Discussion Circles in Tahrir

Lets agree on a few things, we need people in Tahrir to talk together. And not people from the same circles to talk, we need to create mediums for different people to talk. We ourselves can’t go to Tahrir just to sit around with like-minded people and create our bubble in Tahrir. I’ll share what happened yesterday and if you like the idea try it out, today.

Yesterday I was sitting with a few friends and someone came up with the idea of starting a conversation for people in Tahrir to discuss whether or not we should vote in the coming elections. After finishing our meal we went back to Tahrir to try out our idea right away, The conversations went fantastically smooth. The beauty of it is in its simplicity, we started as a small group discussing in a circle about the topic and inviting the few people around. The rules of the conversation is that we stand in a circle, were we agreed on an object (in our case was a plastic bottle) that only the person holding the bottle will be the only one talking with no interruptions.

The person talking can’t exceed 2 mins and when the person is done talking he puts the bottle back in the middle and the next person wants to talk take the bottle from the middle of the circle, and so on…. and when the circle gets too uncomfortably big then start a new cirlce.

Just pick a topic, or ask a question. and start talking about it with this system, and people will join in and even when you leave if later someone interrupts one of the people from the beginning will get the conversation back on track. It’s important when you feel the group is not familiar with the rules and the topic to repeat it every once and a while.

Try it out. It’s much easier than you think. Just start with yourselves and people will join.










Updates: Ahmed Nazmi (@ElFalakiste) passed by in the first day of discussions and have been repeating it since then. Do the same and start your own discussion circle. its simple, just start a conversation with your friends in that way and people will join in.

6 thoughts on “Discussion Circles in Tahrir

  1. Dear Mongy and all

    this is inspirational….. If I possibly could, I would come to Cairo to be with you all right now. Meanwhile, from here in Wales, I am holding you all in my heart, and your precious conversations to find the ways to the new Egypt with new forms of governance, transparency, humanity and sustainability.

    with love…… Romy

  2. Beautiful use of the circle. One of the things you can add on to your process when you split up into multiple circles is an opportunity for each circle to select one person to be tasked with reporting on the circle’s experience. Once all the circles are complete, everyone comes back together, using concentric circles if needed. The center circle is comprised of the reporters from each of the individual circles. They then hold a circle to report on what they experienced for all to listen and for all to hear the collective wisdom from the many circles.
    Good luck,

  3. I’m so happy to see you bringing the circle into the square!!

    I’m wondering, as a next step, what are the ways in which the essence of the circle conversations can be captured, articulated and made ready to travel to other groups, other places, other conversations?

    I’m with you in spirit!


  4. Circle, square, triangles all need each other! The edgy thing is trying different ways when we’ve been used to a certain way to do things. This is the art of invitation in action — keep going, all you there in the square! Please also keep sharing what you learn.

  5. A few days ago I was joining you all at Midaan Tahriir in Cairo. I approached bit by bit because Egyptian friends warned me for the violence on Tahriir which is constantly in the picture on television there as well as here. It was great to discover a mainly peacefull but strong manifestation with ‘ideologists’ although with more ‘normal’ people from Shubra, Imbaba, Giza…struggling for nothing more then what everyone deserves: a job with reasonable wages to have a home and food. Many people all over Egypt are suffering, are loosing every hope, are panicky about their future but are asked to be patient. Of course a good conversation needs alternaly talking and listening and the use of a ‘stick’ or a ‘bottle’ or ‘an apple’ is a nice trick to get more balance in a discussion and to come to a better conclusion. BUT let us not forget that the most essential point of the Revolutions is that the ‘poor people’ finaly took the ‘stick’ in their hands. It was, and still is, their turn to talk. ‘Rich people’ in Egypt and all over the world should listen and reflect carefully and should conclude that the richness of the world has to be redivided urgently. Let us accept that message in stead of taking the ‘stick’ back in our hands in order to defend and fight for the wealth we collected and which we are used to have.

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