Mubarak's trial could end Egypt's youth revolution

Yet in the six months since Mubarak resigned from office, the youth protesters have been unable to make much headway in advancing their causes. The activists’ deep internal divisions—their ranks include neo-Nasserist nationalists, revolutionary socialists, Islamists, and liberal democrats—have taken a toll on the movement, making it impossible to agree on the proper course for enacting political change. Given these realities, the only way for the protesters to stay relevant in the post-Mubarak era was to continue holding massive demonstrations. And the only way to hold massive demonstrations was by focusing on the one thing that just about everyone could agree on: that former regime officials, including Mubarak himself, should be brought to justice…

The protesters, as a result, are now trapped. Their greatest mobilizing target—Mubarak—has been brought to justice, and their mobilizing methods—demonstrations—have worn thin the patience of the general population. Of course, the failure to convict Mubarak would give them an easy excuse to return to the streets. But few expect that the dictator will escape conviction. “I can’t even imagine that they will not [convict] him,” says Lotfy. “He was president, so surely he has some responsibility.”

In theory, the only way forward is for the protesters to change tactics.