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Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm back and I'm not voting tomorrow!

   It's been a while since I posted anything new. Part of the reason was too much work but the other part as simply depression and lack of hope. I had reached a point of pessimism that was so low because I was beginning to thing we cannot get rid of SCAF no matter what we did.

  But then something amazing happened; protesters united in Tahrir Square once more on Nov. 19th to give SCAF a clear message that their rule is no longer welcome. The protests are still ongoing and with every day brave Egyptian men and women line up in the streets of Cairo and other cities, new victims are murdered by a brutal regime that has been quite generous in its use of dangerous tear gas, live bullets and other creative weapons to destroy their own people!

  Yet, SCAF's brutality is only strengthening the Tahrir spirit. Professor Firas al-Atraqchi describes what is happening in Egypt as "amazing" and I fully agree! But amid this miraculous revival of of the Tahrir spirit, Egyptians are facing a new challenge; a challenge that is creating divisions, disagreements and animosities. Monday, Nov. 28th, Egyptians will launch their first democratic parliamentary elections since former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011. While many are looking forward to their first real taste of democracy, others have decided to abandon the ballots as long as SCAF still rules.

    I have to say I have been debating this dilemma for days now. I was one of the many Egyptians abroad who were fighting to be heard and pressuring the government to authorize Egyptians abroad to vote. When I finally won my right, I had to face this new challenge. Given that I am a strong opposer of SCAF rule, I have come to my decision; I have decided that I will NOT be participating in the current elections and here's why:

  • I find it very contradicting to tell SCAF that I don't accept their military rule, yet I accept & participate in the elections they initiated and insist on carrying out, despite the protests that have spread across the country.

  • I have seen nothing positive or democratic under the SCAF rule. In fact, I can clearly say that SCAF generals have outdone Mubarak with their brutality. They have beaten, abused, shot & unfairly put innocent Egyptians on military trial; they have humiliated women by forcing them to take virginity tests; they have failed to punish officials of the old regime starting with Mubarak, among many many other failures and examples of dictatorship. So Why would I possibly believe that their elections will be fair and democratic if there are no other signs to confirm this democratic change?

  • The Alliance of the Revolutionaries of Egypt unified the people's demands and succeeded in creating a temporary civil government that can definitely set the country on the right democratic path. Even though they announced these demands in a memorandum, which SCAF has surely seen, the military council went against the people's wishes and instead, has chosen a former Mubarak minister to take over the government following Essam Sharaf's brief unproductive term. Kamal el-Ganzouri has regained his mid-1990s post as Prime Minister. I don't see SCAF or Ganzouri as Egypt's current leaders and agree with the temporary council created by the ARE, led by the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed El Baradei. So how can I give my vote under a government I don't view as legal? 

  • There are multiple other reasons, like the fact that this parliament will practically have no power under SCAF, so why bother? Military leaders are good for military decisions but, as we've seen and experienced in Egypt, they are failures when it comes to politics. Their failure lies in their dictatorship style and inability to encompass other voices. I see no change with my vote, because we are merely voting for a puppet parliament that will do as SCAF pleases and not what the people demand or need.

  • I'm also convinced that SCAF is here to stay, despite multiple confirmations from Field Marshall Tantawi that he has no desire to rule Egypt and intends to leave with the presidential elections scheduled for June 2012. Tantawi might indeed leave, but that does not mean SCAF will too. There are many in Egypt who believe that Tantawi will likely be replaced by America's favorite Egyptian General, Sami Anan. So again, with my vote, I confirm that I respect & agree with SCAF as an entity. I would be agreeing to Anan's rule, which I clearly don't.
    I have many friends and relatives who have voted (Egyptians abroad) or who intend to vote and I respect their decision. My intention is not to impose my will on others, but to clarify to fellow Egyptian brothers and sisters, who might be as confused as I have been over the past few days, why NOT VOTING does not mean we are abandoning our country. 

   If anything, I believe by refusing to vote, I am confirming my love and respect for Egypt and my genuine desire to be able to live in a military-free Egypt with true democracy & not merely a claim of democratic rule given by brutal military leaders who have shown no compassion for the people of their country and who have been against January 25 all along.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's time to take a stand

Let me start by making a generalization; one that I am most certain is accurate: I think it's fair to claim that if you are an Egyptian girl or woman, then at least once in your life you were a victim of sexual harassment.

