10 points

I have only an hour left before my flight, so this will have to be bullet point style, no verbose exposition. This is nothing but food for thought. Agree or disagree, up to you:

  • Egyptian Protesters seem to believe that we have the support of the entire world by what we did, and that we need to focus on local battles because the international scene will just have to adjust itself to whatever we do. This is incredibly naive given how big and important Egypt is geopoliticaly. They need to understand that there is no way the US, Israel, Saudi, Qatar, Russia, China or others will not try to influence the outcome and apply pressure on the Military government to rig the game slightly in their favor. America for example wants to ensure Israel’s safety, so they will pressure the army their way, Saudi and Israel need to ensure that the Sunni-Israeli alliance against Iran continues. God only knows what the Chinese and the Russians are thinking.
  • I believed Brussels was only good for waffles and chocolate, and I was surprised to find it the den of spies and lobbyists. The EU headquarters is here, so is NATO and 20 % of the workforce works in lobbying one way or another. This also affects us, because many of the local players are lobbying here: For example, The Mubarak’s are lobbying here for their own purposes, and  Ahmed Ezz’s family is lobbying to ensure he gets “a fair trial” , because he knows in a “fair trial” he can drag many names in the mud with him, and have them tried as well. Especially Mubarak. That’s his card, because he knows no one wants Mubarak to be put on trial. This is why I have been working on creating a lobby for the revolution, because the foreign front is the only front we are not paying attention to at all, and its the one we need the most right now.
  • The reason why no one wants Mubarak put on trial is simple: You don’t get to be the leader of a country like Egypt for  freaking 30 years without knowing where many bodies are buried. Some of those bodies might prove to be embarrassing to many world powers & could set a dangerous precedent that may fuel more revolutions. This is why there are no international calls to try Mubarak. Everybody just wants him to shut up, and they know he probably has a safe somewhere to be opened when he dies in suspicious conditions that contains many secrets. Again, no one wants those documents out in the open. That doesn’t mean the Egyptian military doesn’t pressure Mubarak in its own way though. The same way for the 3 stooges (Sherif, Surour, and Azmy), who are also cards in the hand of the military to play if needs be and will be offered to the public when the time comes.
  • There has been A lot of talk regarding the release of Abood el Zomor and the Media attention he got. Many people in the egyptian and international so-easy-to-frighten population took it as a sign that the Islamists are taking over and we might have another Iran on our hands. While this might have been the international message the military council intended to send to the international world to ease the pressures on them a bit , this wasn;t supposed to be the message sent for local consumption. The local consumption message was simple: Abood ElZomor was arrested in Sadat’s assassination, the same assassination that resulted in Mubarak’s take over of the presidency, the same assassination that many say Mubarak had a hand in. This coincided with a video circulating the web showing Mubarak throwing chairs on a shot Sadat “to protect him” while Sadat is trying to get up. Even Zomor during his interview regarding the Sadat assassination said that some people involved in the assassination slept in prison, and others in the presidential palace. This was a message to Mubarak: We won’t touch you for now, but don’t think we don’t also have you by the balls. And how Ironic that the Man responsible for the death of one President is becoming the weapon against the President that followed him.
  • The Salafists & MB are local players, but they have foreign ties and funding. Qatar fully funds and supports the MB , and Saudi fully funds and directs the Salafists. While Qatar is more interested in having a say in a democratic Egypt, Saudi is more interested in blackmailing Egypt into continuing the Sunni-Zionist alliance against Iran. Naturally, Egypt, right now, is totally not interested, so Saudi tries to pressure us by inciting lots of Salafi Chaos and violence. Please note that it’s all very targeted against so called egyptian minorities, attacking christians and women mostly, and burning churches. That’s the kind of headache Saudi knows Egypt doesn’t need, & will stop immediately the moment they are sure that the alliance is back on track, because they are shitting their Saudi pants over Iran. Please note that in this scenario, whatever we want as Egyptians, totally doesn’t matter to them, or anyone for that matter.
  • Amr Moussa is the preferred candidate for President for all of the international players: A man from the system, has no achievements either as Foreign Minister or Secretary of Arab League, friendly to dictators and foreign powers, and who barks a lot for public consumption regarding the US and Israel, but always always always does their bidding. The Americans and the Israelis are rooting for him most of all, because they know his MO, and they can’t guarantee how either Baradei or Bastaweesy will play it. Many Egyptian elites want him as well for the same reason they supported the Ahmed Shafiq government: He is someone they know..someone from the system, a good ole boy from the same corrupt system that we revolted against and who until the last minute wanted to save Mubarak’s presidency and now stands firm on not putting Mubarak on trial as well. While many good natured and well-intentioned Egyptians support him because he seems prestigious and his name was always on the table, they must fully understand that he represents everything this revolution was not about : The End of Mubarak Regime, The End of the corrupt system that it created, the end of a foreign policy dictated by everybody else but the Egyptian people, The End of politicians who are in it for their own glory and not for the service of the egyptian people (check the record on how embassies treated Egyptians during the time he was Foreign Minister and see how big he was on serving egyptian people or maintaining their dignity). Mind you, whomever the US supports will usually win, so please, if you are into winning for the sake of winning, or even if you have familial or business ties to him or his family, then jump on the Moussa bandwagon. But if you really care about this country & really would like a strong independent Egypt, not one like we had for 30 years, well , do some research into his history. You won’t find many things that you could defend him with.
  • Baradei & Bastaweesy are the two honest candidates in the field right now, which is why they are losing badly. Baradei’s campaign’s inability to engage the population or respond to rapidly changing events is continuing to enforce the image that he is elitist and disconnected from the population. For example, the MB yesterday endorsed Baradei in an attempt to corner him internationally (how does Muslim Brotherhood backed candidate for President sound to all of you in the west, people?), a move that he could’ve easily used to his advantage by going on TV and saying that he welcomes the MB’s endorsement for his campaign for a civil secular Egypt and that he hopes this ends all the lies about his daughter being married to an Infidel (Which isn;t true, but is used against him by the salafists) or that he is America’s agent, because there is no way the MB would endorse him in that case. Had he done that, he would’ve pushed back the MB in a corner and immediately placed a wedge between the MB and the Salafists, while asserting his commitment, locally and internationally, for a secular egyptian state. He, of course, maintained his silence, cause he is above it all, or his campaign people are rank amateurs. Bastawaeesy still has no campaign to speak of, and god knows if he will be able to compete in the first place, but he is incredibly popular on the street. If those two get their act together and join forces, they would make an unstoppable ticket, and we would have a real ELECTION on our hand, instead of the SELECTION by other countries we are going through right now.
  • One thing to e sure of, the next election in Egypt will be incredibly fun, due to the fact that many US election campaign operatives are now offering their services to the highest bidder, and the egyptian election is a very sexy and important election for them. I even heard some were hired, but by whom? No clue. But if you can deduce who has money in Egypt right now and who they support, well, then you have your answer. Hint: The revolution backed candidates have no money to buy those guys. This will get interesting very quickly.
  • I am currently for the revolution to stop protesting, because after the referendum, we are now facing a new political reality: The roof of street legitimacy just got raised. Public Opinion went 14 million for a YES vote and 4 million for a no vote, which means that in order to show we represent the majority we need 14 million to join us, which we won’t be able to produce. Hell, if we manage to produce 1 million protesters, people can dismiss us claiming we were only able to turn out 1/4 of our base. It’s not that impressive anymore, and going every friday to Tahrir means we have totally or about to burn that card. But if some feel the need to still protest, that’s fine, but let’s do it right. We need to stop the notion that we all need to be together in every fight, because every day we have 3 fronts being opened against us, and we are getting exhausted and disoriented. Fine, let’s do what we did in Tahrir: Share the work. Let’s Organize fronts: One for protests, one for prisoners rights, one for advocacy and outreach, One for voter registration and organization, one for communications, one for campaigning, etc etc, and lets agree on guiding principles and then let each front work autonomously and only coordinate with each other when needs be. For example: let’s use the protests to have people from the registration front show up and register those who show up for the protest so we can reach them afterwards. Let’s play it smart.
  • Please note that this is a war, and in wars its ok to lose Battles willingly to win in the end. A good parable is the Coventry Blitz myth, and it goes like this: During WW2, the brits had the Enigma machine, which they sued to decipher the messages of the germans. One day a message showed up alerting them to a massive raid on Coventry, which had a population of 320,000. This Presented Churchil with the dilemma: Does he evacuate Coventry, save the lives of the 320,000 and alert the Germans that he has the machine by knowing about the attack before hand, or does he allow Coventry to be attacked, safeguard the secret of the machine, be able to decipher the German messages in the future and thus win the war? Well, Churchil didn’t evacuate Coventry, which got attacked indeed, and he ended up winning the war. The lesson here should be clear: The battle for protesting is not the war, having a democratic egypt is. It’s ok if we lose that battle, if it means we get to win the war. What we need to do is withdraw ourselves from the scene, stop being everyone’s favorite blame hanger and work on the ground. Reach out to every governrate, go to every city, village and house, Zenga Zenga Dar Dar style. Also, our absence will force those blaming us (The MB, the government, the Army, the NDP crowd, the Couch Party) to look for someone else to blame, and will start attacking each other. Good. Let them fight each other while we work to win this on the ground, out of sight and under the radar.

