One Last Time

In political science, there is a philosophical conundrum regarding the concept of “being for democracy”, and it has started 6 million thousand debates. Underlying that conundrum is the following question: Does being for Democracy mean supporting whatever decision the majority takes, even if it means the destruction of said democracy? Or does it mean supporting and ensuring the survival of the democratic process, even if it’s against the will of the majority? If the difference eludes you, let me give you an example, from right here in the middle-east. Algeria in 1991.

Now, in 1991, there was the first real attempt for democratic elections in Algeria, and the Islamic Salvation Front- an Islamist party- ran on the platform that there is no democracy in Islam, and that the moment they will seize power, they will cancel future democratic elections. And they won, the majority actually voted in a party that would end all voting, which led the army to immediately cancel the election, which in turn started a civil war that plunged the country into chaos for a number of years. Now, who is right here? Would you support the ISF’s win, even if it means that there will be no more democratic elections ever, and thus no checks and balances on their power? Or do you believe that democracy’s survival is more important for the well-being and the future generations that will come to this country, even if it subverts the will of the majority? A fun little conundrum, eh? People go on and on about it.

Now, let me tell you why I joined the revolution in the first place: Besides getting rid of our past lovely authoritarian regime, all I wanted out of all this was an Egyptian bill of rights, unalienable and irrevocable no matter who is in Power. I wanted the right to free speech, the right to free expression (artistic and otherwise), the right to peaceful assembly, the right to religious freedom, the right of equality between all citizens in terms of rights & freedoms (irrespective of Gender, religion, race, lineage, language, social origin or political opinion), the right to information and transparency to keep our government always in check, the right not to be subjugated to torture, or cruel or inhumane treatment, the right for equal protection of the law and security, the right not to be arbitrarily arrested, detained, exiled or have your citizenship stripped from you, The right to be considered Innocent until proven guilty and to be tried by a fair and impartial civil tribunal, where everyone has legal representation, and finally the right to education. Those are the rights I risked life and limb for, and they are not new or novel ideas, and you can find them all, and many more, in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, right here.

Now, when you start a revolution, you don’t have a revolution to plead for those rights: you have one to forcefully take them from those who denied them to you. Those rights are the foundation for any advanced democratic society or country, and they are not up for debate or discussion, and I will be damned if I will have someone elected in parliament denying me those rights or trying to negotiate or barter over them. I am sorry. I want in my constitution those rights, irrespective of who gets voted into power. And those who get into power should not be allowed to tamper with them or change them in any way, but are allowed to do whatever they want to the constitution after that. I don’t care if those elected state that we will be a Fascist country with Scientology as the source of all legislation, for whatever they will do, or whatever authoritarian/ sectarian/racist/sexist legislation that they will try to enforce on us in the name of security/ public morality/whatever will not be able to ever interfere with our blood-earned rights. As long as we have those rights in our constitution, we should be ok on the long run, and never be abused by a leader or a regime again.

But that’s my reason, and you can agree or disagree with it as much as you want. What I would like to discuss now, is why you, the general public, should go to the May 27 protests. Now, I won’t ask you to do so for my demands (although it would be nice if you did), nor for those of the protesters ( and god knows there are 7 different demands circulating right now, and many people who are going without a clear set of demands of their own) who are disorganized and divided and have given up on talking to anyone but themselves at this point, nor even to go there to defend the revolution. No, I want to talk to the silent Majority today regarding their set of interests: The Economy, Security and Stability, and why more than anyone, they should be going to May 27 to protest, because , seriously, if those are the three things you care about the most, well, you are getting screwed, and – just like the days of Mubarak-not by us! Sorry!

I know you will beg to differ, so let me present my argument, and then make up your mind. Deal?

On the Economy:

Now, the narrative regarding the economy has been as follows: The country is going downhill fast, all the statistics point to impending doom, we will go through our food reserves by the end of this month and the Tahrir Protesters have continued to hijack the wheel of production and are hiding it in Tahrir and covering it with protests. Does that sound about right? Ok, how about we tell the truth: The Transitional government and the SCAF for four months now have failed to present to you anything that resembled an emergency economic plan other than, well, the protests must stop. And they have repeatedly informed you with fantastic statistics about how screwed we are without once giving you a clear action plan as to how they plan to save it (And by the way, I see no difference in Tantawi asserting to us that we are a poor nation where 70% live under the poverty line without a clear plan or a notion of a plan as to how they will remedy that, and Mubarak’s famous response of “we are a country with limited resources; where am I supposed to feed you all from?” in an interview). Never mind for a minute that the whole “we will run out of our strategic wheat reserves at the end of this month” statement has been said by the SCAF every month for the past 4 months and it never happened, and let’s focus on the real issue: Where is the emergency aid package – consisting of money and food stamps- to egypt’s lowest economic classes designed to get them through the next few months until elections are held? Where is the stimulus package designed to aid small and mid-size businesses to also get through the transitional period? What? We have no money? Have you seen our Budget? None of you have. You don’t know what our revenues or expenses are, because we are not allowed to review the country’s finances until this day. Where are the new initiatives that they can spearhead and harness the positive energy that Tahrir created into creating many start-up and innovative companies? What about Tourism? How come there hasn’t been a single government initiative to encourage Tourism based on the fantastic goodwill that got generated in Tahrir? Why aren’t there freedom concerts being planned, touristic events- or even, Gee, I don’t know, a Jan25 Museum- to have people celebrate the new and free Egypt? Has Our Esteemed Minister of Tourism- whose previous job was owning a strawberry jam factory- proposed a single such initiative?