If you haven't, then you are one lucky girl & I envy you!!! But even so, you surely have witnessed it in the street? Or maybe heard from a friend or female relative of her experience with sexual harassment?

The bottom line is, for Egyptian women, sexual harassment is a part of normal life in Egypt. Just like we put up with dirty habits such as men spitting or urinating in public or people littering the streets, we grow accustomed to and actually expect to be harassed every now and then.

I have lived in Egypt until 2000, and, like most women, I have experienced sexual harassment firsthand. Everything from annoying comments, to dirty stares and the occasional "accidental" brushing from a guy. Actions that would leave me feeling humiliated and dirty and in desperate need of a shower to eradicate any traces or memory of these incidents.

But what really frustrates me now, as a grown woman, is my passive reaction every time I was a victim of harassment! The most I would do is glare at the perpetrator. When I think of these incidents, I get really angry, mostly at myself for being so weak and passive.

So, today I want to change my passiveness into action. I want to join hands with the millions of Egyptian girls and women across Egypt to end this humiliation once and for all. To do so, I want to direct messages to four distinct groups: Egyptian women; Egyptian men; the government, and houses of worship. It's time we all unite to fight this epidemic that has become a part of life in Egypt. 

  • To all the Egyptian women out there

I feel we have accomplished a lot on Jan 25. The most significant gain in my humble view, is that as Egyptians, we are no longer afraid to speak the truth and demand our rights. So as Egyptian women, we need to keep the Tahrir spirit going and we need to raise our voice against these vulgar actions.

This means, next time a young man whistles or shouts a dirty comment your way, you don't walk faster and ignore it. NO NO NO! Promise me you will stop and yell as loud as you can and tell that idiot off!

It also means when you're at the bank or airport, or any other crowded space and the fatherly-like figure with the poor eyesight brushes against your body, not once but twice or more, you will do something. You will not convince yourself it was a coincidence and you will not stay silent, in respect of the guy's age!! Remember, he has no respect for you and feels no shame in touching you, so you will yell as loud as you can and shame him in public!!!

We Egyptian women can no longer stay silent and accept harassment as part of life, because that is wrong. We are not the problem and the men who commit these dirty actions need to realize that they will not get away with it anymore!!

  • To all the Egyptian men out there
If you're a guy who witnesses sexual harassment, you cannot walk away. Help us eradicate this bad symptom. Always remember that this victim being harassed could be your wife, mother, sister or daughter. Would you walk away then? Of course not! So, work with us to end this now!

If, on the other hand, you are one of the perpetrators who harass women and think nothing of it, then you need to wake up and realize that we live in a new era! The Jan 25 Revolution has changed the Egyptian people forever! We are no longer afraid to yell, to shame you and embarrass you for your dirty behavior or remarks. So, you either adopt the Tahrir spirit and rid yourself of your urge to harass, or be prepared for public embarrassment and humiliation!

  • To the Egyptian Government
I feel there's a lot that the government can do to help us eradicate sexual harassment:
  1. Let's start with some laws that hold harassers responsible for their actions. Egyptian women need to feel that they have your support and that you are willing to punish harassers and take sexual harassment cases seriously.
  2. Create Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that educate men and women on sexual harassment. Egypt was successful in its PSA campaigns on birth control and bilharzia, & we can also spread awareness on how sexual harassment is hurtful, humiliating & embarrassing to women. We can also learn from other countries who have adopted PSAs on sexual harassment, such as the USA .
  3. Let's work on solving some of the social and economic problems that lead some men to resort to harassment. I hate to give men excuses for such behavior, but there's no doubt that marriage in Egypt is expensive and few men can afford to offer a bride the apartment, appliances and dowry that her family expects. Add that to the increase in sexual scenes in Egyptian movies and music videos, and that's all these sexually-deprived young men need to go out and attack!! I feel the government can help create more jobs; offer newly graduates cheap housing options, and help alleviate the cost of living. This will surely allow more people to get married. 
  • To leaders of Egypt's Churches & Mosques
Given that we live in a conservative society, I feel you guys have a vital role in our fight against sexual harassment. If priests use Sunday services to preach to men, young and old, on the wrongfulness of such acts, surely this will impact some men, right? The same could be said for imams and Friday prayers. Why not use Friday speeches to educate men on these sinful actions and on the pain and humiliation they inflict on women? Also, why not encourage all men to stand up to a harasser if they witness such incidents?