That is all!

Comments

  1. And never in my life have I seen so much sense put in bullet points. Yalla come back we need to talk :D

  2. Your blog said I was a spammer, however, you made so much sense in bullet points it’s rather surprising.

    Yalla come back for we need to talk :D

  3. DementedBonxie says:

    Aha! Liberation from Tahrir Square – mabrouk! I’ll follow you, zenga zenga, dar dar with prayer, as you seek to win hearts & minds.

  4. I’d suggest to concentrate on the parliamentary elections rather than on the presidency. That will come first and it will prove much more effective in the long run.

    Is there any kind of political organisation for the Jan 25th supporters yet? If not, why not set up a new political party supporting the ideals of the revolution, freedom, equality & democracy? Ask people to join it, attract funds, start media campaigns, spread the news online.

    I’m sure you could attract a lot of funds / donations for it (especially from abroad, if that’s allowed by Egyptian law). You know, if the Saudis and Qataris are funding some groups in Egypt, why not ask the people from Western countries to help fund an organization / party that stands for the values of the revolution?

    • don’t have foreign donations for a political party. Instead, you need an NGO/PAC to collect foreign funds for ISSUES. You know, Freedom of the Press in Egypt organization. It collects funds to help build the structure to insure a free pass. Such a group could then provide donations for parties or politicians that are supporting that issue and protecting it by law.

      Protection of civil rights is a big issue that provides a plethora of ways to bring in people, organizations and money.

      • Hananpacha says:

        Egyptian Law doesn’t allow poltical parties to be funded by foreign donators. But locally I’m sure funds will not be an issue.

  5. Akthem Rehab says:

    Interesting and enlighting analysis. Hopefully the message reaches the fellow Egyptians and win the war at the end.

  6. Abdelrahman Ayad says:

    Thank you, definitely the most rational food for thought article i’ve read for a while now. Zenga Zenga it is.

  7. Pls. Let us not forget local government ” alm7leyat” this is also important to work on . Those are the guys that will have direct communication with the people on daily basis. This is where corruption begins and this is where Others are probably working on now to gain total control in the future

  8. christinA eijkhout says:

    Yep, you all threw the bone, now step aside and watch.

  9. I work in the government (ministry of antiquities) and through discussions at work I have found that the people are totally ignorant of the type of discussions we have (like this one). Any way your blogs can be translated to Arabic (even if in 3amma not formal)? I’d be willing to distribute them and I’m sure others will too.

    • Basma Abo Isma3el says:

      I can’t agree more..I’ve just said the same thing! it’s important to reach egyptians who can not understand the English language.

