Endgame

I just came back from the demonstrations…No, that's a lie.

I've been back almost an hour and a half now, and it took me this long to get myself together, shake myself out of the shock I am feeling, and actually sit down and write this. Here is what happend.

Around 5:15 pm today I was in Talaat Harb square with my friend M. when I called Hosam and asked him his whereabouts. He informed me that he is at 7amadah cafe next to the AUC. So I went there with M. and sat with him, while waiting for the people to gather up. On the road over we counted about 40 state security cars and we saw the delpoyment of SS troops everywhere. We joked about what awaits us during this demonstration and how if we get beat up we will just start beating up Hosam and pretend to be part of the plainclothed SS thugs, and how it's not a good sign that Rice is meeting up with Mubarak today and how the US doesn't give a damn anymore what happens to us. Slowly more people came and joined us, including M's friend H., Bassem  and gemyhood (Mohamed Gamal) and his girlfriend R. Bassem and Hosam started arguing back and forth over which strategy to use: Bassem in favor of small group infiltration, while Hosam for big group formation. I couldn't care less either way. I just wanted to move. And we finally did.

We got out on Tahrir square and were trying to figure out which is the best strategy to get to the square itself, which was surrounded by SS soldiers. While walking you couldn;t help noticing the redicilous amount of plainclothed SS agents just standing around and holding walkie-talkies. Whenever someone would stop they would tell them they couldn't stand where they were standing and that they had to move along. While walking with the group, I got a phonecall from Alia, who was one street behind us with two more friends, one of them is Salma. I met up with them and we started to walk together towards the bigger group which was now surrounded with police officers and plainclothed thugs. When we tried to cross the street towards them the police wouldn;t let us, and then they did allow us to cross the street but not get on the otherside of the pavement, forcing us to go back and cross the street again. I was holding M's hand from one side and Alia's from the other, when I heard Salma say: "Fuck this" and started running across the street towards the square with the other girl, who pulled Alia with her. Alia tried to pull me with them but M. held my hand and said "Don't you leave us!" so I had to let them go. And right before they reached the square they were tackled by the police who swarmed on them from every direction. Some of the guys from the bigger group went directly to their rescue and pandamonium broke out for about 2 minutes, all the whole the police officers were pushing us to move forward. I could see the girls back in the bigger group, but the bigger group wasn't moving because it was trapped. And then I saw someone break free and run, and recognized him as Jimmyhood, and also saw 5 plainclothed police thugs run after him and hold him and started to pull him towards the Paddywagon. One of his friends triued to come to his rescue and was grabbed as well and thrown in the same car with him, and then the car started moving taking them to an unknown destination. That break, however, allowed the other demosntartors to break free and start walking towards Talaat Harb sqaure, while chanting Anti-Mubarak slogans. As people were walking, you could see the police walking behind them, as well as you can see the police lining up on the sidewalk in order to entrap them.

 

picture by Amr Abdallah 

When some of the protesters saw this, they went all hyper and tried to storm the line hoping to break it, only to fail. The Police started encirceling them, so I grabbed M, H, and R.- who was pretty shook up after seeing Jimmy getting arrested- and we crossed the street to the other side, and a group of 10 people followed our lead. The rest tried to go to the rescue of those who were held in the police net.

In a matter of seconds, I started seeing the police who were following the demonstrations start to encircle the protesters. They then started to push the protesters together and beat them. On top of the sound of the battle, you could hear distinct female screams. Really loud ones. Overpowering all others. The average egyptian walking on the street just stood there, some of them took their cellphones out and started using their cameraphones to videotape what's going on while joking about it. I really hated them at that moment. I was yelling the police to let us through, that there were women getting assaulted, and they just looked at me as if I was speaking kantonese. They wouldn't even lift an eyebrow, as if they were not hearing the same screams we were hearing. And then the Police started targeting us again and tried to push us away again, while we stood our ground and tried to see what was happening with the people on the other side. We could see the police taking people one by one and throwing them into the big Paddywagon, while a group of them SS soldiers started walking towards us, identifying us as their next target. They all formed a line, entwining their arms together and stood behind us for one second, then started pushing us. R. started yelling at them and screaming at them, while H. was tryingt o calm her down and push her away. I decided that the best course of action would be not to allow the police to actually touch the girls, so I stood between them and the girls, and using my body and my arms as a barrier to the constant shoving of the SS line, while urging the girls to move because I wouldn't want them to even get touched by any of those pieces of scum. The girls moved, although each took a very different way of doing so: R. continued to yell at the police, while H. grabbed her and M. pulled on them both, and Alia was trying to reason with the officers behind us. So you can imagine, this wasn't exactly making the SS officers happy, so they started pushing the soldiers behind us in order to push us further away from the square. When we finally reached the other side we saw the big Police Paddywagon leave and move. I looked around me and noticed that besides the 10 people who joined me on the otehr side, I was surrounded by foreigners. But all the egyptians were gone. The Police, apparently, started selecting the egyptians from the big mob and threw them and only them into the paddywagon. Anyone who looked foreign they let go. This meant that Bassem and Hosam, alongside of Malek and Salma a group of other demonstraters were all arrested. This also meant that I had to make some very unpleasant phonecalls, which I started doing. I called Elijah, Hosam's fiance, Alaa, Gharbeia. Everybody. And then I started paying attention to what's going on around me.

Malek getting arrested. Picture by Nasser Nouri 

Surrounding me was a group of about 30 people, comprised of journalists, activists and tag-alongs and we didn't know what to do next. Some people suggested we head towards the Tahrir square to see if anyone else was there. Others suggested starting a sit-in in the middle of the street. Me and Alia suggested we head towards the Press syndacite, where another demonstration was taking place. Everyone agreed on going to the P ress syndicate, despite Alaa's warning to me on the phone that getting inside the syndicate will be almost impossible. We decided to give it a try anyway because, well, what else are we going to do?

By the time we arrived at the press syndicate, a number of phone calls came through with information on what's going on: 1) Hosam and Bassem didn't get arrested, both had managed to run away in time, with Hosam heading home and Bassem staying in downtown, 2) Ahmed Droubi got arrested with bthe demonstrators, which was strange because I didn't see him there at all and 3) The police had decided to release the girls, So Salma and Bassem and this other girl I don't know jumped in a taxi and started following the Police truck holding all the demonstrators, and they managed to follow them all the way to the Mukhabarat (egyptian Intelligence agency) prison in the Madba7 neighbourhood, which didn't spell good news to them. Anyway..

When we arrived at the syndicate, there was about 200 protesters standing on the stairs and chnating, while approx. 800 SS soldiers surrounded them. We managed to get through and join them and met up with other people that we thought got arrested but apprently managed to escape as well. Alia Then came to me and told me to come and help her get Sharqawi in here. It seems that he couldn't go through on his own or was afraid of getting arrested if he did. Anyway, me and Alia got out of the protest and headed towards the Judges club where he told us he was waiting for us, but he wasn;t there. We tried calling his cell phone but it didn't pick up. A minute later we saw a figure leave the area that the polcie was gatherd in and walk towards us. It was Sharqawi and he seemed really disturbed. He urged us to move faster and to get him inside the syndicate as fast as possible, so we hussled and we got him in. Once we were in me and Alia noticed that he wasn't acting like his usual self. He was, for the lack of a better word, sullen. He then teared a bit and then composed himself. He wouldn't respond to any of our inquiries about what was wrong with him. He just kept silent and sullen the whole time.

While standing there, I started noticing that the number of SS soldiers started increasing, which wasn't a good sign, and that many of the foriegn journalists, now satisfied with the story they had, started leaving the area, which also wasn't a good sign and then we noticed that the police wasn;t letting their egyptian companions through, which defintely wasn't a good sign. I have seen this before. We were being trapped here.

I yelled at the girls to get up, that it was time to go and get out of here, since they started not letting people go. I asked Alia and a gorup of otehr people if they wanted to try and leave with us, but they said they were staying, which meant it was me and the 3 girls again. I found a an american journalist friend of mine, Paul (thanks by the way), who was heading out anyway and asked him if we could tag along. I grabbed M, H and R and headed after him. They passed him, but wouldn't let us go. They told us only the press was allowed out and since we weren't press, we weren't allowed to leave. We tried to reason with them, asking them at elast to let the girls go, since they will need to be home soon anyway. The soldiers wouldn't budge. Paul then managed to get a senior SS officer and asked him to come and help us get out. The Officer asked for my hand to get me out and I told him that I wouldn;t leave without the girls and that he has to let them out first. So he orderd the troops to let the girls pass and then let me pass. And we were finally out.

We then took a cab and ehaded to M's car, which we took to drive R. home while promising her that if we hear anything about Jimmy we would let her know. The poor girl just had her face platserd on TV cameras and digital pictures, was in a demonstration without telling her parents, which means if they find out they will crucify her, and yet the only thing she was worried about was Jimmy. Whether he was ok, whether he would get tortured, whether they would release him soon or keep him for a while. I honestly felt really bad for her.

On the way back to downtown I started receiving another set of phonecalls, which gave me some really disturbing news: The police was still surrounding the Press syndicate, and since the foriegn press was almost gone, they weren't letting people out at all (Alia managed to get out by a miracle). Also, we found out that the police had attacked the Ghad Party offices, which is right on top of the greek club and staretd beating people up. The whole thing seemd insane. And it wasn;t until we got home that we found out the entire story: There was two women demonstrators who , escaping arrest and beatings, ran into the building and tried to hide inside the greek club. The Police follwoed them both up there and dragged them out. The Ghad Party people tried to intervene so the police started beating them up as well. They then took the two women and started assaulting them (some reports claim sexually) inside the Ghad Party. The loud sound of female screams I mentioned earlier? That was them. The people inside of the greek club were not allowed to leave it or leave the building, and the Police crowded the enterance of the buidling to stop anybody from going in or out. The people inside the greek club had to endure hearing the sound of the police beating up innocent people, the shrieks and screams of the men and women that the police assaulted, with no  recourse or escape. And as far as I know, this is still happening while I am writing those words. And the worst part? There is nothing any of us could do to help. Who do you go to when it's your police that's assaulting, kidnapping and raping? What can you do to stop them, when they are the law? What do you do when you need protection from those who swore to protect you? Where exactly do you go?

Anyway, when I reached home 2 things happend: My phone suddenly died, which has all my numbers. It's practically my lifeline, and until it gets fixed I am screwed. The second thing was that as soon as I put them sim card into another phone, I got a phone call from sharqawi, who informed me that droubi called him from the police car and gave him some of the names of the people arrested with him. Here they are: Adham el sabty, Omar Mustafa, Ahmed Droubi, Karim El Shaer, Sherif Ragab, Mohamed Abdel Kader, Ahmed Samir, Khaled Mustafa, Mohamed Gamal, Malek Moustafa, Omar el Hady and Medhat Shaker. If you know of anyone else, please add their name to the comment section of this post. Also, check out Hosam's post for updates!

So, that's what happend. Now what? How do I end this? Do I tell you how depressed I am at the moment? How this signals the end of the dream of a democratic Egypt? No point there. Anyone who has been following this blog knows that democracy is dying around here. The truth of the matter is, I am  really mad, really really fuckin mad, at the egyptian people, whom we risk our lives for. I am mad at them for not caring, for accepting the roles of sheep, for not fighting for their rights and not doing anything while they see what we go through in order to fight for those same rights that they know they need and lack. I am mad at them for just standing there while they could  hear the screams of women getting beat up in front of them, and not even voice an objection. I am mad at them for the looks of fear in their eyes while we passed by, as if they are afraid to be tainted by us or something.But, between you and me, none of that is the main reason why I am really hating them right now.