Sexual harassment is an epidemic and we need to unite forces to drive it out of the New Egypt. 

The world watched Egyptians protest peacefully for 18 days, days that instilled pride in all of us! Then came the embarrassing news of Lara Logan's abuse in Tahrir Square, the same place that was witness to peaceful & civilized protests for 18 days. 

Is this how we want the world to view the New Egypt? An Egypt where sexual harassment is part of daily life? Where women have no rights or laws to protect them? Where men can get away with any dirty action? 

I don't think so! So let's take a stand today and do something about this epidemic!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Why I stopped believing SCAF

This is a translation of the Arabic version of this blog entry in support of May 23, NO-SCAF day:

   This is the first time for me to write a blog entry in Arabic and the only reason is that I truly want my words to reach as many of my Egyptian brothers and sisters as possible.Today I am writing to tell you the truth about SCAF, which rules us now.

Let me start by admitting that I was one of the millions of Egyptians who, for a while, believed in this idea of "El Geysh wel Sha3b Ed Wa7da," or the Army & the people are one. Why, you might ask?

Because I was raised in a household that had the utmost respect for the Egyptian armed forces. My father is a former army general and he would always tell us great stories about the army's victories during wartime.And so, I had absolutely no doubt that the army's first and foremost role was to serve and protect the people.

But, bit by bit, I slowly started to come out of this coma. I believe it all started on the night of February 26 when the army attacked protesters, beating them up, electrifying them with Tasers and insulting them.

That night I was so shocked; I couldn't for a minute believe that our dear army would do this. And then SCAF came out with a statement denying their involvement and I felt so relieved. I convinced myself that the attackers were pro-Mubarak thugs who dressed up as army officials so as to break the trust between the people and the army.

But the same tragedy repeated itself on March 9. Only this time, the humiliation of protesters was far worse. In fact, many of us have watched the YouTube video of singer & activist Ramy Essam, where he explains and shows us evidence of the brutality of the members of our beloved armed forces.

Things went downhill fast after that and army brutality and humiliation became a normal part of life in Egypt. Everything from virginity tests on females to offensive insults & name-calling, to military trials of civilians and even the shooting of civilians with live ammunition, as we all witnessed during last week's protests outside the Israeli embassy.

And this is nothing compared to what is happening in the political arena. First, we find our respectable SCAF leaders appearing on various Egyptian television networks, promising the people that all corrupt officials, including Mubarak and his family, will face fair trials. The next thing we know is these same corrupt officials are being released one after the other!

Isn't it enough that several of Mubarak's corrupt officials still hold government posts today? And then of course, there's the governors appointed by SCAF all across Egypt; indeed something we should all be so proud of!

What else? Oh, I almost forgot to mention our dear Salafi brothers, who miraculously appeared out of no where to instill religious strife across the country. One time they cut off a Christian man's ear, and then another time they want to invade a church to save princess Camilia, followed by the burning of yet another church to rescue madame Abeer! All of these attacks take place as the police and army stand idle, watching! Why dear SCAF do you exercise brutality & military trials with some people and not with others who really deserve it?

I'm sure I could sit here till tomorrow morning listing other accounts and examples of SCAF's wrongdoings. But I'm sure that those who were in Tahrir on Jan25 and others who truly love Egypt know what I am talking about here.

I'm truly heartbroken SCAF, because you are slowly stealing away our pride and dignity that Jan25 finally restored after years of humiliation, oppression and terror.

And I would love to ask SCAF members and all of those who blindly defend SCAF, who is benefiting from all of these events? Who is benefiting from the chaos and lack of security all over Egypt? Who is benefiting from the lack of seriousness in the trials of Mubarak and his corrupt officials? And, who is benefiting from the humiliation and degrading of the Jan25 youth who restored our pride and allowed us, for the first time, to feel that an Egyptian person's blood is worth something?

Unfortunately I have no more confidence in SCAF. I no longer believe their empty promises and I have completely erased from my mind this joke that the army & the people are one! The people's path has been clear all throughout Jan25; they chose to bring down the corrupt regime. But the army's path has been mysterious and dark. Seriously, I fear that if I walk the army's path, I will find myself under the rule of a new Mubarak, or worse, Mubarak himself!