And what about the real hindrance to all businesses and economic developmental projects that wish to start in Egypt: institutional corruption? Why haven’t you tackled it or demanded it being addressed yet? And why do you perpetuate the Myth that Businessmen are being targeted? Having 7 or 8 corrupt very corrupt regime-connected Oligarchs in prison isn’t the country turning anti- Business or Businessmen, but rather anti- incredibly public corruption. Hey, Businessmen, you want to clear your names and not join the Mansours and Maghrabis in their self-imposed exile in London or join the other idiots that transferred billions to Dubai? Here is an idea: Join up and start the Businessmen Truth and Reconciliation initiative. We know that the supreme majority of you aren’t corrupt, but that you were surrounded by a corrupt culture that wouldn’t allow you to do anything without having you pay 18 different bribes. We get that, cause we all paid bribes to get any kind of public service done efficiently. Fine, so you paid bribes, but thankfully the Egyptian law is clear: if you paid a bribe to someone and reported it, they go to jail, and not you. So how about you all join up and file official charges against all of those you had to pay bribes to in order to get your business going and clear the slate once and for all? You wouldn’t be legally liable, and you would be doing the country a huge favor by exposing all the corrupt officials in all the ministries, municipalities and government institutions and cleaning them out once and for all. Imagine that. A Purge of all bribe-takers in all government institutions, and you would be the ones doing it. You would become Instant Heroes, and you would never have to pay a bribe again for your business to continue to function! Double Win! And if you are worried about legal liability, simply demand Amnesty. That’s the reconciliation part! And the government, if it’s really into cleaning the country of corruption, and calming the business community, they should’ve suggested that. They didn’t! You should demand it.

On the Security:

Let’s start with the simplest of questions: Where is the Police exactly? Do you know that besides showing some face as traffic police in some parts of Cairo, that’s the only time they have showed their face or done their jobs? Do you know that outside of the posh neighborhoods of Central Cairo (where the foreign journalists and local media move and congregate) the police still did not show up, and if they do, they refuse to act? Do you know that there are entire governorates that the Police never showed up at after the revolution, and the people are still fending for themselves there? And I am not going to talk about how when it comes to the 800+ people that got killed in the revolution, only one policeman was ever convicted for murder, and it was done in absentia because they can’t find him, because police abuse and murder doesn’t seem to bother you, even though they don’t care or differentiate who they kill. No, let’s talk numbers: The Police is the only group in the government that received raises for their salaries twice, and still didn’t show up for work. So, if we decide that we use the very unrealistically low average salary of 1000LE per policeman (factoring in low salary for Omanah and the high salaries of lewa2at) and multiply that to 1.5 Million official Policemen in Egypt, we are talking 1.5 Billion LE a month. That’s 6 Billion LE in the last 4 months, for not doing their jobs. Given that we are broke and our Budget is bleeding as they are saying, that’s money being wasted on people who were not doing their jobs before the revolution and are refusing to do so after, which I am sure you find to be unacceptable. The Police are getting paid to do a job, and if they are refusing to do it, then they shouldn’t be getting paid at all until they do it and they should be penalized for them. In essence, they swore an oath of death to uphold the law and protect you, and they are breaking that oath, which amounts to treason. How long do you intend to accept that and beg them to do their jobs? How long will you take that?

On Stability:

Stability comes from transparency. From understanding what is going on and where the country is going, which we don’t. We don’t know the date the elections will be held on, which technically could be less than 100 days away, until now. We have no clue what policies the government is taking, and what the different ministers have been doing for the past 4 months. Why isn’t it clear whether or not our government is taking action on the issues facing us? Why isn’t there a weekly report in all newspapers outlining the issues that the Transitional Government and the SCAF tackled this week, and the issues they have on their agenda for the next week? Why do we have to wait in front of Facebook until they release to us another Info-statement that is vague and sometimes in total contradiction to a previously released one? And while we are at it, why is this, this or this allowed to happen? How can there be stability in the light of all of this?

And my last question: Upon viewing all of this, how could you continue to sit still and not do something? How are you not the ones planning this Friday’s protest in Tahrir? You have been loyal. You have been on the side of reason. You have been accused time and time again that you are far too negative, far too complacent, far too willing to compromise for no reason and that you vehemently refuse to leave your couches to stand for something. That you are not willing to fight for the future of your country which you love. And you took all that, and You have made excuse after excuse for months and still got nothing. HOW ARE YOU NOT ANGRY?

This Friday I am going to Tahrir for one last time, and I am going because I believe my demands are just and legitimate. Yours are not any less valid, and you deserve to have them realized. So, if you went to Tahrir during the 18 days of the revolution, but stopped afterwards, it’s time to go again and make your demands known. If you have never been to Tahrir, and have been part of the “Silent Majority” who want nothing more than Security, Stability and Economic prosperity, then you, more than anyone, should go to Tahrir this Friday and for once make your voice heard and not be so silent after all. Just go once, and get all of your like-minded friends to go, and see if that won’t get your demands met ASAP. Your patience is taken for granted, and your pleadings fall on deaf ears on both sides. It’s time for you too to take a stand.

See you there!

55 Comments on One Last Time

  1. Tigger
    May 25, 2011 at 1:47 am

    The Germans voted for Hitler in the 1930s. Were they right?

    It’s a depressing thought that you may have achieved nothing at all as a result of your bravery. :-

    It’s especially depressing how so many naive protestors have completely ignored the need for post-Tahrir Sq political organisation. How can people vote for you if there’s no-one and nothing to vote for come election time?