    • Perhaps http://www.imtranslator.com could be of use in this effort.

      It is a free service, and I use it to translate arabic to english. It isn’t perfect, often puts the cart before the horse, so to speak, but it gives me the general gist of the conversations. If Mahmoud’s posts were translated that way, then someone could give a read through to make sure it was gramatically correct, before sending it out. Just a thought.

  10. So why don’t you guys have your own party yet… isn’t that the fundamental pre requisite to get the “zenga zenga” going?

  11. Basma Abo Isma3el says:

    I like ur ideas and ur point of views alot, but y can’t u write those in Arabic as we have alot of people in Egypt though educated, are not so good in reading English and we need to enlighten their minds as they are an important part of the revolution too ;)

  12. “others will try to influence the outcome”

    I think you meant will NOT try, since you started that sentence with “there is no way…”

    Great analysis!

  13. Nada Hamza says:

    Someone should tell the Youth Coaltion that the time has come to lay down the placards and start campaigning and informing people, because they’re still calling for protest to “save the revoultion” instead of actually taking action.

    We should take advantage of what looks like a coming mutiny in the Muslim Brotherhood and starting knocking on peoples doors and speaking with them, learning their problems. Our biggest obstacle is that people don’t understand half the time what they’re actually voting for, they unfornately let their passion for their reglion blur their rationale.

  14. christinA eijkhout says:

    These kind of discussions should indeed be made in Arabic (but pls translate some in English). Your fellowcountrymen are the ones to decide which way to go and they decide best when they get informed in their own language.

  15. Don’t be fooled by the name, I lived in Egypt for 30 years. Interesting points you make, some a little on the wild conspiracy side… But I like your practical approach. This being said, aren’t you condoning through your Churchill reference a lot more than you think? 320 000 lives … for a code, hm why not torture Zomor again so he tells about Mubarak’s involvement…. better yet let’s threaten Gamal M’s life and the three stooges’ so they’d give back the money. Just a thought….or are these things to be done and remain secret as undoubtedly Churchill’s was until much later….

  16. Very good. You definitely need to concentrate on the parliamentary elections, developing a central message that isn’t “Protect the revolution”. People don’t care about protecting the revolution, they want to know what it will do for them and that is a big confusion.

    No offense, but except for the “down with Mubarek, crush the corrupt regime”, you all have done a poor job of explaining the idea of freedom to the people. At this point, it only looks like freedom to disrupt their lives, damage property and give criminals a free pass.

    There are no discussions about individual liberty, personal responsibility, rights to liberty, property and free speech being the basis of an economic well spring that helps raise even the poorest. Protection against self incrimination, searches without just cause or imprisonment without a fair trial. How protecting these rights through the constitution is important and will give the people the power to protect themselves against abuse of power.

    I see very few liberals or revolutionaries giving interviews, writing op-eds or speaking in public forums on anything other than “the revolutions demands”. it starts sounding like all the other useless noise that came before without any power to enforce it.

    You definitely need a cadre of people to start engaging the western media. As I noted to you on twitter, it is all Islamists, all the time in the media with an occasional blip about the market and SCAF announcements. While you could simply blame that on the media or on the West’s internal navel gazing, the liberals are not helping the matter by not engaging.

    Public opinion is informed through a process of information dissemination. You all aren’t disseminating anything but revolution while everyone is waiting breathlessly for Egypt to move on and become something. The only people that seem to be moving on to that something ARE the Islamists, so pardon the West for viewing the situation with a jaundiced eye.

    If this sounds like criticism, please understand that this is the criticism of a FRIEND, not simply somebody trying to meddle in your affairs from afar. Somebody who wants you to be truly free.

    I’m telling you how it works here and Mahmoud knows it. If the liberals want the west to pay attention to them and help them, they need to present some faces and names they can put in their blackberry and dial up. You want the US people to be behind you, you have to explain to them what you are about.

    I can tell you from experience, we have seen revolutions come and go. We have seen the desire of people to be free to be subsumed by the internal and external pressure of people seeking power for their own sake and not for freedom or the people. If you want people in the west to believe that Egypt’s revolution will not be hi-jacked, you have to give them something to believe in.

    This isn’t just about the west. As someone pointed out, these things need to be written in Arabic, too. the entire problem is that the revolutionary youth are issuing communiques about demands and not any explanation as to why anything they say or do or want is good for the people.

    An entire cadre of people need to be writing op-eds to Egyptian and Arabic papers as well as in the west. They need to be seen on television talk shows around the world. al Jazeera, BBC, CNN, Nile TV, you name it, somebody has got to be there representing freedom. Let me repeat that: represent freedom, not the revolution.

    On another note, I would disagree with my friend on one aspect, the choice of El baradei by the MB. I suppose in the end it could be the MB hoping to sink el Baradei, but I don’t think so.

    From the beginning, the MB has been tacitly supporting El Baradei as the face of the revolution to insure that there is some protection against the cries that this is a foul move by the Egyptian islamists. They must continue this play to way lay western fears of their power grab.

    Second, you know as well as I do that the disorganization of El Baradei’s “youth” makes them weak against the MB. That makes El Baradei weak against the MB. That weakness is perceived to be compounded by the referendum vote on March 19. El baradei’s voice held little sway If the MB give him their support or the presidency, he will owe them huge political favors if he becomes president.

    The MB is focusing on the all important parliamentary elections. They are going to have a nice chunk of seats no matter what. A weak el Baradei with few supporters in the assembly (because the MB sees the opposition as disorganized with limited capability to achieve seats in the assembly), that will leave el Baradei completely open to persuasion from their block.

    Third, let’s be honest here, the presidency is a source of contention among the people since it has just been used for the past 30 years as a seat of power to bludgeon them with. Anyone who assumes that seat, regardless of the elections, will be watched closely and every move assessed against the old regime and fears of power grabs.

