The original architects of the uprising in Tahrir Square can no longer stand to see each other as political and religious divisions rule the day in Egypt.
Two years ago today, with history on the line and revolution in the air, a group of 15 idealistic young Egyptians came together under what became known as “the green tent.”
It was a Coleman “Montana” tent and its emerald color stood out against the ragtag maze of clear plastic sheeting and drab canvas tarps where hundreds of thousands of protesters set up a sprawling tent city that occupied Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
The 15 people using this eight-person tent as their base dubbed themselves the Revolutionary Youth Coalition. Through the heady 18 days of protests calling for then President Hosni Mubarak to step down after 30 years of brutal and corrupt rule, these young leaders were sought after by the world’s media and spoke for an array of voices in the square.
They were true believers in the idea of revolution, and they made history on February 11th, the night that Mubarak stepped down. They were united under that tent. Or, at least they thought they were.
They had no idea how bitterly divided they would become. As the revolution now splinters along religious and secular lines, it is increasingly pitting the Islamist majority of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi parties against the smaller, more fractured opposition of the National Salvation Front of socialists, labor activists and other factions supporting a more secular democracy.