Saturday, 25 August 2012

August 24th - The anti-ikhwan 'revolution'

I want to support and partake in opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed Morsi. They don't share my vision for Egypt, and they have colluded with the military (and possibly the US) to derail the revolution.

When I went to the anti ikhwan protest (or 'revolution as some had dubbed it) in Medinet Nasr yesterday, I went with an open mind. Yes, the protest had been called for by the likes of Tawfik Okasha, but this seemed to be different. It wasn't a protest in support SCAF or the old regime, as other protests in Medinet Nasr had been, this was specifically to voice anger towards the ikhwan.

In a democratic country, vocal opposition and constant pressure is vital. To hell with just sitting idly by and waiting and 'lazem nedelhom forsa' and all that nonsense. I disagree with those that say that now is not the time for demonstrating, that we should give them time.

When I got to the protest there were familiar sights - Egyptians from all ages, from both sexes and religions, just normal people, with home made signs. It looked, at first, a lot like many of the protests I've attended over the last year and a half.

But there were differences, and the longer I stayed there the more pronounced they became.

More than half of the assembled protesters spent their time quietly sitting in the shade away from the action rather than coming out and chanting or actively taking part. All the chants were recycled from revolutionary chants with certain words replaced. I heard not a single new chant. I saw none of the humour that defined our revolution. I saw none of the passion (although some individuals were getting hysterical, calling for Okasha to get back on TV, or ranting about 9/11 conspiracy theories).

I began to wonder why.

In my opinion, the primary difference is that this was a protest borne out of fear. These are the people who have been whipped up into a terrified frenzy over the ikhwan, and their entire raison d'etre seemed to be anti-ikhwan. Devoid of vision, this is just anti-something, it's not pro- a better alternative. This is not the basis for a political movement.

When we took to the streets from Jan25 (and before and after) we were dreaming. We had lofty ideals of freedom, social justice, genuine democracy, human dignity. We were willing to die for these ideals, and many did. During the battle of the camel on Feb 2nd that was what got us through, that was what made us survive and win this 24 hour battle.

If our only reason for starting the revolution was cos we hated mubarak, we probably would have lost hope and fled.

People were holding up posters of Tantawi and Omar Sulleiman. Badges on sale there were of Tantawi, Shafiq, Suleiman, Okasha and even Mubarak himself. These are not people that were full of hope for a new Egypt, these were not people that were trying to bring about a better country for everyone, these are people who are scared, and in their fear they want their strong dictator figures to protect them from the ikhwan, irrespective of the crimes of those figures. These are not people who have realised their own power, and instead feel weak and afraid and want someone else to take care of them.

I'm all for opposing the ikhwan, and opposing Morsi. But I want to strive for something better. This protest yesterday had fear as it's primary driving force. It lacked ideals, it lacked vision, and it lacked hope.

And this is why half the group were just sitting in the shade.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Egypt slum crippled by water crisis

The 'informal settlement' (read: slum) of Safat el Laban is home to around 400,000 residents. Normally, they get around 2 hours of water a day. Recently, during the oppressive Egyptian summer, this has been reduced to zero.

This is a report of the sit-in held at the Giza governate HQ in protest at the water cuts.

And this is footage from within Safat el Laban, where families are seriously affected by the lack of water: