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Sisi held a youth conference, so Egyptian youth held their own

Thousands gather for national youth conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, while critics take part in online youth event
(National Youth Conference Promotion)
Par MEE staff

Egyptian youth have taken to Twitter to run their own virtual conference to rival the official National Youth Conference (NYC) being hosted by the government at the Sharm el-Sheikh resort. 

Starting on Tuesday and running for three days, the Sharm el-Sheikh event claims to be the first of its kind and is hosting more than 3,000 Egyptian youth leaders as well as government and religious officials.

The conference is touted as giving opportunities for debates and discussion of Egypt's socio-economic issues with titles of sessions including "The relation between public freedom and political engagement of youth" and "The study of the causes of violence in football stadiums and the methods of retaining spectators".

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was pictured arriving at the conference earlier on Tuesday. 

The conference was announced earlier this year at the same time as the president declared 2016 to be the "Year of the Youth". 

However, Egyptian youth dissatisfied with the government discourse have taken to Twitter to hold a virtual youth conference to raise issues not being aired at the official event, including enforced disappearances and lack of freedoms. 

The hashtag #WhereHaveAllTheYoungOnesGone is being used to make this point and has been promoted by activists and political commentators.

This comes after a recent Twitter storm #WhyWeShouldHaveAnotherRevolution trended in Egypt. 

Prison humour

This user posted a road sign showing directions to some of Egypt’s main prisons

Translation: #WhereHaveAllTheYoungOnesGone Search here, I’m sure you’ll find many of them

Translation: If Sisi held the #National_Youth_Conference in Prison, there would have been a larger attendance than Sharm El-Shiekh

Translation: Where else are they going to be? They are either going to be buried in the ground, or imprisoned above ground or thrown off the grounds completely. 

Highlighting specific cases 

Other participants raised the cases of young people who have been jailed by the Sisi administration and still languish in prison.

Translation: Today is Ayman Musah’s 23rd birthday. He’s been sentenced to 15 years jail. Because he rebelled and killed and tortured and imprisoned? No, because he held up this sign and chanted. (Sign reads: Why do you kill me when I am expressing my opinion?)

Translation: They’ve been thrown into prisons for more than a year and a half because of one guy who is deranged and useless 

Conference criticised

Translation: The money that has been spent on the conference could’ve been used to help some youth to start a small enterprise instead of them trying to escape poverty only to then die at sea. 

And some shared thoughts of solidarity

Translation: But they are still staying strong and steady, and holding their heads up in the sky 

Another revolution?

Last night another hashtag 'Why we should have another revolution' was trending number one in Egypt as social media users took to Twitter to discuss reasons for another uprising. Turmoil in Egypt has forced citizens to break their silence on the suffering they face as living standards worsen.

An emotional video of a Tuk-Tuk driver bemoaning the dire state of the country went viral earlier this month alongside another three videos of Egyptians airing their concerns that also shook social media. 

Translation: #Why_should_we_have_another_revolution to free our army, judiciary and police from the grip of Sisi and his corrupt criminal gang 

Translation: #Why_should_we_have_another_revolution Mohannad died, 12 of our soldiers died, people with no crime are imprisoned, price surges and oppression, and whoever speaks disappears, so the revolution needs to return

Translation: #This_is_Egypt_Sisi People are killing each other over a kilo of sugar. This is Egypt after the coup. #Why_should_we_have_another_revolution

Some were cynical

Some commentators on social media were sceptical that anything good could come from another uprising, given the violence now besetting several countries in the region.

Translation: #Why_should_we_have_another_revolution so we can follow Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq because we couldn't make it the last time. And Obama is scared to leave without us being like them.

The Ghalaba Movement, meaning Movement of the Marginalised, has called for mass protests on 11 November amid growing unrest over goods shortages and subsidy cuts in the struggling country.

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