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Social initiatives: A revolutionary new phenomenon

After the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak, an unprecedented sense of patriotism which overwhelmed Egyptians during the last weeks has continued to push ordinary people toward the path of reform.

Different types of social initiative have launched recently calling on Egyptians to abandon past negative attitudes that contributed to the backwardness of the country.

Cell phones play a major role in spreading the goal of these reform initiatives. One widely circulated message urges people not to break traffic rules, pay bribes, throw garbage in the streets, or stay silent about fraud, in an effort to build a new, more civilized country.

Mobile social services, including BBM and Whatsapp messenger–which enjoy huge popularity especially among youth–have also contributed to the success of the initiatives. In an attempt to improve the current deteriorating economic conditions, messages on mobile chat messengers urge not to overdraw money from banks or exchange Egyptian pounds for US dollars.

Other messages also call on Egyptians to buy shares of stock at LE100, aiming to rescue Egypt’s stock market, which suffered a sharp drop in the first couple of days of the uprising.

Due to the unstable political condition, Egypt’s stock market has been closed for nearly three weeks, after the benchmark EGX30 index lost more than 16 percent of its value.

“I totally support these initiatives. We don’t have to be passive anymore and must start to take effective moves in the right direction,” said Hazem Mohamed. “The revolution is only the first step in the way of reform, so we still have to exert more effort to guarantee a better future for this country.”

Since Facebook was a main initiating factor for the 25 January revolution, Egyptians of different ages have created groups aiming to come up with constructive ideas for improving the country’s political and intellectual conditions. 

Bahaa Abdo, a member of the Facebook group al-Shabab al-Igaby (Positive Youth Group), posted on its wall some of his suggestions: “Egyptian scientists must return to the country to help it progress during this crucial phase.”

Abdo also pointed out that new ministries should be comprised of both experienced and young individuals in order not to repeat old mistakes that led to the collapse of the country.  

Roba, a member of the “Together for building Egypt” group, called for adopting a unified slogan: “Egypt is above all” to overcome the current crisis and bring stability to the country.

Such Facebook groups also promote ethical behavior. Mohab al-Bably, another member, asks for volunteers to donate blood to an injured protester.

“Facebook is the best way to gather millions of people for change. This is how we started our revolution and we will continue efforts to reach our goal through it,” said Iman Sallem, another Facebook user.  

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