The real reason is simple: Where does the government, the corrupt ministers, the ruthless SS officers and their soldiers come from? Aren't they egyptians? Don't they come from egyptian families and households? Aren't they born and raised here like the rest of us? Well, what does that exactly say about us? Whether we like it or not, the government is a reflection of the people. So if the government is ruthless, corrupt and dictatorial, what does that say about the people? What does it say about the parents of the police officers that order their soldiers to beat up and sexually assault women? What does it say about the families of those corrupt government officials who sign away our future and that of our children for a bunch of dirty money? What does it say about a nation that produces such a government, and accepts it, even as it plunders the country and enslaves its people?

Maybe the government is right: Maybe we don't deserve Democracy. Maybe we don't deserve our rights. Maybe we deserve everything that happens to us. We, as people, seem to lack the sense of self-respect and dignity that makes the human being demand his/her right, so how do we expect the government to respect us or give us those rights? We clearly don't deserve them. We clearly deserve to have our rights stolen, our friends imprisoned, and our women assaulted. Cause, otherwise, how would you explain how accepting we are of those things?

Maybe we don't deserve any better.

For the first time ever, I will go to sleep feeling utter hatred and disdain for my countrymen, while my heart weeps silently for my country!

I hope that none of you, ever, gets to experience that feeling! 

Comments

  1. SM, you have mail.

  2. Wait, what part of Mubarak’s recent reforms are you protesting? The part that effectively tears the democratic process to shreds or the red herring about “secularism vs. faith”. As you know the Egyptian press is busy “debating” the latter, just as Mubarak planned.

  3. K from Oslo says:

    Oh Sam, I’m sorry. I wish I could give you some words of encouragement or put this whole thing into perspective. The truth is, you’re not the first one to go to bed with that feeling of frustration or even hatred and you probably won’t be the last. One protest have never changed societies. Changes take time and they happen one step at the time. Most Egyptians haven’t had the kind of education that you have and a lifetime of indoctrination will make you passive. But don’t give up Sam, that’s what they want you to do. Best whishes

  4. I know exactly how you feel… I am feeling the exact same thing… depressed and hopeless. Is it really the end of it? So if this country falls to ruins, will that be the end of it? Will people just give up? Give up on their country, their dignity, rights, and themselves? I truly hope that if the end of it was just a group of people giving up on their goals. However, the end of it will never be that optimistic. The end of this is usually erruptive and explosive in nature.

    OMG! Sandmonkey! I just realized something!

    Do you really believe what happened today was a coincidence? NO! It was planned and engineered very thoroughly. It was a specific strategy of supression adopted by our authorities to scare us and make us feel hopeless so everybody would just give up. They want us to get this fake realization that nothing is worth it, that nothing will change, and that nothing anyone does will ever make a difference. SM! NO! We have to realize the truth of the situation… THEY are the ones who feel threatened, and that is why they’re adopting all those measures to suppress pple from expressing and holding their opinions. They are the ones who’re scared. They are the ones becoming hopeless and desperate…they are the ones getting frustrated… People are not content, people are oppressed by their own protectors, and they know it. People are just scared, poor, uneducated, unaware, and hesitant.

    It will take time, Cheer up, somedays are better than this one, and somedays will be worse. You’re entitled to how you feel, I feel the same way. Pple can’t stay asleep forever, there will come a day when they wake up, especially if things keep deteriorating.. (now i’m just scaring myself sounding leftish) but its true, for things to get better, they might need to get a little worse first…

  5. This is quite sad,to see my own country, the country i always loved and still do, go down like this. I was considering coming back this summer, but i’m afraid of anything majorly bad going on while i’m there.

  6. Be careful Sam, don’t get yourself in a position where you can’t let the world know whats happening there. You’re all in my prayers tonight, be safe, be smart. Don’t let them you.

  7. Don’t let them get you.

  8. Adrian from Denmark says:

    I am in this strange mood where I wanna say something, but actually I have nother clever to say, so all that goes through my mind now is a “I’m with you guys in my heart and mind”.
    I don’t know the people that you are talking about, but never the less I hope you’ll give them all a hug from me – please…

    Take care and wish you all the best
    Adrian

  9. VA Gamer says:

    Wow! What a powerful account. First off, hats off to you, sandmonkey, for the courage it took to attend the demonstration. You probably knew that it would not end well, yet you went anyway. That was brave.

    Second, K from Oslo is correct. Things do not change quickly. In fact, sometimes they will even get worse before they get better. I honestly do not know what I would do were I in your situation. Do you stay and fight the good fight? Do you keep your mouth shut and just try to enjoy what little freedom you can find or do you move on to greener pastures?

    Whatever your ultimate decision, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. It may not seem like much when you are being beaten by a thuggish policeman or being mistreated in a filthy jail cell, but at least you know that your words have reached someone.

    Should you decide to move on to greener pastures, you are always welcome here in the USA. Good luck and God bless.

  10. Don’t let them get to you.

  11. Boston, even in winter, is starting to sound good, no? You’ll always be welcome here in the States. But, it’s your country, and you have to do what you must. Be careful.

  12. Please be careful, Sandmonkey. We need you safe and sound to report to us what’s going on.

  13. BrooklynJon says:

    What amazes me is how courageous you must be to get involved in the first place. Wow.

  14. I am so terribly sorry for the state of your country and yet, so terribly proud of you and the women that went with you. It must be terrifying to them to get caught up in a melee that might result in their beating and rape…

    Thank you SM for keeping the safety of the women foremost in your mind.