ليه بطلت اصدق المجلس العسكري

انا اول مرة اكتب مدونة بالعربي والسبب الوحيد اني قررت اكتب انهاردة بالعربي هو اني حقيقي نفسي كلامي يوصل اكبر عدد من اخواني واخواتى في مصر. انا انهاردة بكتب علشان احكيلكوا حقيقة المجلس العسكري اللي بيحكمنا الان.

في البداية لازم اعترف اني واحدة من الملايين اللي اتخدعوا في المجلس وفضلت فترة طويلة مصدقة فيلم الجيش والشعب ايد واحدة! ليه؟

 علشان انا اتربيت في بيت بيحترم ويقدر القوات المسلحة اشد احترام. ابويا لوإ جيش سابق وكان دايماً يحلكنا عن امجاد الجيش وقت الحرب. فبالتالي ماكنش عندى ادني شك 
                ان الجيش هدفه الاساسي هو خدمة وحماية الشعب..

بس وشوية شوية ابتديت افوق من االغيبوبة دي. البداية كانت يوم ٢٦ فبراير لما الجيش هجم علي االثوار بالضرب وصعق الكهربإ ووالشتايم.

انا كنت مصدومة الليلة دي، لكن لما المجلس نفي ان له اي علاقة بالي حصل انا ارتحت اقنعت نفسي ان اللي عمل كده اعوان نظام مبارك متنكرين في زي جيش علشان يوقعوا بين الشعب والجيش.

وباعدين اتكررت نفس المأساه يوم الأربعإ ٩ مارس. بس المرة دي الأهانة للثوار كانت اسوإ. كثير مننا شاف الفديو بتاع الفنان رامي عصام وهو بيحكي ويوريا عنف وبلطجة رجال جيشنا العظيم.

بعد كدة بأه العنف والأهانة بأقة حاجة عادية، اشي كشف عذرية للبنات علي حبة شتايم حلوين كدة، للمحكمات العسكرية واخرها كان الضرب بالرصاص زي ما كلنا شفنا وسمعنا يوم تظاهرات السفارة الأسرائلية.

كل ده كوم بأه واللي بيحصل علي الساحة السياسية كوم ثاني! الأول يطلعوا قادة المجلس الموقر علي كل القنوات يوعدواالشعب بمحاكمات عادلة لكل رموز الفساد وبعد كده كل 
 يوم نسمع عن واحد جديد من المسجونين بيفرجوا عنه!

وكفاية ان لسة في ناس كثير من حكومة مبارك الفاسدة في الحكومة الحالية. وخد عندك  
المحافظين اللي المجلس عينهم في جميع انحإ مصر، حاجة تفرح وتطمن بجد!
وايه كمان؟ اه نسيت افكركوا بأخونا السلفيين اللي ظهروا كدة فجأة وبعدها مصايب الفتنة
 الطائفية ابتدت تهل علينا واحدة وري الثانية! اشي مرة يقطعوا ودن واحد ماسيحي ومرة يهجموا علي كنيسة يدوروا عي السنيورة كامليا وبعدها يحرقوا كنيسة علشان مدام عبير. كل ده والجيش والشرطة ساكتين. يعني العنف والمحاكمات يا عزيزي المجلس له ناس وناس لأ؟

اكيد في بلاوي ثانية ممكن اقعد احكي فها للصبح. بس اعتقد اي حد شارك في الثورة وبيحب وبيخاف علي مصر بجد عارف انا بتكلم لي ايه

.بجد انا حزينة يا مجلس لأنك واحدة واحدة بتسرق مننا الكرامة والأعتزاز بالنفس اللي 
الثورة رجعتهولنا بعد سنين من الأرهاب و الذل والقمع.