    This means that anyone in that seat will have to be very circumspect in using those powers. IN all likelihood, it will make them nearly nothing more than a figure head or referee at this stage. All the power will rest in the Assembly for the creation of the constitution.

    If the history of countries that throw off all powerful central government figures (US history included), the first thing that will happen in the new constitution is that the president’s powers will be stripped and most power will rest in the hands of the assembly. At most, the assembly might place more powers in the hands of the Prime Minister (see iraq) who is selected by the governing party or coalition in the assembly. The president will mean little.

    Finally, whoever presides over this next stage of Egypt’s political re-birth is not going to be seen as a savior. Even if someone like El baradei is an honest power broker, the necessity to compromise will promote people’s distaste. He’ll be seen as the guy that either gave the MB to much or did not give them enough, depending on which side the people are on. He’ll be unelectable after that.

    Why does the west not pick El Baradei? Because everything that the MB sees in El Baradei is what the US sees as well. Someone who will be under the MB’s thumb. You don’t like that, I can’t help that.

    What you said about the parliament elections is the best advice. If you do not get representation in that organization in some decent degree of numbers, you are going to be left out in the cold, hoping like hell that the MB is less Islamist than you think and more honest brokers for the future of Egypt. Good luck with that.

    You want to change these perceptions? Change El Baradei’s position against the MB? make the US and west see you as more than a bunch of people on twitter and stop looking at the MB, the military, the left over NDP as the only power brokers in this deal?

    Get out the vote! Get on the air! Get moving! Get into parliament and get off the streets. Save that for the moment you realize the revolution has been schtupped.

    My God, you toppled a regime in 18 days. Tell me you cannot organize to do this more important thing.

    For all this is my best rendition of constructive criticism, I believe in you. You are the future. You have the tools and you have the drive. Now go get it done!

  17. soha omar says:

    I’m with you 100%

  18. Kareem Zakaria says:

    We should make a party NOW!!

  19. Mahmoud,

    You all need a Pajama’s Media format for the liberal movement. Valid opinion writers discussing issues, education on liberal principles, stand alone interviews with members/leades/opinion makers who can elucidate your ideas.

    Not because the internet is the only place to be, but you need some way, someplace that your ideas can be correlated and refined. Someplace that people can come back to over and over to re-affirm their ideas, share new ones, oppose if necessary and bring the core together.

    The left has just started Tahrir Squared. Mostly, though, it is a site that is aggregating other news and video. You need original content as well as comment on news. Nothing passes without someone from your team giving it the liberal point of view.

  20. waleed nada says:

    your ideas and points always touching the reality and the real Egypt so far i have to agree with Basma Abo Isma3el all these articles and essays should be translated to Arabic by a professional if i have had the abilities to do it i would do it .these kind of analysis to the reality of Egyptian revolution should be spread everywhere in Egypt or should be published in any non profitable newspapers in arabic. you should think about it at least to help in the Literacy in politics .
    remember you promised to let us contact once you arrive to egypt :D
    welly nada

  21. Ahmed Sabry says:

    You are a subscriber to conspiracy theories, I do not appreciate that but you are entitled to your opinion. Egypt like most if not all developing nations can’t & will not function properly in a democratic environment. Yes, you are gonna say that is what the west wants bla bla bla but reality is, Egypt needs a liberal dictatorship, Malaysia style.

    Some of the stuff you said makes some sense but lacks any proper evidence, pure speculation. So what if Egypt maintains a pro sunni stand! you make it sound evil, well it is not! we need to keep our noses out of Israeli-Palestinian conflict cause we have already lost too many lives and money trying to protect a lost cause. Palestinians need to rise up and handle their own crap, we are no longer big mamma.

    Second, Iran is evil, why? the sunni-shiite conflict that will never end. Sorry but it is a fact and it will not be over until the regime in Iran falls and they manage to build a secular state period.

    Finally, the only change Egypt needs in the post mubarak era is less corruption, he had Egypt in the right direction from most aspects. Do not forget, we had a great democracy during 30′s-40′s but we screwed up as usual and I don’t expect things will change this time. In a few years, population will rise again because they are still poor. What we need is a nuclear war and all the crap about Egypt being a rich country will soon be assimilated by those who understand numbers. Egypt is poor, will remain poor for a very long time and the only way out is an open market economy.

    Baradei & Bastaweesy are nice guys, but they always finish last. They both have socialist tendencies and this was perhaps valid 50 years ago, socialism will take us down a very dirty road that will lead no where.

    Who then… simply people who will follow Mubarak’s path in all aspects but root out corruption.

    Have a good one

    • cyberstorm says:

      You can have some socialism. Be careful there. It is used in the most distasteful way to imply that only any other way is useful. It is not. A diverse blend of economies works best.

  22. Ahmed Sabry says:

    Quick q. You claim that the presidential candidate endorsed by the west, US etc will probably win. In other words Moussa, Shafik… I have to disagree on this one. The candidate endorsed by the MB will win and since Baradei is currently the MB’s favorite candidate, then I can only assume he will win, Unless of course the elections re rigged.

    • I wasn’t able to verify this from another source but El Dostor ran a story two days ago about Magdy Ahmed Hussein running for president. Hussein is the head of an Islamic Labour Party and is also an editor of the Al Shaab (populist/Islamist) newspaper. Hussein is known Islamist activist and has been jailed in the past (most recently for crossing the Rafah border to Gaza).

      He is also an “intellectual” of sorts and has crossed paths with the Ikhwan in the past. He’s definitely got the “street cred.” After all, he is a labour leader who has served the “real working people” unlike Moussa, Baradei, etc….

      My money is on him if he is, in fact, running. Ultimately, that’s how the Ikhwan get around “not fielding a presidential candidate.” That doesn’t preclude them from lending their vast organizational/grassroots infrastructure to help someone of similar philosophy get elected.