    What is to be done about the situation in Egypt? How about the U.S. threaten to cut off the 2 billion/year and possibly the gov’t would sing a different tune.

    I really don’t know…

  15. Make sure you stay safe. You will do no one any good in jail. Your insight is correct. There will be no democracy until the people truly want it.

  16. Samuel Tadros says:

    Thanks for your reporting, but more importantly for you being there. Hopefully one day will come when they will pay for their crimes.

  17. “Cairo, Egypt- Egypt on Saturday sharply rejected U.S. criticism over plans to change the constitution, reflecting the tensions between the two allies over demands for democracy here.
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s comments before a visit here were a rare U.S. public criticism against Egypt after months of near silence from Washington over reform. They came amid an outcry among Egypt’s opposition groups and rights groups over the planned constitutional amendments, which
    they say are a setback to democracy.”

    Middle East bloggers click for change

    Stay safe, Sandmonkey. Sounds like a rocky road ahead. :(

  18. SM –

    I’m so sorry to hear this. There’s not much that I can do except to offer my sympathy, and hope that these amendments will be rolled back.

    In addition to the thugs and SS guys, there are also sane and honest Egyptians, including many of the demonstrators, who want the best for your country and have been willing to stand up for their ideals even at great personal risk.

    You guys represent a better side of Egypt. The most important message may be that this better side exists.

    Stay safe.

  19. Man o man…I will say it again…

    Sounds like Iran…late 1970′s…Ultimately Mubarak is going to be pushed out and I certainly fear the “Taliban” will then come to the rescue. God I hope I am wrong.

  20. “Courageous! Brave! you have alot of GUTS!”

    WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH EVERYONE?

    EVERYONE ON THIS FORUM SHOULD HAVE GONE- SANDMONKEY DOES NOT HAVE MORE GUTS THAN ANYONE HERE, YOU ARE AN EGYPTIAN- YOU WANT YOUR RIGHTS, YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE!

    You will sit there and cheer on and encourage others to fight for your DAMN RIGHTS while you SIT THERE?!?!?!

  21. Ugh, sorry, I just want to redirect my comment to those who didn’t go- not to anyone on the board. Ofcourse, those who didn’t go wouldn’t check this page anyway- but if they do- ATTEND THE NEXT DAMN PROTEST!

  22. If it’s any consolation, its pretty much human nature to be content with being herded sheep-like by governments, priests, bosses etc into tame apathetic little clusters of powerless lame-o’s

    People all over the world have proven for thousands of years to be capable of showing shocking inhumanity and cruelty to their fellow citizens – especially if the man in the uniform tells them to

    Activism and revolution and taking to the streets are much more the exception than the rule – theres nothing particularly or inherently fucked up about Egyptians.

  23. 7amdillah 3ala salamtak ya monkey!
    I hope things turn out well in the end & (I know it’s easier said than done) don’t give up!

  24. Wael Abbas has done some mobile posting- you guys should check them out. I think they are at twitter.com just go to his webpage @ misrdigital.com or org! I’m so off-balance tonight. I posted 2 comments before, thanks for not posting them, just anger, i need anger management.
    Do not be discouraged, that is what they want.
    Keep the Faith
    Nermeen

  25. I’ve certainly gone to bed many times with utter disdain for my countrymen. Egyptians are a people subdued; for so long that they can’t do anything but be passive even when given the chance to do something, and probably just out of sheer habit.

    I suppose that there were those who escaped arrests and that in itself is hopeful. It’s hopeful because one day we may be able to escape the tyranny inflicted upon us by our own countrymen.

  26. Germany just before WWII.

  27. Get your parents’ help. Have them demand better training for the Egyptian police in the handling of demonstrations. When the Iraqi people held anti-American demonstrations after the fall of Saddam Hussein, they were guarded primarily by American soldiers, who simply stood there and let them have their say.

    The Egyptian police can learn to do this, too.

    Both the demonstrators and the police should recognize that there may be people present who would like to provoke an over-response against the demonstrators. The way to deal with such troublemakers (those who engage in acts of physical aggression) is to arrest them quickly, remove them from the area, hold them for a few hours (processing time will take care of this) and then release them, unharmed.

    It is good for the kids to show up for the demonstration, but it is their parents who have the clout to make changes.

  28. it got even harder to leave the press syndicate later. the police just would not let anyone out (except some ‘journalists’) and the officer in charge was taking a sadistic glee in drawing it out as long as possible. across the street there were the police force bigshots watching, smirking and drinking tea. i could have killed them.
    it’s hard not to be discouraged -i thought, hoped there would be so many more people at the demonstration. that it would be more organised. i remember looking around at the 200 or so protesters trapped in the syndicate and thinking can it be possible that we’re the only ones who care? in a country of 70 million?
    you know some of the police in the front row of the cordon were chanting along with the slogans…

  29. Just be carefull and watch yourself!
    Best wishes from Austria!

  30. Tom Katt says:

    “Maybe we don’t deserve any better.

    For the first time ever, I will go to sleep feeling utter hatred and disdain for my countrymen, while my heart weeps silently for my country!”

    So sad, but true.

    I really wish you guys in the ME would get your sh!t together, both for yourselves and also so not to give Bush any additional reasons to get involved ‘for your own good’ (which, though sadly was poorly implemented, is the truth nonethless).

  31. State Security: SS!??

    I know that the Egyptian and most governments in the ME are quite dubious, but come on: That can’t be their *official* acronym for real – or can it?

    Greetings, European drage lun.

  32. Tom Katt says:

    “Maybe we don’t deserve any better.

    For the first time ever, I will go to sleep feeling utter hatred and disdain for my countrymen, while my heart weeps silently for my country!”

    So sad, but true. Glad to see your epiphany.