ونفسي اسأل المجلس وكل اللي بيدافع عنه اللي بيحصل ده في مصلحة مين؟ مين المستفيد من الفوضي والأنفلات الأمني؟ مين المستفيد من عدم الجدية في محاكمة مبارك واعوانه؟ ومين المستفيد من اهانة وذل الشباب اللي رجعلنا كرامتنا وخلانا نحس لأول مرة ان البني أدم المصري دمه مش رخيص؟

انا للأسف معنديش ثقة في المجلس خلاص. مقدرش اصدق وعودهم ثاني وشلت من مخي تاماً اكذوبة الشعب والجيش ايد واحدة. الشعب طريقه كان واصح من يوم ثورة ٢٥ يناير واختار اسقاط النظام الفاسد. لكن الجيش بأه طريقه غامض ومخيف وبجد خايفة لو مشيت في طريق المجلس الاقي نفسي محكومة بمبارك جديد ولا مش بعيد يبقي مبارك نفسه!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SCAF unveils its true colors

I think I can safely say that SCAF is beginning to reveal its true colors! Bit by bit, the military council is withdrawing away from the revolution, and breaking promises that were made to unveil the true faces of our current men in power!

Let's start with today's article in Al Masry Al Youm where a military official announced that SCAF is backtracking from a previous decision that would have given Egyptians abroad the right to vote. What is more mind boggling than the sudden change of course is the justifications offered. This military official explained that: 1) it would be challenging and almost impossible to collect votes from Egyptians abroad as they reside in 139 countries; 2) given that these Egyptians are abroad, they know little about the candidates and, therefore, their votes can be bought by people with other interests.

How ridiculous is that? More important, how humiliating and frustrating for all of us Egyptians abroad to be perceived in such a narrow-minded way? This official is practically saying that we are ignorant of our own country and that we have no clue what's going on and who's running for what!

I know I am not the only Egyptian abroad who is practically glued to her TV, laptop or cell phone, in a daily struggle to keep up with events and developments back home. There are millions of Egyptian men and women, young and old, Christians and Muslims who do the same. I see them on Facebook & Twitter; they exchange ideas and dreams for Egypt; they discuss the pros and cons of potential presidential candidates, among other important issues.

So how can this so-called official generalize and oversimplify and claim that we are all a bunch of clueless idiots who are willing to sell our rights to vote for some quick cash?

Personally, for me, this was the last straw. I've been watching events unfold in Egypt over the past few weeks, and I wasn't happy. The Imbaba attacks of Sunday were a clear sign that there's more to SCAF and the government than what meets the eye. I mean, how can a group of thugs attack and burn a church amidst the absolute absence of our police force? More so, how come SCAF has not announced military trials for those arrested?

SCAF has been pretty swift with military trials when it comes to Tahrir protesters, who's biggest crime was trying to cleanse Egypt from 30 years of filth and corruption. Isn't it obvious that something's wrong when people like Michael Nabil are sentenced to 3 years in prison for merely criticizing the army, yet groups of thugs who destroy a house of worship, killing over 20 people and terrorizing scores of civilians get no such sentencing?

Honestly, I hate to say this, but I think it's time we hit Tahrir Square once again to redeem our dignity and demand our rights. SCAF has unveiled its true face and we as Egyptians need to tell the military council that we get it; we can see through the acts and broken promises and we've had it.

Afterall, if we truly want to cleanse our country from all traces of the Mubarak era, we can't do so if SCAF continues to control and govern our every move.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Military Council and unforgettable dates by Hoda Kamal

This post is from my friend Hoda Kamal. She wrote a detailed and honest account of our relationship with the military starting with the Egyptian revolution until today. So please read this post and leave her your comments & thoughts.

I have been reading a lot of comments recently criticizing those who dared to distrust the Military Council and of course, I am one of those people .... :) I had given myself some time to think ... maybe I am someone who doesn't trust people easily, or maybe I doubt things too much, or maybe I am stupid, or have an agenda or I might be an irresponsible person or too revolutionary....
No matter what you think of me and others who share my same belief, please allow me to share my thoughts with you... let me first tell you something... I don't have family members or direct friends in the Army, so I basically didn't know much about the Army before Jan 28th....all I knew is that, we respect our Egyptian Army very much... they are great people, who fought Israel in 1973 and did a wonderful job.... I watch the 6th of October movies on tv and enjoy them very much!!!!
We don't have same respect to the Police, unfortunately, maybe because we deal with them in our daily life, and SOME of them proved to be quite brutal, but the Army, thank God, we never had to deal with them before Jan 28th :)

So let me start from the day I got introduced to them... January 28th, 2011.... the same day that the Egyptian Police was killing the peaceful protesters ... also the very same day that the internet connection got cut off and I am not sure, if people in Egypt had access to any non-Egyptian tv channel...