    Seems like your revolution has some considerable way further to go.

    Good luck!

    • Ellis Goldberg
      May 25, 2011 at 8:52 am

      The myth that a majority of the Germans voted for the Nazis in July 1932 is one of those zombie myths. It simply refuses to die. They got slightly less than 38% of the votes in 1932 and slightly more than one-third of the seats in the Reichstag. In November when new elections were held their share of the vote DROPPED. They won about a third of the vote. They were on a declining trend when Papen agreed to form the socalled Hitler Cabinet to which Hindenburg agreed. The death of German democracy had many sources but it was elite politics not the desire of the masses that did it in. Had the center-left parties been able to make a common cause around the rights enumerated above, a very different German and world history would have ensued. Perhaps the most important issue was the refusal of the communists, then in the grips of the socalled left turn, to ally with the social democrats.

      • NDM
        May 27, 2011 at 8:36 am

        There has been a last election in 1933:,_March_1933

        Though this election hasn’t been really democratic, *this one* is the last one, where people could chose between more than one party. And the voter turnout has been at about 88%.So you can’t say that they haven’t voted the Nazis at the end. They did.

  2. Janice Clinch
    May 25, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Once again your rantings have me supporting Egypt. I followed you through Tahrir, but the negativity and selfishness I have heard from some of your “friends” since then had me turning away. I wish you all the best in your struggle. If more Egyptians felt, spoke, acted, as you do, Egypt would become a true democracy. You fight the good fight, my friend. Don’t give up!

  3. thewiz
    May 25, 2011 at 2:12 am

    On the conundrum; Thats why there needs to be a transitional period involved. Like I said in a previous post, have an election this fall and set up a transitional government. Don’t even re write the Constitution yet. Start a process to write one, have lots of debate on various issues, and then have another election in two years. This will give time for leaders to step up and develop, for people to debate and learn various aspects of democracy, for parties to organize, and for the country to stabilize. Voting in the midst of turmoil will be very destructive. The main priorities should be security, the economy, and the transition.

    After Round Two, work out a Constitution, establish a government, solidify security and economic gains. Then vote on the Constitution and have followup elections. At this point people will have a better understanding of democracy and be more confident in it. If they then vote to dismantle it after the third go round, then so be it. But once they have freedom for that long, they will not go back.

    On the economy, the one thing businesses hate most is uncertainty. Combine that with a long history of corruption and all the scalawags absconding with the money makes it all the worse. Things will tough until Egypt sets a stable course into the future.

    On security, that must start over from the ground up. By now, people organized their own local neighborhood patrols. Deputize them and make them into the new police force. Thats the only way the people will trust any police force. The old police were too corrupt and too brutal for the people to ever trust them again.

    Hope the May 27th demos go well. make them a demonstration of unity…especially welcoming the copts and demonstrating for their safety and inclusion into society.

    Best of luck

  4. Omar Kamel
    May 25, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Glad to see you’ve finally decided it’s time to go back to the street. I had a lot of issues with the whole ‘playing politics’ position. I felt it was far too early to play politics in a field that’s controlled by ex-regime generals, with referees that we cannot trust, and under rules that our enemy (if that’s too harsh, then at least our most certainly non-revolutionary ‘partner’) gets to make up as they go along.

    We cannot play any politics until the basic principles are fully established; our right to protest, and our willingness to retaliate by mass protests to ANY attack on our freedoms or rights to demonstrate, protest, or sit-in. Unfortunately, this is exactly the battle we now find ourselves having to fight once again.

    My only real problem with this post is the bit where you say ‘I am going to Tahrir for one last time’ – I’m afraid you’re either over-estimating what can be achieved on May 27th or you’re saying that you’ve only got one more protest inside you 😉

    Hopefully that’s not the case. I think we’re going to have to keep taking our issues to the street so long as we’re trying to achieve the goals of the revolution through a Military Council that is (at best) blind to the needs of the revolution, if not (at worst) clearly against the revolution.

    Personally, I think ‘begging/pressuring’ the SCAF is the wrong approach, and to me is pretty much like trying to milk a bull. It simply won’t work. I think we need a civilian presidential council – unfortunately, that idea doesn’t seem to be very popular. I understand why some people are reluctant, since our mechanisms for assembling such a council aren’t ‘quite’ fully democratic at the moment, but I still don’t understand how people prefer a military council made up of unknown and secretive generals (all of whom were appointed by the dictator our martyrs died to overthrow) to an INTERIM civilian council made up of people we can at least all identify and who would, therefore, be at least to some extent, accountable.

    But so be it. We’ll see which way the revolution blows.

  5. rawr
    May 25, 2011 at 3:03 am

    I wish you the best of luck in fighting for freedom. Know however that even if your human rights are put in writing, a group of men will begin plotting to erode those freedoms before the ink is dry. Freedom must be constantly fought for, and the rights exercised regularly lest they erode.

    Good luck Friday.

  6. Egyptian Girl
    May 25, 2011 at 3:27 am

    The conundrum you speak about keeps me up at night, so if the MB take over the parliament, fix the constitution the way they want it, is that democracy?

    I am so confused, and the conspiracy theories run amok, with everyones fingers in the pot, Saudi, the U.S, Israel etc.., I am sure that things are just not what they seem.

  7. franyafranya
    May 25, 2011 at 4:30 am

    “Does being for Democracy mean supporting whatever decision the majority takes, even if it means the destruction of said democracy? Or does it mean supporting and ensuring the survival of the democratic process, even if it’s against the will of the majority? ”

    In your example, other than spending copious amounts of money on campaign advertising, the only way to stop an (apparently) already convinced majority from electing the Islamic party (that planned to do away with democracy) would have involved subverting the democratic process in some way. This would not be possible alongside “ensuring the survival of the democratic process”, would it? There is not really a conundrum as much as a bleak truth.
    The real lesson is that one has to get the support of the majority, and that requires effective campaigning, money, and above all, a good understanding of the majority itself.

    I agree with Tigger on the need for post-Tahrir Sq political organization. You have all kinds of resources and expertise at your fingertips – the challenge is to gather it up and put it into action! Whether that requires money, instututional backing, or whatever – the elections must go forward and they MUST turn out well for democracy.

    And on that theme, when you speak about neighborhood patrols, you reminded me of what little I gleaned about how the Cuban people organized themselves from the ground up in the early years after their revolution. Couldn’t hurt to read up on that for ideas. In 1959 Cubans faced the same basic problems you and your countrymen face right now. They are some of the most resourceful, talented, and hardworking people on the planet.

    I’ll be supporting all your efforts for the duration, in any case!

    • Tigger
      May 25, 2011 at 10:00 am

      Quite. It may not be ideal, but I fail to see how any sort of democracy will emerge if those most interested in freedom of speech, association, ideas etc refuse to join in the dialogue and instead fetishise action on the streets as if that will, in itself, bring about the right result. Clearly, that alone has not been enough.

      Forming a political party may well be impossible, but some sort of loose association of candidates and activists is not impossible, surely?

      People should be building up networks of press & media contacts, sponsors etc, gaining whatever access (and finance!) they can to gain positive publicity for their ideas, etc to overcome the enormous negative publicity now been thrown at them.

      You should be working together towards establishing the sort of society where it’s possible to have a meaningful debate about the finer points. It’s really depressing watching “how many angels on a pinhead” type arguments between different groups – eg about whether Mohamed El Baradei has been a traitor for being out of the country for so long, doing an important job elsewhere.

      I have no idea whether Mohamed El Baradei or any other candidate would make a good president or not, but do you really want to end up in a position where the only options are the SCAF/Amr Musa vs The Muslim Brotherhood? They seem to be the only organised, efficient groups at the moment.

      More protests where a dwindling number of people get their heads bashed in by SCAF forces, get arrested, tortured and vilified etc cannot be the sole strategy for people who want to promote a free society. You are sitting ducks for the SCAF to promote whatever lies they want to about you to the general population.

      I’m also afraid, despite it seeming unacceptably pragmatic to those who believe “the revolution” can only emerge from mass action on the streets and in the factories, that the various strikes are a gift to the SCAF as well. All the time that people are striking before any sort of rational framework has been put in place, it allows the SCAF to go on & on about economic doom, national emergency etc etc.

      Seems to me you need to get a clear view of your priorities sorted out in your minds and not put the cart before the horse.

      One thing I am certain of, a better society will not emerge miraculously from nowhere, especially when there are such vast forces ranged against you: the SCAF, the army, the remnants of the old regime, conservative Islam, badly educated & poor masses with far more pressing concerns, the ambiguous attitude of the US (who fund the army), and so-on.

      This is not “playing politics” it *is* politics. It’s your choice whether to be an effective political force – or not.

      You do not have the ability to dictate when/if the constitution will be revised again, when the election will be etc etc. You *do* have a choice about whether you will be in any position to take advantage of any such developments.

      You have to deal pragmatically and realistically with the real world you find yourself in *now*, not the ideal world you or others would rather be in.

      What is the best, most efficient, most practical way of achieving anything now?

      (BTW, maybe only 32% of Germans did vote for Hitler. That’s pretty much enough to get a majority government here in the UK! You know exactly what point I was making vis-a-vis the questions asked in the article.)

      Good luck with the 27th though. 🙂

      • Ramadan Gaana
        May 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm

        Amidst the dozens of new parties or would be parties, floating in the chaos of initiative and angst with purpose but without direction or consolidated coordination, how can this country of ours take steps forward?
        It keeps looking like mass protests are the only cattle-prod we have (yes, I suppose I’m calling the SCAF bulls) against those who are trying to control and appease us.
        I don’t know my shit, but I read, I watch; I try. A lot are the same, we try to do what we can to understand wtf is going on, but with so little transparency, and such conflicting messages, its damn near impossible.
        And so, while flipping from video to blog and back, I can’t seem to find any other real alternatives that make sense.
        So, following a much wiser monkey, I’ll head to Tahrir, but probably not for the last time.

  8. pink sophia
    May 25, 2011 at 5:13 am

    I agree fully with your analysis, the problem is that we are trying to create the basic rights of a civil society in a vacuum , there are many more steps that need to be taken to create the irrevocable foundation to move to a democracy.

  9. Foreign Influence
    May 25, 2011 at 5:39 am

    How is it that a transitional government, in the space of a few short months, has the sole power, without putting it to a public vote, to accept billions of dollars in foreign loans that will indebt the entire Egyptian nation for generations to come?