    You guys in the ME need to get your act together, both for your own good, as well as to keep Bush from ‘saving’ all of you (which, though poor implemented, is exactly what he’s doing)

  33. Tom Katt says:

    One more thing… I think ME governments tend to take this stance because it is the only way to keep order… Left to yoursleves you tend to kill anyone who isn’t the same, whether it be Sunni/Shia or any ethinic issue. Saddam was a monster, but his country needed that – look what has become now that ‘freedom’ has been given …

    Oh yeah, remind me again how religion has nothing to do with this…

  34. Three choices … fight, flee, or submit.

    The current group of thugs running the country are not moved by peaceful demonstrations, and apparently the majority does not care enough to lift a finger to help.

  35. Glad to hear you made out ok buddy, don’t get yourself lock-ed up or killed, your supposed to come to my wedding!

  36. I hate to say this…

    But frankly, I see no point in a democratic Egypt. After I saw that Alaa is a Muslim Brotherhood supporter who wishes for Israel’s destruction, I see it is clear that the choice is Mubarak or the Muslim Brotherhood.

    With those choices, Egypt will go down in flames either way. Thus, I see no reason to root for an Egyptian democracy.

    I know that is rough to hear, but that’s just how I see things.

    I wish Sandmonkey were in charge of Egypt, but the chance of that are about the same as hell freezing over.

    *sighs*

  37. Not sure if the other comment posted, but…

    I want to say that I believe Mubarak and friends are cretins of the lowest order.

    But the bottom line is I question the *point* of “democracy” when the only option is the Muslim Brotherhood. Why bother fighting for your rights when you have a choice between two essentially fascist organizations?

    The only real hope is to flee Egypt. I do not see a bright future in Egypt anytime soon, sorry to say. My thoughts are with you and your friends, Sandmonkey.

  38. Egypeter says:

    SM – You’re the best man! I hope and pray for your safety and I applaud you for your initiative and bravery.

    With that said, Red Tulips has got a strong point. I too fear what democracy would bring to Egypt. I just don’t think Egypt is ready for democracy, not after a quarter century of Murburak’s domination of the country. He’s effectively wiped out all political opposition (a la a Roman dictator) that the only alternative now is the brutal NDP or the fascist Muslim Brotherhood. Two excellent choices for a country, no? So who would you pick? Gamal “Jimmy” Muburak or the Ikhwan’s Ultimate Supreme Potentate, Mohamed Mehdi Akef? I know my answer. And I’m afraid it directly conflicts with 75% of the Egyptian population…

    So yeah, I’m worried about what “democracy” would bring to Egypt. It sucks, I know because there are fewer believers in western-style democracies than myself, but not Egypt, not now, it would lead to an Islamic state.

    Keep safe and keep up the loud voice brother!

  39. Voice in the ear. says:

    When the police are the problem what is the solution? Do protests work if the object of them has no reason to care and has the power to crush them? Where do cop cars get parked between shifts? How many people staff the local prisons? What kind of questions need to be asked before answers can be found?

  40. “After I saw that Alaa is a Muslim Brotherhood supporter who wishes for Israel’s destruction, I see it is clear that the choice is Mubarak or the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    Since when? I thought that was just a rumor. God help us all.

    Sandmonkey, I may have disagreed with you on a number of things, but one thing I will support you on is the need for freedom and democracy in Egypt.

    Godspeed to you.

  41. Courage, SM, courage. Good luck and stay out of jail. Please.

  42. “how it’s not a good sign that Rice is meeting up with Mubarak today and how the US doesn’t give a damn anymore what happens to us”
    Are u sober?

  43. Egyptians have to care about Egyptians and Egypt has to care about Egypt, like they once did. Until Egyptians focus on themselves to the point of self-obssession and mind their own business for a very long time, they will remain in this situation. The wholesale erosion of identity that Abdel Nasser caused are responsbile for this apathy in a big way. When do Egyptians rise up? When they are mostly MB people and for Palestine or Iraq or some other crap cause like that. Even Kifaya has lots of MB’s and Nasserists. The rest of Egyptians, the majroity, are just indifferent. They worry about day-to-day survival things. Meanwhile, they are treated worse than dirt in Arab countries (Libya most recently). Egypt needs to get rid of this menace that is Arabhood and arabdom that Nasser poisened Egypt with for real change to happen. Egyptians get indoctrinated with so much crap the second they step into a school about Egypt’s role and “responsibility” (gotta love the nerve!) in the so-called Arab World, blah blah blah, but little about civil and social responsibility, community service, democracy or any of the things that advanced and more civilized societies care about. If you have a sibling or cousin in high/elementary school in Egypt, ask to see their standardized “History & Geography” and what they call “tarbiya wataniya” textbooks. I get depressed when I see this garbage being passed off as education. A bizarre mix of Arab-Islamic supranationalism couched in Stalinist type of propaganda. The people shouldn’t just be expected to care under these circumstances, especially when they can’t hope for a future with basic necessities, it has to be instilled, if not at home and school, then alternatives like the internet. It sounds trite, but change does take time. One glimmer of hope that I see is that Egypt’s situation is not unique; look at Germany and Japan 60 years ago. I still think it will happen eventually, but it will probably get worse first.

  44. Get the hell out of there SM. You don’t deserve this.

  45. RocketRay says:

    But the bottom line is I question the *point* of “democracy” when the only option is the Muslim Brotherhood. Why bother fighting for your rights when you have a choice between two essentially fascist organizations?

    Like they say, democracy in the Middle East is like toilet paper. It is used once and then thrown away.

  46. “Give Mubarak a Visa, and Take Him Condoleeza!”

    My report on today’s DC demonstration is up: At Pharaoh’s Gate.

  47. Sceptic Squirrel says:

    I don’t get these so-called opposition parties. Instead of sitting there either a) arguing amongst themselves; or b) boycotting, why they don’t they go out there and educate the masses?

