A few months ago, we put together a little parody of the Feb20’s youth protests. Our video compiled pictures underlining their demands with the conclusion that the Feb20 youth movement really didn’t care about the constitutional outcome as much as they cared about palpable changes. Our “joke” had some truth to it. Remember that a few months ago, the Mennouni commission had invited the Feb20 youth movement for consultation. But the Youth responded by a boycott. It isn’t even clear if they have actually sent a formal communication to the commission detailing their refusal. But we found this note published by a Feb20 youth member on Facebook, which provided some details about their refusal to enter into any kind of communication with the commission. Their main contention was that the commission was not an elected representative body.
Last week, we published an article titled “bracing for the post referendum phase.” How is it, you may ask, that the referendum hasn’t even taken place and the debate period is still open, and you are already projecting us in the post July 1st period?
It all comes down to the Feb20th youth movement’s initial position on the constitutional reform. It seemed clear that since they had boycotted the commission, they would also boycott its end product (the constitutional project). Whether their approach was right or wrong is another subject. But their unwavering stance has proved consistent.
Moreover, according to this Feb20 logic, the projected “yes” win will not change anything to their position or their willingness to carry on the protests until their demands are met.
So, it seems that we are geared towards an impasse, and while we are still bracing for the post referendum period, we hope that the Feb20th youth movement and the decision makers at the top both anticipate the possible scenarios and decide to display some leadership: Is there a better approach to engage the youth?
The current Feb20 youth movement stance shows that their frustration is not directed at the constitution. Even the best constitution in the world remains a tool nothing less, nothing more. In fact, as it stands, the new constitutional project is not bad at all. While a full separation of power hasn’t been achieved, the array of personal freedoms and guarantees are truly modern.
More than a democratic constitution, what the Feb20 movement wants is a democratic constitutional reform process.They want new rules of the game- not promises of reform-, and the fact that the rules haven’t changed yet is rightly interpreted as a lack of political will. 15, 20, 30 days, to debate a constitutional project how much does the Feb20 really care? Democracy is not so much about a product, than it is about a process where people have a say in governance. Is the system ready for that?