Secretary Clinton Holds Social Media Dialogue With Egypt's Masrawy.com

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 26, 2011

On February 23, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in an online dialogue with Dr. Ahmed Ghanim of Egypt's Masrawy.com. During two days, the Egyptian people submitted more than 6,500 questions through Facebook, Twitter, and Masrawy.com for the Secretary.

Dr. Ghanim asked Secretary Clinton the first question from May Ahmed, a 25 year-old Egyptian woman. Ahmed asked, "...What is the purpose of this dialogue, actually this social media dialogue with Egyptian youth? And after you communicate with us to better understand what we are looking for, do you think that this interaction will help change the American policies toward Egypt?"

Secretary Clinton responded, "Well, first, let me thank her and the more than 6,500 other Egyptians who have sent questions, the vast majority of whom are young people using social media, as you just described. The purpose of this is to communicate directly, to hear from thousands of Egyptians about what is on your minds, what you are hoping to have happen now that this incredibly inspiring extraordinary moment in history has occurred.

"And the United States supports the aspirations of the Egyptian people. I have said that many times in the past. Late last year, I gave a speech in Doha where I said that the governments in the region were not listening to young people. So I want to do that, and I hope that leaders will do more of what we are doing today -- listen to your people directly. That doesn't mean we will always agree. I don't know any two people who agree on everything, let alone governments and people or between nations.

"But listen, and then let's try to figure out how we can realize the hopes and dreams that were expressed in Tahrir Square and that are so important for Egypt, such a great country that now has a chance to demonstrate what it means to be a democracy and to move forward into a better future."

During the wide-ranging interview, Secretary Clinton addressed democracy, civil society, and human rights in Egypt. She concluded the conversation with this message:

"...I am very proud of what Egyptian young people have done. You have set such an extraordinary example of nonviolent, peaceful protest. We have a history of that in our own country. That's how African Americans got the right to vote because of Dr. Martin Luther King and what we believed in. We saw it in India, which became the world's largest democracy because of Gandhi and nonviolence. I have always believed that nonviolent protest, well-organized and disciplined as I saw in Egypt, will bring down dictators, will change laws, will change the future.

"So I begin with an expression of great pride in what I've seen in the young people of Egypt. I would follow that by saying that I hope you will stay engaged and involved. And I hope you will understand that having brought down a regime and having made it clear you will settle for nothing other than democracy, that you understand it's going to take commitment and determination to translate the energy and the spirit of Tahrir Square into the day-to-day work of building a democracy.

"And your country needs you. Your country needs you more than ever. And we will stand with you. We want to be your partners. We are inspired by you and we believe in you. And the United States is ready to assist in any way that would be appropriate."

Read the full transcript of the conversation here.

Related Entry:Secretary Clinton To Participate in Online Dialogue With Egyptian Youth

Comments

Comments

Joseph M.
|
Oregon, USA
February 27, 2011

Joseph M. in Oregon writes:

Madam Secretary,

In reading of the Masrawy.com initiative announced today, where Secretary Hillary has engaged with the Egyptian youth in dialogue and addressing a Q/A type session, well, this is the best news I've heard this week. This program is truly what is needed and remarkable!

This engagement with the Egyptian youth should be made a model and applied to other Arab nation states in the region, new democracies will result in each countries' youth being placed in a extremely vulnerable situation and provides them an opportunity to participate in a dialogue with addressing their concerns. I would consider adapting this model in other Arab nations experiencing change, for example: Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, and Jordon in naming a few.

I am very pleased in reading about this newly organized initiative, where a medium has been developed and implemented for actually engaging in a dialogue with the Egyptian youth, giving them a voice for input in structuring a better future.

Congratulations!

Ron
|
New York, USA
February 27, 2011

Ron in New York writes:

Memo to State: vigorously, visually and vehemently support freedom and democracy wherever and whenever you can.

Be proactive. Do not wait for a crisis.

Do not subordinate the long-term values of freedom and democracy to short-term objectives and gain.

Step up efforts to move other states away from the red-zone of anarchy.

Angelo F.
|
Arizona, USA
February 27, 2011

Angelo F. in Arizona writes:

The deeper meaning in those first 2 questions by Mohamed and Mahmod resonate with the uncertainty that many living outside the West have been asking. Why has the US supported these people? Gadaffi and Mubarak are not the only ones that come to their mind.

They have been getting mixed messages for decades and now wonder whose side are we really on? Implicit in these questions are the misunderstanding of how different administrations have approached this. But they don't see the US as Republicans and Democrats with different strategic approaches, as we rationalize. Naturally they are doubtful , cynical, even, wondering if we are merely supporting the groundswell of democratic aspirations just because it is the popular thing to do in this connected age of social media. Just as you mention how the real test of democracy is not whether a country holds elections (Mubarak did hold one recently!) or not, the real test of the US government’s support of democratic aspirations will not be judged by its Tweets or its speeches. They will hold these words up against every trade agreement, each handshake, or each sale of wheat or fighter jet. The world is watching, and not just our videos!

Joseph M.
|
Oregon, USA
February 28, 2011

Joseph M. in Oregon writes:

@ Ron in N.Y. and U.S. Department of State;

your recent comment on Secretary Hillary's engaging with masrawy.com intitiavitve is right on track:

"Memo to the State: vigorously, visually and vehemently support freedom; and democracy wherever and whenever you can", I wholeheartedly agree.

I would add, "supporting human rights and rule of law" to that list as well.

Again, congratulations U.S. Department of State on designing such a truly phenomenal program with Masrawy.com, focused on engaging the youth of those newly developing democracies.

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