    Another black day in Egyptian history – to be added to a whole series of those before it, most notably the 1952 revolution and the day Nasser and Mubarak were born.

  48. “Rice is meeting up with Mubarak today and how the US doesn’t give a damn anymore what happens to us.”

    In your link, the secretary says (twice): “I have made my concerns known.” That means she told Mubarak where he could stuff his so-called “reforms.”

    We in the US do care about oppressed people. However, we’ve kinda got our hands full at the moment. Y’all are a bit down the list, but we’ll get to you.

  49. What would happen if people simply showed up to these things with a PLAN to beat/kill the SS? Maybe if a few hundred of those thugs fall on the street, their masters will think twice.

    Thank god for the second amendment in the US.

  50. Antiwahabbi:

    I wrote a post on my website showing where Alaa clearly gave support to the Muslim brotherhood, and Hezbollah. He even posted an article on the Ikwan website, showing his support for both organizations.

    http://cultureforall.blogspot.com/2006/10/manalaanet-calls-for-muslims-to-join.html

    Sad and true.

    I will not be supporting ‘democracy’ in Egypt, if it means the Muslim Brotherhood, and I increasingly do not see any other choice. Egypeter is right as to the cause of this. Nonetheless, that is the situation as it exists today.

  51. My brother, my prayers are with you and your country.

  52. guys, this fight was about something more elemental and fundamental than democracy with its overarching consequences. it is simply unacceptable to most human to have theirs indivdual rights for freedom and privacy abolished overnight

  53. Sandmonkey- This was just posed on YouTube and I am wondering if it is from today?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_46r8mMNjGo

  54. no2liberals says:

    As a freedom loving individual, I do care about the rights of others, and the desire to have freedom and liberty.
    It saddens me to hear this account of events. I’ve read many of your posts, and shared many with friends and family, and this one gets emailed in a few moments.
    I wish you and your fellow citizens the best, and can only hope that one day, there will be an awakening, and the good people of Egypt will rise up and take possession of their country.
    God Bless, and keep up the good fight.

  55. Amgad:

    Fair enough, but the amendment also is a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood. I can see that would be why the Copt Church would back it. Anyway, that said, I do know that if Mubarak has more powers, he will abuse them. It’s messed up overall.

  56. Protestors in Egypt are, truthfully unorganised, you cannot do the traditional way of protesting simply because this isn’t a traditional problem and expect results. Everyone is acting on their own. Sadly, your protesting is aimed towards the government, instead you should have a bigger purpose and concentrate on making the people realise the situation is getting worse.

    Don’t confuse my message and think that I am telling you that your actions are meaningless; instead I want you to put the same effort but achieve more results.

    History repeats itself.

    Ever watched “V for Vendetta”? His aim was not the government, his aim was towards the people. His method of protesting although almost fictional, it was effective, it was recognized by many.

    You need to protest, but not in one place, not in a specific area, so only a few people can see. You need Egypt or at least Cairo as a whole realise what is going on.

    How? Do you as a person have the power to do that?

    It takes planning and organising…

    You choose a time, you then inform everyone to fire firecrackers into the sky as much firecrackers as they can in the area they live in. An even better idea is for everyone to release small helium balloons into the sky instead of firecrackers, maybe even attach a little note to it for the point you’re making.
    The idea is to have as much people see it and realise that there are people doing something, that there are people who are trying to make a difference.

    Buy as much balloons, go to school areas and give it to the kids, make them part of this too.

    To make this work you should start informing people of the time to release the balloons a week in advance. Tell everyone you know why you are doing this; send mass sms, emails, make it your conversation starter. Put them on websites, local chat rooms, give out fliers at crowded areas, malls, and cafes. If it fails the first time do it again you will get more and more people to join you.

    I want the people of Egypt to look up into the sky and find balloons flying everywhere. The point your making will reach more people, and people will start asking questions and probably start joining you.

    Better yet something like this will be in the press not only local, but international also. Picture this headline “Balloons cover the skies of Egypt in protest of…” Maybe then people will start taking action

    The police can’t arrest you for releasing balloons? And no one gets hurt.

    Besides if this doesn’t work you’re going to end having lots of fun, or try again and think about organising it I’m sure you could probably come up with a better way of doing this.

    (Note to readers:- No, I do not own the balloon factory in Egypt… and sorry for the long post)

  57. I read about your plight at Jim Hoft’s site. My question is what is the alternative to Mubarek? It was a while back but I heard that the vicious terrorist group “Muslim Brotherhood” would be the next in line. Possibly even elected by the people.

  58. “For the first time ever, I will go to sleep feeling utter hatred and disdain for my countrymen, while my heart weeps silently for my country!

    I hope that none of you, ever, gets to experience that feeling! ”

    Too late. I’ve had that feeling towards Lebanon often.

  59. Mohammed Al-Amriki says:

    Perhaps it is because the Arab peoples support Mubarak that they do not object to security measures. With the constant injustices perpetrated by the zionist entity how can we expect the Egyptian people to move anyplace but behind the leaders?

    You can pray even behind a sinner. It does not matter what Mubarak does, it does not affect the important things.

  60. Don’t start with politics, with parties, but rather start with virtue. What are the virtues that can sustain a free society? What are the virtues that the regime will tolerate the promotion of? Where the lists overlap, promote those openly. Where the lists do not overlap, promote the other virtues covertly. Raising the virtue of the people is a primary task of the religious institutions. Why weren’t they doing their job a generation ago so you could harvest political freedom today? More importantly, are they doing their job so the next generation will have a harvest? Plant the seeds today and you may live to see the harvest.

  61. It is truly terrible how a few informed and courageous people are risking everything while others do nothing. For those who are active against dictatorship, fascism and injustice there is no safety but there is also no other choice. There is no safety for Sm because he knows too much to stay safe…I truly wish you the best, promise to keep my eyes pealed and tell others. mostly though, I must admit that I hope that this does not happen in my country (again)…

  62. M is right. Your countrymen are afraid. A mind full of fear cannot operate properly. And it’s not their “fault,” it’s just how human beings respond to fear. To fault them for it would be like faulting a baby for soiling her diapers.

    And this American doesn’t fear the Muslim Brotherhood. All mankind deserves liberty and democratic governance, and this includes Egypt and every Egyptian. The only important thing is to make sure that there will always be a next election, because as long as there are free elections, any Muslim Brotherhood tenure of power will be brief. That’s the way it is in all true democracies: no party ever holds power for very long.

    I pray for you and your brothers’ and sisters’ safety and wellbeing. You are all a part of a veritable sea of men and women throughout the ages who where required by fate to fight for human freedom. And I believe with every ounce of my being that you will succeed.

    yours/
    peter

  63. CyberCleo says:

    I’m sorry to hear how you all got traumatized and abused like this, these situations leave us angry, teary, and not sure how to proceed.

    I’m sending this message regarding what you said about hating the people that were attacking you, and those that watched and did nothing. That is a very normal feeling, and you are completely justified to have it.

    I have been thinking about this a lot, for long years now, how come Egyptians do that to each other. The only conclusion that I finally understand is that, these people don’t view each other as one of their own, they don’t view each other as someone they share an identity with. Corruption and Severe disconnect between the social classes has created very deep deep wedges in the social fabric of the Egyptian society. That resulted in very deep grudges, it’s not about not lending a hand when you need help anymore, it’s about gloating and finding in it something to cool the anger in their heart to see others in pain.

    The truth is injustice has preyed on the week first of all, and the more injustice preyed on, the more powerful it got, and the more hungry it got, and now it was able to prey on those that are stronger, and stronger, till it included everyone. We have to understand that the masses that are silent, were the weaker ones already preyed on before us. They are moving corpses and zombies, crushed completely, so it’s tough to hold them to any values that we recognize. The strength that people like you have to fight and shout back, is something they never had the strength to do, due to their lack of the very basic things humans need to do that. That’s how much they are crushed.

    We should recognize this disconnect and reach out to each other, those who are silent, should feel we are one like them, we’re not different people, we hurt with what hurts them, so they too can feel our hurt. Social work has been an effective way to do that, and we can use a lot more and more of it.

    In the past it used to be those who have no wasta or daher who get dragged and abused, and no one said a thing, we all let them be taked. Now it’s welad elnas abused in the streets, the last of the barriers before the whole egyptian people are subdued to be as good as cows in a farm. The doers of this are a handful, and we should always recognize that, they are the enemy. We should not turn against each other due to the weaknesses we have, which were inflicted on us. We should keep sight of our common enemy, the traitors who betray all of us for only their personal gain. That is the enemy we need to fight and we should keep our sight on that.

    I hope everyone is ok and are feeling better.

  64. Sandmonkey’s readers compare Egypt to pre-WW2 Germany. This is of course idiotic. Their are barely any similarities to be named (the “SS guards” are typical of many 3rd-world military police). I could understand this coming from the lips of an Egyptian Leftist, but not the thumb-sitting, eager beaver readers of this site (who lap up whatever fool’s wisdom the monkey offers).

    After all, Egypt is a US-friendly puppet state run by a bloated military dictator who could care less about politics or “his” constituents. The Egyptian populace is complacent, but fearful of Mubarak’s secret police. Their’s little possibility of overthrow.

    Ignoring post-2003 Iraq, Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. Israel is the first largest. Their must be some strategic reasoning behind aiding Mubarak’s regime. It’s surely not out of sympathy for the Egyptian people.

    Next, Egypt “recognizes” Israel’s “right” to shit on Palestinians. That is to say, it not only recognizes Israel’s illegally obtained statehood (so do most Palestinian groups), it doesn’t even hint at disapproval of Israel’s actions. Hell, Ireland is more vocal on Palestinian rights.

    Considering all of that, I doubt your dipshit readers would give a damn about the democratic resistance.

    P.S.: Why don’t you cover the White House’s reactions to the constitutional amendments? What’s “Freedom House”‘s ranking of Egyptian democracy?

  65. Let’s stop thinking of Mubarak as an US ally. His regime is anti-American and anti-Israel. Just read the government’s media. Full of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

    I would say that, I find nothing wrong in persecuting the Muslim Brotherhood; I would eliminate them all. Instead, they sit in the Parliament. And who sits in jail? Abdel Kareem, Ayman Nour, etc !

    Throw the MB in jail, free the Secularists!

  66. Their must be some strategic reasoning behind aiding Mubarak’s regime. It’s surely not out of sympathy for the Egyptian people.

    The fact that you don’t know that US aid to Egypt is a condition of the Camp David Accords demonstrates your know-nothingism.

    yours/
    peter.

  67. Tom Katt says:

    “The fact that you don’t know that US aid to Egypt is a condition of the Camp David Accords demonstrates your know-nothingism.”

    In defense of that poster, with all the billions of dollars we pour into countless countries , most of which is utterly wasted or abused, it is difficult to keep track of it all.

  68. Revolutions are generally made by the minority.

  69. Conq,

    The Palestinian government is run along the same lines as the Egyptian government.

    To hold them up as a model only hurts the cause of liberty.

    Who in the Palestinian controlled areas is attacking the cyber cafes? Hint: it isn’t the Israelis.

    You can always tell what kind of government is in power by the way they deal with the free flow of information. The Palestinians are no model. Unless fascism is the goal.

  70. Mohammed Al-Amriki Says:
    March 27th, 2007 at 3:28 am

    Perhaps it is because the Arab peoples support Mubarak that they do not object to security measures. With the constant injustices perpetrated by the zionist entity how can we expect the Egyptian people to move anyplace but behind the leaders?