  10. wm2143
    May 25, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Why is it so hard for you to understand that some ppl are just apolitical?
    FYI silent majority does not in ne way mean that these ppl r doing nothing. It just means that they are not talking about wt they’re doing.
    U kno the prob with the #deepnshit ppl is that they continue to distract themselves with wt other ppl are or are not doing and measure themselves accordingly. If half of the #deepnshit ppl just focused on their causes they’d achieve much more than they r doing today!
    Oh n by the way ‘patience is a virtue and silence is golden’.
    Good Luck on the 27th

  11. Monia Madkour
    May 25, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Thank you for a very inspiring,conviencing and incouraging artical. But the dielema I’m in is because more than 10 versions of demands are being circulated, some of them reach 20 demands, and I am not convienced by any of them, Can u pls send me the original ones? Baring in mind that I am one of the silent majority and would really like to become part of the minority but I need to feel that I am fighting for clear and ratinal demands.

  12. Mohyi
    May 25, 2011 at 6:35 am

    This article needs to be translated to araboc and spreas.

  13. Alex
    May 25, 2011 at 7:28 am

    You must translate this in arabic!! It is close to useless if kept in a language that is foreign to the majority of voters. Please translate. 🙂

  14. 2face
    May 25, 2011 at 7:30 am

    The conundrum is that a democratic constitution is not created democratically. It is imposed. The reason for this is that the constitution needs to protect the minority against the majority. You don’t sit down and discuss whether the majority should have the right to kill the minority and then have a vote about. NO you already know in your heart that the main purpose of a democracy is first and foremost to protect the minority against the majority. This is not up for discussion and you should use every means possible including violence to ensure this. This is the contradiction. And if you don’t get this, you can forget it.

    But people in the entire ME are so ignorant of philosophy and history that it is impossible to discuss these things. The only “philosophy” they read is the Koran over and over again. These people don’t even know that a democracy should protect it’s minority. It’s incredible. It’s sad really that such a big area of the world is populated with such a huge percentage of uneducated dolts.

    The real challenge is the level of ignorance present in Egypt. It’s a huge mountain to climb. That’s for sure.

  15. Omar Kareem
    May 25, 2011 at 8:25 am

    This article is brilliant. I don’t always agree with you, but this time I just can not agree with you more. I wish everyone (and by that I mean all Egyptians as well as any one who has any interest in Egypt) could read this article because this is what the revolution was and is all about.

  16. Manal Abaza
    May 25, 2011 at 9:00 am

    THANK YOU. Well written, well thought of, well structured and organized,
    Thank You….
    I think this should be spread to all…
    I want to confirm Omar Kamel’s as well, which I liked very much, and also ask u to find those more days for Tahrir inside you 🙂
    The Goal has not been achieved yet and we go on till we do….
    Thank u once more, I will try to circulate as much as possible, pls do so too.

  17. Hind ElHinnawy
    May 25, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I still did not see why go to tahrir, why protest, is there no other way??? Mahmoud, although I am very much pro-revolution, this time, I don’t agree with protesting May 27

    • utta72
      May 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      You are absolutely right!!! Send your “pro-revolution” demands to Tantawi by e-mail. I am sure he will be happy to comply.

    • A German from Berlin
      May 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm

      If you build a house, is half a roof enough?

  18. May Taher
    May 25, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Hey Mood,

    Your articles always give me that extra push and sheds light on a lot of things I (and I think a lot of other people) wouldnt necessarily bother ourselves enough to get up and research.
    What I like about your posts is that they talk FACTS and easy enough to understand. My only problem… how many are actually reading it? You love to talk figures and you addressed the public majority above. You wnt them to share the same sentiment and get their butts over to Tahrir but I dont think people are doing to be rushing to read a long article no matter how AWESOME it is… hey its egypt …remember?

    Saw this one guy before the referandum voting who created his own video. He just talked to the camera, straight to the point and used layman terms… got a lot of people to change their minds.

    Where is you camera. TV beats books. (This is def not my personal point of view and i still want people to buy my book)

  19. Heba Abdella
    May 25, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Why don’t we ask ourselves the same questions you’ve posed to SCAF and government: Why have we not yet presented any real proposals or plans for the economy, transitional period, constitution, for security? There are excuses we can make, similar to the rantings of the SCAF, but they are just excuses. Why have we not established any real unified idea of what is a good way forward for Egypt? What happens to the future of Egypt is a result of everyone’s actions/inactions, citizens and government, it is not merely a failure of the government to respond to the rightful demands of its citizens. It’s also how we deal with that and manage that, and how do we want to manage our futures. i do not feel at this point we are taking that into enough consideration.

    • Wasif Amaniyy
      May 25, 2011 at 9:45 am

      I agree.
      Any initiative presented and supported by a recognizable group is better than no initiative at all. National unity is preferred but not always possible. So do without it and do not waste time trying to reconciliate all factions: stand for your own group and visibly take initatives! Keep developing and presenting your ideas and plans. These should be at simple as possible, executable and give at least some practical, every day advantage to the majority of the people.

  20. Wasif Amaniyy
    May 25, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Your analysis is sound and honourable. So is your disappointment.
    But consider that stimulating a people that for tens of years has been tought not to move, takes lots of time. The people will only start moving when they realize that the advantages are greater than the risks. Advantages in everyday life, that is: work, bread etc.
    The only thing to do is execute a powerful election campaign. Do it the same way as the first part of your revolution was planned and executed: mobillize the people by showing them the possibilities and advantages of change and democratic movement. These will emerge in the long run. So you need to plan a communication and mobilisation scheme for that same long run.
    And if government and police are not doing anything, replace that by as much people innitiative as possible, even communicating broadly small initiatives and successes. Make the movement more visible in Egypt to start with, but also abroad. In that sense the Benghazi transitional board can be an example.
    God bless.