  23. Jaylan Tayeh says:

    Excellent analysis , we really need Dr Baradei and Bastaweesi to work hard on their campaign . The media has to do a better job than all the bulllshit they’re showing these days….etc a lot of work and have to start ASAP

  24. Jaylan Tayeh says:

    Excellent analysis.. Dr Baradei and Bastaweesi should start their campaign loud and clear. The media should be working right instead of all the bullshit it’s showing these days….and so much more like you said. We need action ASAP

  25. Spoof of a real American-Style attack ad used by Harper’s Conservatives (this was before Iggy replaced Dion as Liberal leader):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkPtRi-z1wQ

    More on Ken Dryden (hockey player turned politician):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmZUlEdp5so

    What to expect after Egypt’s election:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzVhf9VdK28

    Ok, seriously, all the Canadian political parties show their ads on their webpages – so if you want to know that big money will pay for, just check out our Conservatives. And, the MB will be running ads on TV and radio because they have money – but twitter and youtube will accomplish the same thing:

    Party Leaders

    Steve Harper – Prime Minister – Conservative (Tories)
    Michael Ignatief (Iggy) – Liberal
    Jack Layton – NDP – New Democratic Party
    Gilles Duceppe – Bloc Quebecois (only runs candidates in Quebec)
    Elizabeth May – Green Party

    Party webpages
    Conservative – http://www.conservative.ca/
    Liberal – http://www.liberal.ca/
    NDP – http://www.ndp.ca/
    Bloc – http://www.blocquebecois.org/accueil.aspx
    Green Party – http://greenparty.ca/

    Why does the Bloc use .org rather than .ca? Because they want to Quebec to separate from Canada and be its own country and .ca stands for Canada. Note that while the other webpages are in both English and French, the Bloc’s is only in French. If you wish to read the Bloc’s platform in English or Arabic, here is the Google translator
    http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en

    There are usually two major televised debates where the party leaders debate each other – on in French (known as the French debate) and one in English (known as the English debate). The French debate is translated live so that people like me who don’t speak French can understand it. Usually when the translator has trouble it means that the party leader trying to speak French is not doing a very good job at it. Will post links to debates after they air so that you can have a good laugh while thinking smugly that your candidates for President will do better.

    Election Dictionary – with words used to denote parts of the process
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/votertoolkit/dictionary.html

    Basically, a “riding” is a voting district. Canada is divided into 308 pieces or ridings. Political parties compete in each riding to see which one will represent that particular riding (representative called an MP). The leader of the party which elects the most MPs becomes Prime Minister (with limited exceptions). If the PM’s party has more MPs than the opposition parties combined, it is called a Majority Government and if the PM’s party has less MPs than the opposition combined, it is called a Minority Government. If more MPs vote against the budget than for it, the Government is defeated and there is an election – budgets are automatically confidence votes.

    • As an addition to what Vaudree has posted, there are more political parties in Canada than listed, but they are fringe parties, mainly useful for drawing votes away from the major parties thereby reducing their potential dominance. The Green party listed above was once a fringe party but has become more important over the years.

      There are flaws in our system, as in all systems. Hopefully Egypt can sort out the flaws and maybe one day we will look to its system of government and copy it.

  26. Sandmonkey says that the Americans will help Egyptian politican entities with money. What Americans are known for are their attack ads. Didn’t Mohammed ElBaradei work outside of the country for a while? So did Iggy – a point that the Tories point out in their American-Style attack ads which end with the refrain “he didn’t come back for you”. Successful strategies get reused.

    All the Canadian political parties show their ads on their webpages – so if you want to know that big money will pay for, just check out our Conservatives. And, the MB will be running ads on TV and radio because they have money – but twitter and youtube will accomplish the same thing.

  27. Amr Fahmy says:

    I agree with part of your analysis and specially the need to go to the Egyptian Nation with a program, for that a political party must be formed; so far I haven’t seen any one being except hearing that the revolution youth different committees are debating this issue. While others such as the MB and old remains of the NDP under independents hats but a lot of money and experience are already on the ground.
    I personally would like to join a Party and help but find shopping for one difficult if not impossible;
    The Egyptians need to be talked to and convinced even if for most of them their political awareness is very limited. Funding of course is crucial as election campaigns cost a lot of money.
    Ending “pauperism”something that Western elites understood right from the end of the XIXth century could be one of the many arguments. This argument should convince people and in the same time, in long help economical growth and stability as a country with a middle class works for the best; Entrepreneur and industrialist will have a real and big internal market to sell their products and the people standard of living will increase. Every one will be happy, elites the middle class which was on the verge of dying in the old regime

    Amr Fahmy

  28. Fred Minton says:

    I’m very disappointed to read this from someone I’ve admired for so many years. You sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist who needs a good night’s sleep.

    To be sure, none of what you describe is impossible, or even implausible, But where is the disciplined scholarship that requires evidence or at the very least a set of coherent pieces of circumstantial evidence that could connect some dots to present the picture you are proposing? Would you be on board if someone offered you entire scenarios, plausible as they may be, without providing a good set of evidence to support their theories? I hope not.

    This sort of ad hoc approach to a narrative is beneath what I’ve always expected of you. Furthermore, it is highly irresponsible because unsupported conspiracy theories tend to enlist the ranks of those who are predisposed to the emotions stirred up by such fabrications, and inevitably lead to no good.

    Sorry to be so blunt about it, but I hope you will take my brutal frankness as tough love from a friend.

  29. Dear Sandmonkey,
    Thanks for the great post. I liked your bullet points, as they make a lot of sense. There is one, however, which got my attention and I think is a bit far off. I don’t think that all international players support Amr Moussa at all. Unless you count the Europeans as “non-players”. Amr Moussa discredited himself on the Libyan question in the eyes of at least two permanent members of the UN security council (if not 3) and these are France and the United Kingdom. While he might still enjoy support in Germany, I am pretty sure that El Baradei has more support in these two countries.

