The violent protests rocking Egypt are not the typical variety of revolution, says Dr. Ian Lustick, a well-known political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who sat down with the International Business Times yesterday.
Dr. Lustick said the protests, which have swept across Egypt, Tunisia and other part of the Middle East since the beginning of last week, is not about the “haves vs. the have-nots,” as was the French revolution during the nineteenth century and the Bolshevik revolution in Russia at the turn of the twentieth century.
Dr. Lustick said “The protestors in the streets of Egypt are not [being perpetrated] by the poor of the country, [nor] with a few exceptions, [by] the working class.”
He added that he does not see any danger of the uprisings being spread to the U.S. “[The protestors] are what would normally be called ‘middle class’ people who are just fed up with having so much less opportunity and dignity and freedom than they have expected they and people like them should have.”
Dr. Lustick warned, however, that the violence happening in Egypt right now is only a fraction of what’s to come if the country’s poor get involved.
“This revolution may be over, in fact, before the poor even hit the streets. But if that happens, watch out. It hasn’t yet.”
Dr. Lustick went on to say, however, that Egypt is close to breaking, and much of it is due to the social media. For example, it is rumored that the uprising in Tunisia was caused, in large part, by articles on Wikileaks.com.
“Social media, [like] in Tunisia, and just repeated smaller surges of this kind of discontent has brought Egypt extremely close to the tipping point that Tunisia passed just a bit ago,” said Dr. Lustick.
He added that social media may have helped plant the idea of revolution in the minds of Egyptian citizens.
“[Egypt’s political system] is a fundamentally decrepit system surviving on the thin belief that too many of those who want change will be dissuaded from taking personal risks by the hope that others will do it for them,” said Dr. Lustick.
Currently, Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak is said to have fled to his home in Sharm el-Sheikh with his family yesterday, as the Egyptian army struggles to quell the protests and looters now are attacking the streets.