man intent on taking a nation from a republic to a de facto kingdom.
This state of affairs leads us to look outside the box. To defy a muscular opponent who controls information and its dissemination through numerous propaganda outlets, our political gaze should shift to an avenue with (relatively) restricted government oversight.
One of the chief errors of the 2011 revolution was the elite’s failure to understand that revolutionary transformation must be systematic. It must encompass, not only a society’s institutions but, even more so, a societal mindset – one which must be inclusive of all – women and men, young and old, Christian and Muslim.
Such a proposed “virtual party”, once large enough to encompass millions, must clearly delineate an agenda for change open to discussion and revision by all.
If this virtual construct is built on the revolutionary values of freedom, bread and social equality which most Egyptians supported only seven years ago, it would make a more nuanced platform feasible; one that is both politically realistic and pluralistic.
Inescapably, dreams must factor in harsh reality: mere public support for such a project would likely endanger ordinary citizens set on practicing their inalienable rights to democracy.
A technological safety net embodying an ethos of a marriage of human rights with encryption would offer a good starting point to protect the group and individual members alike.
Put simply, we live in an age where encryption is widely available on commonly used communication application such as Viber and WhatsApp. In this battle of David vs Goliath, the state vs the people, encryption technology – its necessary utility in the building of such a party – would make the visible invisible.
Some foolishly believed, in 2011, that the people and the army were “one hand“. In 2018, it must become encryption and the people that are one hand. Ostensibly, encryption would become today’s invisible ink.
Encryption shields communications from abusive regimes, and in Egypt’s case, that is a necessity, – not a luxury.
Instead, this umbrella organisation would be concerned, initially, with democracy-building mechanisms, indeed the very language and practices associated with such a lofty goal.
Directly, this would lead to platform-building that would represent not the thinking of a party hierarchy, but the desires and dreams of millions of Egyptians at large. Some may think it cliché, though it is certain they have not suffered the uniquely despotic Sisi hammer.
However, if you build something for the people, by the people, that vision is, in and of itself, a foundation for success where others have failed.
Failure is not an option for a nation with an exploding national debt, a finite water problem growing more severe by the day, a Sinai terrorism problem spreading into the delta and a regime considering further consolidating power by creating a political party, likely emulating Mubarak’s NDP.
Egyptian opposition has but two choices: Revolution or political organisation.
Potentially, such a party would represent the best of both – an evolutionary revolutionary alternative.
Make no mistake, there are millions of illiterate Egyptians, millions more functionally illiterate, in its formative stages, and such a party will not reach them.
But as an agenda becomes clear and develops into a platform it would engage those people. Additionally, one cannot escape the fact that internet activism in Egypt brings its own dangers.
Just days ago, Mohamed Radwan, known as Oxygen, a citizen video journalist with a popular YouTube channel, was arrested – and such government action is but the tip of the iceberg.
That is where encryption comes in, and where leaders of a nascent movement can decide on further steps to protect this political infant and its membership from prying and repressive eyes.
The conversation, and the party, is not about solving Egypt’s, Nile-sized problems, rather, it is an effort by Egyptians to become a necessary part of the conversation about their futures and the futures of children who deserve something far better than today.