  30. Great analysis…the big question though is… How do we get organized? Twitter won’t do nor will all the million facebook groups, nor will blogs or anything on social media. Can we not set out an actual action plan. A coalition type group where we meet and plan and then break back up and work ‘autonomously’ again. Get Baradei’s guys, the other opposition groups, the women’s rights groups, the revolutionaries, the NGO’s…whoever. We agree on the ‘principles’ and then split. There are a lot of people who want to be actively involved but don’t know how to. If they knew what to say and who to meet with, or who to go to, they would do it.
    What do you say?

  31. 1. You need to get your stuff printed in International press or on TV. Most powerful people don’t necessarily master Internet (generation divide)
    2. You urgently need to organize as clear visible political party- international communities will only listen if they feel they support a group, not an individual.
    3. Your ideas correspond to what the people in the west like (maybe not governments, but people), you have to catch them by their ideals and look out for NGO’s that aren’t focussed on state interests.
    4. Contact people and propose how they can help. Like me- how can I help? With whom can I connect?

  32. Excellent breakdown of where things are and what needs to be done. Also, thanks for the English blog as I can’t read Arabic any more. You should also have this translated by someone you trust to reach all of Egypt – can’t win the war without good communication to your base.

    Thanks for your leadership and vision. God Bless your work and I pray to one day see Egypt a free, democratic and vibrant country once again.

  33. I really don’t want to add some of these annoying know-it-all statements from western people; you have to find your very own path and I only wish you good luck. Nonetheless, maybe it might be helpful to share an experience with you (or maybe it won’t).

    In Germany, after WWII, the situation in the country was depressing. The cities where destroyed, people there suffered starvation and only wished to survive the following day and the infrastructure would be ruined. In this environement, it would not be easy to spread political messages in order to form the first post-war democratic parliament. The party that won at least did so because it had only one simple message: “no experiments”. Threatened by communist ideas and tired by the war and the just overbeared dictatorship, this simple message hit the mark, so the party gained the majority of the votes. In contrast, parties with “complicated” political messages where not as successful.

    I know very well that the situation you are in now is totally different! I’ve got no idea if this experience offers something useful to you or not or if it is just another gibble gabble, you will decide this by your own.

    Very best wishes and good luck!!

  34. Moustafa Fahmy says:

    I have to admit I have underestimated you for a good for nothing anarchist.Your analysis here bears a lot of sense in it. Respect

  35. The Salafists have already taken over Alexandria and operate there with impunity…verbally abusing and assaulting unveiled women. Welcome to the new Egypt. These people should all be killed, they are setting out country back literally thousands of years. Don’t get lulled into thinking Cairo represents all of Egypt.

  36. Guys,

    I hesitated to say this but I’m worried that we are going off on all kinds of tangents that is only distracting us from the main issue.

    As painful as it is to admit, the truth of the matter is that while some traditional grassroots political campaigning (and bullet points/ sloganeering) might be helpful, the big elephant in the room is religion and what role religion should play in society and politics.

    By all press accounts and available information, Copts voted overwhelmingly “No.” If we assume that Copts voted in proportion to their overall representation in the broader population (+/- 10%) and that, say, 80% of them voted “No” then by simple calculation roughly 16-17% of Musllims voted “No.” This means that in the Muslim population who voted, the “Yes/No” divide is 84/16 and that is rather shocking. [The numbers might be off a bit but clearly the support is less than 23% within the Muslim population.]

    I’m not against traditional “politics” but we have to recognize that the battle in the Mosques will ultimately determine how the ships goes down. Its great to talk about min wage, corruption, freedom, etc. But unless you have a clear position on what role Islam should play in the political/social arena and have cogent religious arguments to counter the other side, your chance of winning this battle are slim to none.

    I am sorry to say that. But we need to wake up. Your battle won’t be won on the in the political minefields of Saudi, Israel, Iran, US, EU… Your battle is right there in the local Mosque.

    • Ezzat; I agree that the religious influence on the future government is the biggest issue facing Egypt. If I were in charge of a party, I would state to the people they have make a choose one of three futures for Egypt; Live in the corrupt past by voting for old DNP/military people….vote for the MB and be a copy of the darkness that cloaks Iran….or vote for the United Democratic Party and have the bright future of a free and democratic Egypt. For that is basically the choice they face.

      Use that theme as a base to enhance all the other issues like women’s rights, religious freedom, personal rights and liberties, the end of corruption, and more. And do it all with an unbridled enthusiasm for the future of Egypt. Be proud, be optimistic, be excited. Make Ronny Reagan proud!

      Point out Egypt’s location will make it the center of the Arab world, the center of trade between Africa and the ME, the crossroads between Europe and Asia(the Suez Canal) Point out Egypt’s great past and close by saying its brightest days are just ahead. Make the people believe the dream and they will follow.

  37. cyberstorm says:

    It’s about time. Now, someone get this out in writing. Not everyone is internet savvy.

    For some of these things – for money to become organized off from elections/campaigns – you can start a fundraiser, and you want have to know who is helping you raise money, so you are not beholden to them.

    Nice to see someone stepping up to get organized.

  38. maher el sharnouby says:

    I agree with you totally about amr moussa and I find barad3y the most suitable candidate and I think he can make a good matsh with bastawessey.

  39. I’m merely a friendly American onlooker to the revolution, and not at all knowledgeable about Egypt, though I’ve read an awful lot in the last three months. I knew enough to be following sandmonkey’s tweets in early February. And I spent much of the month urging sympathizers to call the White House and their Senate, in every forum I could find.

    Anyway, I tried googling (in english) Bastaweesy to figure out who he is. And the number two link is this post itself.

    Perhaps it goes to the need for someone to be a “lobbyist for the revolution.” I’d actually argue that you also need an “English language press secretary for the revolution.”

    While many members of the American government share a sense of “American interests”, don’t assume that American institutions necessarily agree. The press and the public remain powerful hear. It’s worth having someone trying to get names like Bastaweesy in front of the public in his own terms. Baradei too.

    Not that anyone’s opinion here SHOULD have much impact. But since it potentially might, it’s worth trying to make your case here too, as long as it doesn’t distract you from the home front.