  21. Noussa
    May 25, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I support May 27 protest (although I am living abroad) because I believe it is the safe way for our Egypt to not end like Turkey or Algeria: a superficial ‘democracy’ ruled by the army.

    Jan25 was a successful revolution also because at the end SCAF respected the people’s choice more than the old regime. And the new Egypt will be possible only if SCAF remembers that they are not here to replace the Mubarak regime by a new Mubarak-like regime, but because actually its the people who let them be at the top of the country for a limited period of time, until the free elections.

    Anyway I see it very positively that the Egyptian people are going to make clear to the SCAF they cannot steal from us our democracy. We paid the high price for it, and we’re not gonna let it become a military dictatorship.

    PS: for the Alegrian case with the Islamic Salvation Front, of course replaying History is always easy, but the only real solution would have been not not wait until the results of the elections: the constitution itself should provide the guarantee that any political party that does not accept the democratic game should not be able to participate to elections.

  22. tarek abdel rahman
    May 25, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I can give you more statistics to prove that the economy will not go bust and I believe that the security issue is caused by the Police refusing to do their job. If the SCAF read the experiences of other countries they will have many solutions of how to bring the polce back to work similar to post apartheid South Africa, Indonesia, Eastern Europe…etc My biggest fear is that the majority of Egyptians according to poll after poll support the SCAF and think they are crucial for the stability of the country, if the demonstrations become against the SCAF then I fear people will side with the SCAF and it will strengthen their hand to not give up power or become more authoritarian. I am also afraid that people will stay beyond the curfew and then violence will be used by the SCAF which could lead to further deaths.

  23. Faisal
    May 25, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Can you imagine what one months of saving on those bastards their undeserved salaries can do for our healthcare system (even if for one months only) or education or farmers or even investment?!

    The reason protest is required is simple: it does not appear that any active steps have been taken to remedy any of our long-standing problems. This does not mean an instant solution is expected but, no active steps have been taken. In fact, in terms of rights and the economy, just like Mahmoud mentioned, things seem to be regressing.

  24. J.
    May 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    There has to be other ways to bring about change than go to the streets. We went almost every day to Tahrir in those 18 days, but now after 4 months, do we still have to do that? Haven’t we achieved any healthy ways to breaking through to the system?

  25. Ranya
    May 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Thank u very much for your effort. Is there a way to have it translated in simple Arabic. I think more people need to read it and most of them don’t know English.

  26. Assour
    May 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    هذه ترجمة آخر فقرة مع الشكر للمدونة الجميلة.
    سوف اذهب الى الميدان هذه الجمعة القادمة لمرة واحدة أخيرة ، و سوف اذهب لأنني أؤمن أن مطالبي شرعية و عادلة . مطالبك انت كذلك ليست اقل شرعية او عدلا، و تستحق ان تراها حقيقة على ارض الواقع . و بالتالي، اذا كنت من ضمن من ذهب الى التحرير خلال الثمانية عشر يوما التي استغرقتها الثورة ، و لكنك توقفت بعد ذلك ،فالآن هو وقت معاودة الذهاب مرة أخرى و الإعلان عن مطالبك .و ان كنت لم تذهب ابدا الى التحرير من قبل و لكنك جزءا من الأغلبية الصامتة الذين لا يريدون سوى الامن و الاستقرار و الازدهار الاقتصادي ، فيجب عليك – أكثر من غيرك – الذهاب للتحرير هذه الجمعة و رفع صوتك و مطالبك و لو لمرة واحدة و التخلي عن صمتك برغم كل شئ. اذهب، اذهب هذه المرة فقط ، و اقنع كل اصدقائك المتفقين معك فكريا بالذهاب ،و فلنر لو لم يحقق لك ذلك مطالبك على وجه السرعة . لقد تم اعتبار صبرك امرا مسلما به و صادفت دعواتك و التماساتك آذانا صماء من كلا الجانبين . لقد آن لك ان تتخذ موقفا .
    اراك هناك !

  27. Peace_Forger
    May 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    If Democracy is successfully installed and the population realizes a major positive change that the Masses are Enjoying.. why would you believe that more people would prefer to revert back to the Old System?

  28. Najwa
    May 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I hope a lot of pepole go back to the streets, things don’t change radically at once, the french revolution took a loooong long time, not trying to scare you but change needs continious work, I hope yoo (Egyptians) continue, foe your own sake..and for us in Syria, and for brave Jemenis and Tunisians and many many others..All the love to Egypt um el dunia! Keep going!

    • Sarah
      May 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      Any reference to French revolution is wrong. It lasted for more than 10 yrs of violence and ended up with a dictatorship!

  29. Sarah
    May 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    In any political game, u r either to big to set the rules of the game or too small u have to play along.

    The street card is way too burnt to be used. I believe that it is just a cat/ mice chase & the longer it takes the longer people, the general public, the middle class who supported this “revolution” are fed up. Because it is their stability at stake, not that they won’t be able to eat but their businesses already suffer, their jobs at stake, they are to sacrifice a huge amount of status for uncertain gain in the future.

    Since the referendum, the game changed. The legitimacy of the streets were over. The media (both traditional & social media) was proven unrepresentative for what the majority thinks.

    The referendum proved that whatever happened in Tahrir was similar to what happened in the philippines but with a little difference, their wasn’t an Aquino to assume power when it was possible. Hence the change in the rules of the game.

    And the more some of the revolutionaries insist on going against the majority decision in that referendum instead of playing according to the new rules the more they will be alienated.