January 28th :
I was watching AlJazeera News, police had been fighting the protesters for several hours, all of us here felt terrible until we saw the first TANK that came in Tahrir Square and it was said that " الحاكم العسكري أمر بنزول الجيشi" (the military ruler ordered the army to go down to the street).... a very special moment... I kept wondering, who is this الحاكم العسكري, that is saving the Egyptians.... he must be the boldest man in the Military.... and a few mins later, they explained on TV that "الحاكم العسكري" = Mohamed Hosny Mubarak :).... wooooooooow, did I hear it right?? Mubarak is sending the Army to save the Egyptians?? Are you kidding me?? So who the hell is the bad guy who sent out the Egyptian Police to kill the Egyptian People??? it is definitely not Mubarak then... :) and soon after this, we heard that Habib el Adly is probably the bad one who gave the instructions to the Police to kill the protesters.... aaaaaaaaah, now this makes some kind of sense... El Adly is the bad one, who without getting back to his boss, went ahead and decided to kill the Egyptians... but his "good" boss, saved them!!! Thank God we had Mubarak that day... I am truly appreciative to his efforts.... but did  we hear anything about Tantawy or any other Military figure that day?? NO, it is MUBARAK who sent out the Army.... REMEMBER THIS PLEASE....and BE THANKFUL TO MUBARAK, but of course, he must have discussed it with his right-hand man Tantawy first.... maybe we should thank Tantawy, in case it was his bright idea.....

Ok, the Army is now in the streets of Egypt protecting the Egyptians, not anymore from the Police, who disappeared right after the Army came, but from the prisoners that were set free by SOMEONE who opened the prisons for them and asked them to go frighten the Egyptians.... it must be another BAD guy, maybe ElAdly again, we don't know....but for sure NOT MUBARAK... Mubarak is GOOD and he proved this today already.... and the ARMY is the people's savior...

February 2nd :
We just had a "historic speech" on February 1st that Mubarak gave... it was very emotional and a lot of us felt terrible that day, that we dared to protest or even support the demonstrations against Mubarak, the good old man, who served our country for 30 years....
This speech was so well written that I wonder, who is the one who wrote this brilliant speech? It can't be an Egyptian!!! Don't get me wrong, I don't mean that the Egyptians can't write brilliant speeches, I only meant, that there was a word used in this speech that I have never heard of in the Arabic Language before.. never heard it from any Egyptian, literate or illiterate:  "أنتوي" ... does it come from a different language? Hebrew, English.... or something else? it sounds more like "intend".... but, let's not get off track... talk now about Feb 2nd pls.....

A few hours after the speech, the internet was back up and we were again very thankful to Mubarak.....
but wait wait wait... what's going on this morning again in Tahrir Square after the great speech??? what??? Camels, Horses... Molotov??????? Why??? Aren't protesters supposed to be home now and rest until September, when Mubarak leaves as promised in his speech??? NO, apparently there was a number of BAD, STUPID protesters in Tahrir, who DOUBTED the words in Mubarak's speech and decided to continue the demonstrations... must be " a bunch of idiots" who "enjoy instability" and "are too revolutionary"...... or maybe some of them had an "agenda"...... so now they are facing Thugs, Camels, Horses... and Molotov??????? Are you serious??? Who is responsible for all this??? ANOTHER BAD GUY...
Ok, we need Mubarak URGENTLY and RIGHT NOW here to save the Egyptians again from the bad people... and guess what,  the ARMY is present!!!!! Oh sure, it will protect the Egyptians... can't imagine otherwise!!!! but BIG NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.... THE ARMY HAD CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS TO STAY NEUTRAL..... what??? neutral??? isn't the ARMY'S JOB TO PROTECT THE EGYPTIANS??? No, the army takes orders and it does, what it's asked to do....stay neutral means, leave the peaceful protesters die in front of your eyes.... and DO NOTHING for over 15 hours when everything stopped and the protesters did a GREAT JOB lining themselves and fighting the thugs.... I guess, you guys are our TRUE ARMY....

So, where has Mubarak been?? If he is old and sick and was sleeping all day, where was TANTAWY or any other MILITARY LEADER that can give instructions to the Army to save the people???? until now, I have NO ANSWER ....
Obviously, those protesters should have gone home and stopped their stupid demonstrations after listening to the speech...