    Best of luck.

  40. Ezzat,

    One sign I use to know if the person posting in English is really an Egyptian – they start with “Guys”. Native English speakers might address a group as “guys” now and then, but it seems like the default for Egyptian speakers of English. Is this translating an Arabic word that you would use in that setting? Or is it just a usage that has gained a lot of fans over there?

    It’s certainly not incorrect – it’s a distinctive and endearing trait I’ve noticed.

    Anyway, I want to underline what Danielle de Lutzel asked – what can friends abroad do to help? You’ve got my e-mail address from the log-in here. Let us know.

  41. Sand monkey Good post, it seems you are/were in Brussels getting international involvement. That is good as it means you have ascended high in the movement. And international aid is critical.

    I’d give more advice but I know you know way more than I do! Hope your keeping a good journal so that someday I can read the book that you will write about the Revolution that Took Down the House of Mubarak.

  42. you said “bullet point style no verbose exposition” :D
    but.. the verbose exposition made many worthy points …

  43. More Food for Thought: A Radical Departure

    I am writing this in response to the statement issued by the NAC yesterday and other secular/liberal parties today calling for a divorce between religion and politics.

    My heart agrees with them: for Egypt to truly ‘move forward’ we need to put aside the polarizing and divisive debates of the past and focus on the new challenges posed by the global economy and technological/scientific revolution.

    But my mind tells a different story. As some of you have noted, Cairo does not properly represent Egypt. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in some of those districts that voted 90% “Yes.” And I can assure you that neither the philosophical debates taking place in the Ivory Tower of the AUC campus nor the Jimi Hendrix hairdo of Amr Hamzawy have much resonance here.

    In short, I am arguing that “divorcing” religion and politics in today’s Egypt probably should be more of a long term goal. Egypt just isn’t ready to take that momentous step at this time.

    Therefore, as an observer from afar and not someone in the trenches, let me suggest a radical idea for you to consider. (Again, this is just more food for thouugh and you are no doubt free to reject it as well).

    Why not join forces with someone *like* Amr Khaled (or someone like him) who has announced an interest in forming a political party and who espouses a more ‘moderate’ role for religion in society and politics…? Why not have internal discussions amongst the secular youth/religious minorities and seriously discuss to what extent you can agree on some broad religious platform? And which religious leaders could you work with to achieve common goals?

    For example, although I am an avowed secularist, I see little harm in adopting a platform which argues that Islamic teachings of personal honesty, integrity, ethics and communal values could lay the “spiritual foundation” to common law although the specific formulations of criminal laws, punishments, etc, would not be based on a literal reading of religious texts but rather based on broader philosophical Islamic teachings….

    Why would you adopt this position the Ikhwan will ask? Perhaps because as society changes, the conext in which laws apply also changes. For example, someone who steals because his childern are hungry and he can’t work (although he has tried) and his rent has just doubled is different from someone who steals for other reasons. No one hadith is likely to perfectly address a specific set of circumstances. And so, the literal translation of some religious text written in one context into a different context is not straightforward…. You get the point….

    Look, I am sure you have figued out by now that I am not a religious scholar or mufti :-) . I am just suggesting that *perhaps* its worthwhile to consider alternatives to the “purely secular” slogan. Separation vs Divorce?

    • Ezzat:

      It is very true what you are saying that Cairo does not represent Egypt. It is also true that the Egypt is not ready to separate religion and politics, simply because the majority of the people don’t want that. People don’t want freedom for themselves or for others, they want to be controlled by religion, and want to control other people with religion. Which makes me wonder why is democracy a good thing in a society like that… or why the so-called revolution (made by a loud minority of the Egyptian people who had one goal in mind regardless of all its short and long term negative consequences) is a good thing, if the majority of people want a collective and oppressive society/culture, and if they have no respect for the rights or freedoms of the individual citizen. The main issue that I saw during President’s Mubarak time was corruption, which again was a societal/cultural problem that would have happened (and will continue to happen) regardless of who is in charge.

      Joining forces with someone like Amr Khaled is not a bad thing (although not ideal), but it will alienate many people, including Christians (particularly the Coptic Orthodox), who refuse anything that has to do with Islam even if it is moderation, which is a valid political position if you disregard the fact that Coptic Orthodox Christians gladly accept the oppression and fascism of the Coptic Orthodox church, which surpasses any form of oppression they faced from Muslims or the government since 1971 (the year Shenouda became a pope for the Coptic Orthodox), aside from isolated physical acts of violence, which by the way have been perpetuated by both sides (not just extremist Muslims) for quite a while. Interestingly, you don’t find any of these problems with any Christian denomination in Egypt other than the Copitc Orthodox church. So working with Amr Khaled is good but will have negative consequences that have to be considered.

      Anyway, the point of all this is that the problem of Egypt is not who is charge, or what kind of government we have, the problem is the majority of the people and their desire to be enslaved by their religions, and refusal to allow freedom to be practiced in their own daily lives and in the lives of others. Never mind what a minority of enlightened Egyptians think, religion is (and will be) in control, and until that changes, anything that is done (whether it is called a revolution or not) will take us back to where we were.

  44. Ayman,

    I agree with you insofar as I think that people of all faiths in Egypt tend to blindly follow their religious authorities. But having said that, there is no moral equivalence between what the Salafis are doing, for example, versus some extremist Copts. But that’s not a debate I want to get into now….

    I do share your concerns about making all religious groups welcome in the new political party. And this is why I mentioned that the broad debate should include all religious groups (including Copts, Sufis, etc). Christianity and Islam share many principles and I’m sure that Amr Khaled and Coptic Church leaders would find many things to agree on.

    I agree that this isn’t “ideal” … But we must face the reality on the ground. We need to choose between the best of imperfect outcomes.

    The long term consequences of a more radical Islamist takeoever can be deeply profound for Egypt! Even though the Ikhwan have been stating publically that they will abide by Camp David, during the famous Friday prayers celebrating the tharwa, Sheiklh Qaradawi implored the army to help safeguard the revolution and facilitate that one day he will be able to pray in Al Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem).