    Next Friday has one of two options, maybe three but the third is way far fetched.

    1st, it will be just another Friday, like last Friday, or at best attendance wise it will be like the Friday of trial.

    2nd, it will be another Friday but will end up ugly, with unknown people attacking other unknown people & we get to enjoy another Maspiro like on-air little war.

    3rd, which I think is a bit far fetched will include lots of violence in the streets among people, because neither army nor the police will get involved in this demo until it gets messy & we get into an uglier turn form what we are already in now.

    So, May27, in my humble opinion is a stupid move because even online where people are by default revolutionaries polls are showing huge disapproval of it.

    So it is political suicide for the jan25 people, unless off course there is something they haven’t played yet. Even though any cards to be played now will get the country into a loop of violence.

    • Amina Abu ghazaleh
      May 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      I have been thinking along your lines for a while,but not with such brilliant details.would seriously consider going to tahrir if I can make a difference.

  30. Hala
    May 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Well thought of and said

  31. Peace_Forger
    May 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Think POSITIVE..

  32. Sherif
    May 25, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    What you said is pretty good to an extent. I especially agree with what the government could potentially do but doesn’t. But I’ve a few things to note.

    First, I’m in Law School, and I’m taking the subject of Civil Law this very year at Cairo University. I’ve talked on this with so many of my esteemed professors, and what that ‘International Law Expert’ said was total bullshit.

    What happened with Suzanne Mubarak was entirely legal. In fact, if the judiciary hadn’t let her go, THEY would’ve been breaking the law and committing an injustice. What happened was a natural routine in ALL the nations of the world. The law concerning what happened very clearly states that an investigation must be called off when the individual chooses to hand over the property/finances that are under investigation to the state. So not only were the authorities obliged to let her go, BUT, also, even if Suzanne handed over the 20-million something she was being investigated for, she could still be called again for investigation on ANYTHING else; like newly found Swiss or Dubai bank accounts for example. Seriously, what he said was ridiculous!

    Second, that philosophical conundrum is bewildering. It’s very difficult. But consider this, how is Algeria better off now? They still don’t have a democracy. They still have an authoritarian regime. Also, how do you decide which way things are going? How do you decide when to cancel an election and crackdown on that authoritarianist opposition, whether it’s the ISF or Hitler in the 1930’s. How can you be sure the alternative to them assuming power will be better or will not ultimately lead to the same end result? That’s a lot of authority and power to put into your hands. Where do you cross the line of protecting democracy and venture into just another form of dictatorship. I understand that someone who’s watched the 1991 Algerian elections, and is to watch our elections later this year, might feel this is all deja vu (ie: when you consider ISF vis-a-vis MB for example). But in that case, it’ll be our fault, as Ali ibn Abu Taleb said: “لا يُسأل الجهلاء لِمَ لم يتعلموا، حتى يُسأل العلماء لِمَ لم يعلِّموا” …

    Democracy, politics and governance constitute an experiment. If the Algerian elections had proceeded and ISF took power, people might have seen it for what it is; authoritarianism hiding under the veil of religion. Algerians might have risen against it by mid-1990s for instance, and the army would’ve supported them, and this time they would’ve created a truly democratic Algeria. That possibility sounds better than the reality of Algeria now. The world may not have rid itself of Western colonization and Germany may not have been the democracy and the economic and political superpower it is today if it wasn’t for Hitler and the Second World War. Mind you, not that I support Hitler or fancy WWII, quite the contrary. It’s just that everything happens for a reason (or so I believe).

    It’s okay to lose a few battles, in order to win the war in the end. If you manage to get people to empathize and agree and join this protest, that’s fine and dandy. If the majority of people don’t join and don’t like you (even if for the wrong reasons), then the army cracks down on us, and still people don’t sympathize with us, then we might go down the gutter, and so potentially will the possibility of a truly democratic future Egypt. (and I really really really hope I’m wrong!)

  33. A German from Berlin
    May 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    1. The street card
    The street cart can’t be burnt or used. It is the way and the only way. If you are silent nothing will move. All the progress so far is only because of the protests. These protests are bothering those in control, because they keep on pushing them further,
    2. The economy
    I haven’t heard that a demand of the protesters is to drag the economy down. In fact you want to economy to gain strength and exceed any level that was even possible before, when only a minority of the country profited, by keeping the others down.
    Everybody who claims the protesting is harming the economy really just wants you off their backs, so the can push the country into the direction they desire.
    Protest for simple rules to conduct business and for free competition on the markets. Protest for a clear path to a new government, so business knows what to expect and can adjust. Why is there no information of where the country is heading? Does the SCAF have other plans than paving the way for a free country? What are they doing all day anyway? Taking care of their hair?
    3. Democracy
    Democracy simply means that the power is from the people. What they do with it and to which degree they use the power for the protection of human rights is another subject. However a democracy is more likely to protect human rights, than any other form of government, because any other form has the interest to protect its power from being taken away by the people. And that’s when human rights get sacrificed.
    4. The Future
    Half a revolution is no revolution. What’s the point of stopping it now. Is it finished? Have you reached a society where everybody has the chance to follow his dreams? I doubt that. So there is no point of stopping to push for the changes that your country needs desperatly. Do you really believe the current leadership is in a rush to change things quickly?
    Some of you seem to think you had enough cookies already and you should keep your fingers out of the box for a while. You shouldn’t, because you might never get all those cookies back they have taken out of your share before, even if you eat the whole box now and the next 10 coming your way.
    So continue protesting. Protest until you are satisfied. And when you were already satisfied and something goes wrong, go again and protest. Get into their nerves until they do what you want. If you would have stopped protesting right after Mubarak stepped down, you wouldn’t have accomplished half of what you accomplished now.
    What is enough is enough! No more cuts of funds for Berlin schools!
    Protesting is such an elementary right, you should never give up on it. Of course they don’t like it. If they did, protesting would be useless.
    At the moment it is you and the SCAF and this is the only way to get them to move.

