Young Egyptians, who famously used Internet services like Facebook and Twitter to launch their recent revolution, turned their focus to Hillary Clinton on Wednesday. They peppered the top U.S. diplomat with skeptical questions about longtime U.S. support for former President Hosni Mubarak and what many felt was its slow embrace of the movement to topple him.
Clinton, taking a personal spin at what she has called “21st Century Statecraft”, fielded a selection of some 6,500 questions that young Egyptians posed through Twitter, Facebook and the Arabic-language website www.masrawy.com — and many reflected deep suspicions about the U.S. role in Egypt.
“My question is: Does America really support democracy? If yes indeed, why the U.S. was late in its support of the Egyptian revolution?” one questioner asked Clinton.
“The attitude of the U.S. during the Egyptian revolution was to support the Egyptian regime first. Then, when the revolution turned successful, the U.S. switched sides and supported the Egyptian youth and the youth revolution, and the U.S. said that we learn from Egyptian youth. Why was such delay?” another wondered.
Clinton gamely took them on, stressing that the United States used its influence in Egypt to help press for a peaceful resolution to the crisis and the launch of a reform process that would lead to “an Egyptian model of democracy.”