There is a general feel of malaise and melancholy affecting jan25 protesters, for they feel as if they have accomplished nothing: that the SCAF has halted the revolution and ended it, and it was all for naught. Now this kind of talk infuriates me, not because of its self-pitying whiney nature from otherwise strong people, but because it’s categorically not true. Let me count the ways:
- I’ve been in this since 2005, from the Blogosphere old guard, and for 6 years me, alongside of the others I’ve worked with, were simply trying to get the people to get one idea into their heads: If we all, as people, get together in big numbers, and go to a public square protesting, we will bring down the President. That he is not the inevitable, immovable, god-like figure we made him up to be. And we accomplished that, pressuring Mubarak enough to bring him down. This is the first time in 7000 years of continuous tyrannical rule that Egyptians managed to depose their ruler by their own hands. That’s a change in a 7000 year behavioral pattern of eat. Think about that.
- Historically, Egyptians have always succumbed to the violent actions of whatever internal security force that runs Egypt, foreign or domestic. Up until the revolution, people were discounting the nation that Egyptians, even if they are out in numbers, would ever win a face-off with the police, always citing the 77 riots, and how 2 million Egyptians went to the streets and were beaten up by the police despite their size. Jan25 has also reversed that trend forever, by beating up the police every single time they have faced them, to the point that in order for the police forces to get into and take back Tahrir, they have to be there in the protection of the army forces. The memory of 77 is replaced and erased forever; for now we pity the police more than anything. This, historically also, has never happened in 7000 years.
- Being under tyrannical rule for this long, Egyptians also grew apathetic to whatever it is that the government does, and got used to not being part of the decision-making process. Now, they are embedded with the idea of democracy, voting, and having their voice count. I don’t think any of you realize how many people will head to the polls this election, with some estimates pointing towards up to 80% voter turnout. This is unprecedented, and unlikely to go away. The days of voter apathy are over. We did that.
- Also, in the history of this great nation, never was there an incident where Egyptians held their rulers accountable. Now, we have not only removed the president, we have also put him on trial. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Kangaroo court; the historical precedent is there, not just on a local, but on a regional level. This has NEVER happened. We are now the people that removed their president and put him behind bars on trial. Think about what that means before you discount it. We not only created history, we have changed the narrative of this country forever.
Some will respond that this is well and good, but we haven’t accomplished our goals, to which I respond that this is normal, because, let’s face it, we were not ready. What happened is of such magnitude that we chose not to truly believe it, to the point that we are willing to revert to the notion that this is of no significance, and that we accomplished nothing. And not only were we not ready, we also made mistakes, specifically because we weren’t prepared at all to take on the military institution that secretly runs this country. But this might not even be our fight. We have brought the country thus far, and are still pushing, but the real game is 3-5 years down the line, when the newer generations emerge. Three days ago I went to the meeting of Students for Change, which is a group of 16 year olds amongst various school that wish to reform the educational system, and organizing their fellow students all over Egypt, and have a plan to do so. Those are 16 year olds who learned from us, are organizing themselves, and will soon enough become a force to be reckoned with. Can you imagine what they will do when they turn 21?
There are generations to come that will carry this out & will never repeat our mistakes. This revolution is only the start, and it won’t end until the equation is balanced, even if we lost steam for now. And we should also know that we will get there, but we just won’t do that at our time table. We were overly ambitious, hoping to change 30 years of corruption and institutional disintegration in a few months. It doesn’t work like that, but we managed to get the country to take the big leap forward in the right direction. We are simply not all there yet. And we are not aided by the state the country is in after 30 years of Mubarak’s rule, for he left the country’s foundations in such a horrible condition that brought it to the fragile shape that it is in right now. Those who accuse you that you did this to the country are either morons or liars, claiming that you broke something that was already broken, and completely ignoring that what you aim to do, more than anything, is to fix it. And we will get there, because really, what other choice do we have?
And if you believe we will never be able to bring down the military rule of Egypt and turn it into a real civil state, well, 6 years ago, we, a tiny minority started chanting “Down with Mubarak”, which no one dared to do before, while the rest of the country looked at us as aliens; 6 years later we as people pressured him down. Now, we are breaking the taboo of chanting against the SCAF and military rule, which was even a bigger taboo than chanting against Mubarak. Do you see where this is going? We have started deconstructing the military state, and sooner or later we will get them to back off, and maybe, just maybe, remind them that they work for us, and not the other way around. This day will eventually come, because the process has started, and all we need is time, and time is on our side.
Please understand, this is not an invitation to stop, or not go to Tahrir on 9/9. This is your country, and protesting is your blood-earned right, so don’t let anyone dissuade you from exercising it if you believe that it’s necessary. This is an invitation to give yourselves some credit. Our generation, for better or worse, forever changed the history of this country. Be proud of that.