    That is what they depend on. Anti-Zionist smoke to keep the Egyptians blinded.

    This game has been going on for 60 years or more.

    And yet people like Al-Amriki keep asking for more.

    A certain Austrian used these same tactics to keep the peoople in line. It still works.

  71. The words of people on this site, such as conq and Mohammed, serve as examples of the truth of my words. Thank you for proving me correct.

    Stefania: I 100% agree with you, but I also am fully aware that the Muslim Brotherhood would be worse. However deplorable Mubarak is, and he is bad, he is somewhat better than the Muslim Brotherhood.

    This is why the Copt Church backed the amendment. As far as Abdel Kareem – I personally wrote to the Egyptian Embassy, demanding he be freed. I even spoke to Elliot Abrams, deputy national security advisor to Bush, and urged him action about Abdel Kareem. But let’s be real. If the Muslim Brotherhood were in charge, thousands of Abdel Kareems would be jailed.

    Mubarak will not get any better, and the only alternative is the Muslim Brotherhood. That is why I say to all the kind and decent Egyptians out there: flee while you have the chance. There will be no happy ending to this story, at least not in our lifetimes. If there were a way to tame and modify Mubarak, I would fully support it. But when the Muslim Brotherhood are the ones attempting to ‘tame’ Mubarak…

    Isn’t the battle already lost?

  72. Adrian Barr says:

    Sandmonkey – I’m very sorry. I have written a letter that I will post to the Egyptian ambasador here in the US. As we say in New Zealand where I’m from, kia kaha – be strong.

  73. egyptian says:

    tom katt,
    it’s time to pee off to your KKK meet

  74. Mate

    You have friends everywhere. Here in Sydney we pray for your safety. Keep up the fight. It is worth it.

  75. realitygaps says:

    SM, i feel for you – here in Jerusalem we don’t have the same problems but there are many times that the police or national security services clamp down on demonstrations for religious/political/security reasons. But there is pseudo democracy here. At least some semblance of respect for the citizens of the country.

    Keep fighting the good fight, I know it seems impossible – but without people like you and others like you,in the Middle East there will only be more tyranny and oppression. The few must fight for the many, even if the many are acting like sheep.

  76. peter,

    The only important thing is to make sure that there will always be a next election

    And how do you propose to do that? Will there be a “next election” in Iraq, after the US is gone? I doubt it. There have been Totalitarian governments that came to power democratically before. That’s not an uncommon recipe, actually.

    because as long as there are free elections, any Muslim Brotherhood tenure of power will be brief.

    And what makes you think there will be any “free elections” at all, if the MB is calling the shots? What interest does an Islamic party have in the rights of the people? An Islamist doesn’t believe people even have “rights” – he believes people have obligations and duties to God, not individual rights and freedoms. How is such a mindset compatible with ensuring that there are free and fair elections? It’s not. Period. If there are any elections at all in an Islamic state, it’s only to appease the masses, nothing more. And they damn sure won’t be free and fair.

  77. Tom Katt says:

    egyptian Says: “tom katt, it’s time to pee off to your KKK meet”

    You know, I’m a pretty liberal guy in a pretty liberal state. Got no problems with anyone on a personal level. But your geographical are of the world is utterly f*cked up and I’m sorry, but it seems you’ve been fighting everyone, including each other, since the dawn of time. And I don’t see any indication things will improve on their own; in fact, I think it’s when you guys get freedom that it actually gets worse. Your history has shown that, not me.

  78. Good job on this, you almost put me right there. Hang in there, God bleaa all of you who want freedom, be careful out there…

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe hates
    infidel bloggers

    getting truth out makes him mad
    keep the people in the dark
    .

  79. It saddens me that a country such as Eqypt so filled with history and beauty has chosen this path. You will be sadly missed and I wish you well. Your voice, though silent now, will continue to echo loudly throughout the world and, God willing, will echo forever. May you and yours remain safe and I hope that soon, you will emerge on the internet once again.

  80. yea right.. says:

    Man you are so full of it, as if this blog is even for real. you should have just in Egypt at AUC instead of gun-ho-ing of to Boston and wasting your parents money. You know I don’t like you sandmonkey and i dont know why either. I guess I can just tell a fake right of the bat. You dont care about Egypt, you really care about yourself and attention.

    It is a fact. You were just a by stander there if you actually even really went. Just for kicks. It is just like we all used to do as kids and go slam dancing at a megadeath concert. Those of us who naturally were born and live in the U.S. and dont have to go and travel there after living our entire lives in Egypt to make some kind of point) So whats the big deal if you got a few canes to the head, no pain-no gain, right chip munk?

    But for gods sake or even atlasshrugs2000 sake please dont make like your some kind of Chev Gurreira. Get a job, drink booze, date russians but plz cut it with the b.s. dude. You got your moment of glory and a bit of money as well as someliberated egyptian females (sluts) now either entertain us like you have been doing as a monkey and stay out of politics or hand up yout hat for good. Judging peoples parents and what not, please….hiss hiss hiss!

    Oh ya, I forgot. This blog is actually closed. oh what the hell. I just had to give you my anonymous two bits anyway.

  81. hey???? says:

    dont say that about the Sandmonkey. He is a good person who believes in Egypt having a beatuful future as long as things go his way or whatever way is the way of the winners who rule the world and smell good while eating the best food. He just wants to be loved and unique and is doing it by this blog. Go Sandmonkey, we support you and love you as long as you stay the same. Don’t ever actually get patriotic on us and start defending Egypt if we were to take a huge chunk out of the population (the bad apples) we will even give you Ahmad Mazhar street in Zamalek if we do decide to do such a thing.

  82. I would like to appreciate the work you get in writing this article. It has been an encouragement to me. I’ve transferred this to a friend. thankyou