    • An Austrian
      May 26, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      ad 1) Instead of protesting day in day out they should come to grips how their future should look alike. Where are the integrative leaders, where are the parties and party platforms? Where are the Havels, Walesas and Bohleys?

      ad 2) C’mon this is childish, ongoing protests and riots against Christians make people feel insecure. If tourists feel insecure they stay away from a country. If investors feel insecure they stay away from a country. You, as a German should know this or have to point to Hoyerswerda and Rostock? But Hernando de Soto in his study from 2005 showed very clear what went wrong with the Egyptian economy. The protesters should take his study as a basic for reforms in the economy as well as in the judiciary.

      ad 3) Democracy has changed it’s meaning from ancient Greece until now and which kind of democracy do the protesters want? A representative democracy, a grassroots democracy or a direct democracy? The understanding of democracy today includes also the constitutional prevention of extremists in the parliament/government from all sides of the political spectrum and from religious extremism. Beside personal rights, Human rights are a matter of negotiation and are relative. To strengthen civil rights (!) in the constitution is a good starter.

      ad 4) Has there been a revolution at all? What did the revolutionaries gain? Before the so called revolution Egypt was governed by a military junta with Mubarak on top as president. Now Egypt has an even worse military dictatorship without Mubarak but an alliance with the MB, an economic downturn, religious riots and some casualities. Let me be clear: before you start a revolution you should have a political/economical/juridical/social concept for the furture. But what did the Egyptian revolutionaries have? Talking points for slogans, very well or better: brilliant communicated talking points, but still only talking points. Continuing with protests will only worsen the problem and at last you’ll end up empty-handed. This is not the time for revange it is the time to work hard for the furture.

      • A German from Berlin
        May 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm

        2) I have no idea what you are talking about. I am talking about the protest movement in Egypt, that succeeded to remove a dictator from power und who is now trying to establish a free democratic society. Why would you compare that to rioting and compare the with some Nazi shit from Germany.
        4) How could develop political/economical/juridical/social concepts in a country where you get beaten up if you discuss these issues?

  34. new
    May 25, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Excellent post! Take a look at the first 19 articles of the german constitution – they enshrine the basic rights you outlined and they are not allowed to be changed even by approval by referendum or by the entire parliment

  35. Joe
    May 26, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Sandmonkey please can you get a facebook account so that when you post here we can spread it though Facebook to our contacts. You just have Tweets. Facebook will reach more people. : )

  36. nibal nader
    May 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    May be I wasn’t approving all the revolution steps but definetly I ll be going tahrir tomorrow bec simply I luv my country and I’m concerned with stability and my rights.wht done was done-even if it created chaos but now we all ve to be one hand to pass the bottle neck and get all our acheivments .well said sand monkey its a must read

  37. R.
    May 26, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I have only one question, because my point is not to discuss what has been said before.
    But there is something I dont understand.
    If you really want to get the bast majority into Tahrir tomorrow… and you want to get to the ones that dont have formed ideas nor access to the information why do you keep writing in english? Write your rationals in arabic, for the people, print them out and distribute in the neighborhoods and rural areas, educate the people first had. Im sure you will fundraise easy to cover expenses…
    Then real democracy will follow.

  38. perry1949
    May 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    An excellent post. And I agree with A German From Berlin, never give up until all your demands are met. If your people allow SCAF to continue unabated you will only wind up with a Military dictatorship. Keep pressure on them, let them know you are watching everything they do.
    Form your own political parties, get together with your friends, get them to involve their friends and their friends friends. If they don’t quite agree with what you stand for, get them to form their own parties, let the people decide what they want. The different parties can hold peaceful debates, show the people what your party stands for, let the other parties show their stance. The people can decide what they think is right at the polls.
    Right now, you are trying to get people involved that have not been allowed to be involved. They are having a hard time adjusting. Now that the old regime is gone they are falling back into apathy. They are waiting to be shown what to do. It will be an uphill battle to get the people informed and out to think for themselves. For too many years they have not been allowed to think. That is what must change.

    Best of luck to you and the people. May you get the best. You deserve the best, don’t let anyone take away what you have attained.

    • R.
      May 26, 2011 at 8:04 pm

      I take my comment back, I see it posted in Arabic too. Bravo!!
      Thank you!

  39. Nevine
    May 26, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I have been working in NGOs for over 30 years because I feel doing anything for Egypt or it’s people is better than just complaining that things aren’t right. I may have worked on social, humanitarian , or even economic levels. But now the political impact of the will of the people opens a door we never thought possible. I will keep trying. So my question to you who seem so impassioned…..why is this your declared last time in Tahrir???? It’s not over till we’re over!

  40. Happy
    May 29, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Dear Sandmonkey,

    I really do enjoy reading everything you write, so please don’t get me wrong when I criticize you. And on a positive note Friday seemed to be really successful. Who chose the government? Sharaf represents the revolution right? He was heralded as a minister who stood-up to the old regime right? So why isn’t he facing-off with SCAF? BTW I really respect the guy and I understand his difficult position.



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