    I can’t tell whether that’s just rhetoric or whether he’s serious. Iran has oil and they have been able to survive as a pariah state outside of the main global economy. But Egypt needs the global economy and Western/international trade in order to grow and create jobs for all the young people that took to the streets on Jan 25.

    The country simply cannot afford more military spending and adventurism (ala Gamal Abdel Nasser). It needs to feed its own people first before rushing off to the front line!

    You know, I recently heard a think tank expert say that some Egypt economists predict that in a few weeks Egypt could run out of money to pay its civil servants and that it is in desparate need of international assistance !!!!

    Meanwhile, some “protest leaders” continue to call for protests because Zahi Hawass is part of the old regime and therefore “he must go.” Not that he’s the most effective adminstrator I’ve ever seen, but these protest leaders seem to think he is Gengis Khan!

    Aqool Eih Bass?

  45. You need a POLITICAL PARTY January 25ers,thats what we want you to set up
    so we can get to see and know you between now and September,so we can go with you to every Zenga Zenga and Dar Dar because the parliament we are electing then(too soon in my opinion but the people said yes so yes it is) is as important as the Presidential election.I and others like me from an older generation want you–the January 25ers–to be in these parliamentary seats,want to see you leading the country to DEMOCRACY,free of any form of dictatorship,political,ideological,military or religious.Go on take that necessary step.

  46. Great analysis, worth to be read over and over, new insights flash up on my mind now. So interested to get to know your opinion about the other media-spotted personae, i.e., “Hamdeen Sabahy”. By listening to him talking about his envisaged platform makes me wonder about the guy’s real realization of all the foreign pressures and dark spots he has to deal with, or he is just babbling about the long-waited for aspirations of Egyptian citizens, that he embodies an inhibited thought for 30 years. Thank you for a great article.

  47. Sally Mohamed says:

    Very interesting “mind opening” points here.

  48. Vaudree says:

    Ezzat, there were many reasons for voting “yes” and I think that the Military stepped up the violence just before the vote to encourage a “yes” vote – the emotion wanting to get rid of the Military so badly that anything seems better – emotion overruling logic.

    Patrick, I don’t think that it matters whether a woman is veiled or not, wearing a hijab or not. What a woman wears doesn’t justify it – and nothing a woman wears can make her immune from attack.

    In Egypt, activists celebrating Women’s day were stripped searched, subjected to virginity tests and accused of being prostitutes. Rape is a common tactic in the dictator’s handbook. And, it doesn’t matter how modest a person dresses, it doesn’t prevent sexual harassment. Muslim women, tell your brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers to attend the Slutwalk (Canada, Australia, USA) and show that protesting or blogging (often labeled as immodest behaviour by the authorities) does not justify rape.

    http://www.facebook.com/SlutWalkToronto

    Heard that the MB got their on TV station, let’s call it phoque news (with the symbol of a clapping seal). They will try the tactic that voting against them makes a person anti-Islamic – just like some in the West try to pain even Jews who stick up for Palestinians and question Israeli policy as anti-Jew.

    Sandmonkey, your eggs and tomatos comment was priceless – you always give intelligent analysis!

  49. Hello Mood, nice post and I agree with you on most of what you said but I disagree with you about what you said regarding Salafists & MB.

    You claim that Salafists & MB are getting fund from Qatar & Saudi, I will talk about Salafists since I am one of them and lived with them over 10 years. First of all I want to explain something most of the people who talk about Salafists don’t know or they know it but forget it, Salafists are not only in Egypt nor only the Muslim countries Salafists are everywhere and most of them have the same ideology and ideas, so if Saudis are funding the Salafists in Egypt or the middle east so what about the Salafists in north America and Europe?!

    Your claim doesn’t match the financial situation to most of the Salafists around the world. And let’s take Egypt as example, I lived as Salafi in Egypt for more 10 years and I was well-known in my neighborhood as a Salafi sheikh and I haven’t in my life received fund from Saudi or from any one. Not just me or the sheikhs I know personally, but take a look at the Salafists TV channels and compare them to the worst channel in the Nile sat and you will see how the Salafists channels are suffering financially and indeed one of them (Al hekmah) shut down because they didn’t have enough money to fund it. The only source for them is the philanthropies Salafists in Egypt or from the “non-professional commercials” on their channels. At least if they are funded from Saudi or Qatar they wouldn’t do these ugly commercials. But what can they do? This is the only way for them to get money.

    Salafists in Egypt are suffering because simply it is very hard for most of them to get a job in sophisticated companies whether because of their beards or their niqabs. And some of them chose to work lower jobs which do not match with their degrees because they don’t want to work in places they believe its money is not halal such as banks or hotels who provide alcohol or make money from gambling. A lot of them had to shave their beards because they wanted to find a job and they couldn’t find job because of their beards and they were not able to support their families.

    But I will assume with you that the Salafists are funded from Saudi and I will ignore the civil community organizations who are really funded from USA and CIA. Doesn’t that contradict with the theory that the Royal families in Saudi are such dissolute and they spend all their monies on the women and alcohol? Doesn’t that contradict with the theory that they don’t care about Islam?

    I didn’t get what do you mean that Saudi is involved in the rumors against Salafists in the media? But what are the sources of these rumors? Weekly you will find at least 2 or 3 news about Salafists in El masry El youm, El youm El saba3, El doctor, El shouroq. Do these newspapers owned by Saudis or Egyptian liberal such as Nageeb Sawaris? Everyone knows that its only rumors and nothing true and that the media or let’s say the liberal media who is behind it, especially after they saw how small they are after the referendum.

    Unfortunately there’s something I see a lot in many blogs and it annoys me so much. I found a lot of people write about other groups and they believe that they are the only one who understand the situation and the only one who see the full pictures. And the others are just puppets.

    Salam Alikom
    Mohamed Elian