What are these hooligans telling us about the future — not just in Egypt but also in other nations where authoritarian leaders have lost their power to repress dissent by angry young men? The teenage marauders seem to have lost respect for the world of their fathers — and for the forces of social control that were woven through traditional societies such as Egypt.
The old social fabric has ripped. The young gangs who own the streets are contemptuous of police and most other authority figures. If the Egyptian government orders a curfew, the soccer thugs make a point of staying out all night. They seem to disrespect their fathers’ generation for having sacrificed their dignity by submitting to President Hosni Mubarak’s soulless, repressive regime…
Egypt’s post-revolutionary challenge has been getting these angry youths to join in building a new democratic system. This same problem is evident in other Arab Spring hot spots, such as Tunisia and Libya, which are proving fractious and difficult to govern. In Egypt (a society with a deep love of order), the instability has been acute: A year ago, a soccer riot in Port Said killed 74 people. Last month, more than 30 were killed as soccer riots erupted in Suez, Alexandria, Cairo and Port Said. Morsi seemed close to losing control until the military sent in troops to protect key facilities.
The problem, Dorsey told Foreign Policy, is “how to make the transition from street to system.”