More thoughts on the Tahrir Square ‘think-tank’

he use of the word ‘think tank’ to describe the discussions taking place within the square caught my eye, because it implies discussions of policy and new political structures: More forward looking, and less reactive.

One protester made a helpful explainer for President Mubarak. It says "Mubarak leaves. Yes: Parliament dissolves. No: Protests, disobedience. strikes." Photo: Al-Jazeera English on Flickr, creative commons.
One protester made a helpful explainer for President Mubarak. It says “Mubarak leaves. Yes: Parliament dissolves. No: Protests, disobedience. strikes.” Photo: Al-Jazeera English on Flickr, creative commons.

My earlier idea about publishing the thoughts of the protesters in Tahrir Square seemed to cause confusion. Sunny said:

@robertsharp59 so, er, we’re publishing blogposts by people within the square…after the event is over?

Well, that was not quite the intention.  The blogposts I have read from people ‘on the ground’ in Cairo and elsewhere seem to focus on the movements of the security forces and pro-Mubarak counter-protests, or other ‘in-the-moment’ stories.  The use of the word ‘think tank’ to describe the discussions taking place within the square caught my eye, because it implies discussions of policy and new political structures: More forward looking, and less reactive.

It may be that such discussions and ideas have already found their way online, but I’ve not seen many, and in any case they are scattered around the web.  Such ideas that are coming out are filtered, either through journalists or by experts who are not part of the protests.  These reports and analyses are valuable, of course, but I think primary accounts would have a certain value at this precise political moment.  As The Bee said

@robertsharp59 @sunny_hundal Would be really good to get the view from the inside & not “retold” by someone else

(More thoughts in response to my idea on The Bee’s website, which awesomely is in English and German.)

On Facebook, Sophie Mayer was enthusiastic, and reminds me of the We Are Iran project.

I see something on the model of We Are Iran crossed with a conference proceedings… Would be an amazing record of a moment and an opportunity to organise ideas and information. Oh for a mimeograph!

Update

A couple of PEN members may be putting this together with their contacts in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Libya!  Get in touch via the comments if you would like to help.

Update 2

Someone did it.

4 thoughts on “More thoughts on the Tahrir Square ‘think-tank’”

  1. Maybe it would be easier to start a blog first where those who do think and discuss policies and political structures can post or someone post it for them and then go to a book. The question is if those who are really interested in their opinion do still read books. But on the other hand there are many who are interested but do not use the internet that much. Well… so many possibilities!

  2. Hmm, in practical terms I worry this will get lost in the maelstrom of comment, the ‘flow’ or ‘river’ of information. My idea is based on the premise that most people still consider a book to be a different and much more tangible and credible than a blog!

  3. I see where you come from. For me personally both are important source of information but people are different…. – I think it might be even more important to get those ideas out as Mubarak is gone and change can happen now. But I really wonder where that one goes…..

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