Patrick St. John of the For Student Power blog has a good post up on how the demography and contemporary culture of Egypt is shaping the role of Egyptian youth and students in the current popular uprising. Among other things, he notes that nearly two thirds of the Egyptian population is under 30, and that one in four young adults in Egypt is unemployed.
Egypt’s colleges and universities are large and growing, but as St. John notes, the student role in this revolt can be hard to disentangle — with the country’s population so young, and the student body relatively representative of the country as a whole, the “demographic overlap” between students and revolutionaries makes distinctions difficult to draw.
Meanwhile, the New York Times this morning has a fascinating look at the strategists behind Egypt’s uprising, noting that the heavy lifting has been done almost exclusively by young people, with the “old guard” of the country’s pro-democracy movements mostly falling into line behind them. Key quote:
Both newcomers and veterans of the opposition movement say it is the young Internet pioneers who remain at the vanguard behind the scenes.
“The young people are still leading this,” said Ibrahim Issa, a prominent opposition intellectual who attended some of the meetings. And the older figures, most notably Dr. ElBaradei, have so far readily accepted the younger generation’s lead, people involved said. “He has been very responsive,” Mr. Issa said. “He is very keen on being the symbol, and not being a leader.”