February 10th  & 11th :
It’s Thursday today, and some STUPID PROTESTERS promised BIG demonstration tomorrow, if Mubarak doesn’t step down… someone  needs to do something about this….. I can smell something serious is going on today…. What is it? BREAKING NEWS….the MILITARY COUNCIL is currently holding a “continuous meeting”…. What does this mean? Some rumors are going on that Mubarak is going to step down today… waiting, and waiting, and more waiting…and finally Mubarak gave a speech and didn’t mention stepping down… he promised changes to the constitution…. What??? Don’t worry, the MILITARY COUNCIL that gave the impression that Mubarak is going to step down today, and doesn’t give us an explanation for the speech that we all just heard… is still meeting… PLEASE IGNORE THE SPEECH….
You should know, that when the MILITARY COUNCIL announces that it is holding a continuous meeting, this means that it is in fact the one in power and that Mubarak is no longer ruling…. But because there were some stupid ignorant people like me who didn’t understand this by themselves, the Vice President had to announce this clearly on February, the 11th that Mubarak stepped down… OUR SAVIOR IS NOW THE MILITARY COUNCIL…. Thank you!!!! So, what happened between YOU and Mubarak? It’s non of your business….. why do you care to know??? THE MILITARY COUNCIL SAVED YOU……

February 26th :
After 2 weeks of “ stable”  life, and on February 25th, a million people demonstration was called for …. This was to put pressure on the MILITARY COUNCIL to lay-off the Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafik and his government and hire a new government, from people that are NOT related to the OLD REGIME…

Today, among these protestors were some STUPID ONES again, that thought that they should stay in Tahrir and not go home, until the MILITARY COUNCIL responds to their demand…
So please, wait here, what’s wrong with Shafik?
He is a nice, decent, smart guy, very respectful, charismatic and talks really well… and most importantly doesn’t stutter…. please stop saying, he was a friend of Mubarak’s or he was chosen by Mubarak to be the current Prime Minister and please don’t mention that he was the Prime Minister on the bloody Wednesday, Feb 2nd  and did nothing…oh, and don’t mention that he kept defending Mubarak until the very last day too…this all doesn’t count..… if you don’t know, who this respectful guy is, please enjoy a trip with Egypt Air or if you can’t afford the ticket, please pay a visit to our New Cairo Airport and you will know, how GOOD this guy is….

Oh, no, this STUPID GROUP doesn’t want to listen…. and the MILITARY COUNCIL doesn’t like that… because it likes to be obeyed. It tolerates the Friday Demonstrations, but can’t tolerate breaking the curfew rule anymore as it did during Mubarak time…
A few mins before the curfew is supposed to start, some group of Military Police is in Tahrir Square trying to disperse the demonstrators using Electric Tasers and beating them….  even some are getting arrested by them…. but, don’t worry, it is not a large group… and the MILITARY COUNCIL is on TV the next day, to apologize and ask The Egyptians to forgive them...  at least give them credit for ALL what they’ve done so far…. J)))) Since they apologized, this means they are the ones who really did that, not some sort of civilians as we heard?!! Probably YES….

March 9th :
Please, give me a break … what’s going on again??? Shafik is now gone and a new government has been formed… it has some people who were NDP members before, but the MILITARY COUNCIL really couldn’t find someone else who would accept to join this government of Dr. Essam Sharaf….

So why are you still sitting in the green area of the Tahrir Square then? This is truly unbearable…. You seem to “enjoy”  the status of instability… so please answer me today, why are you still here? What?? You are asking for a NEW CONSTITUTION NOW? Didn’t you hear that the Egyptians are voting on the 19th on the referendum? Go vote, NO, if you want…. But believe us, YES is better for you…. these changes are perfect.
THE MILITARY COUNCIL put a lot of effort in coming up with the changes…
THE MILITARY COUNCIL selected a group of very experienced people and asked them to make some changes in response to your demands to some clauses that THE MILITARY COUNCIL thought needed to be changed… and they did a great job!!!
Please go home now and leave the square… allow yourself sometime to think about the suggested changes as they are really good, even the Muslim Brotherhood and all other Islamists think so, not only THE MILITARY COUNCIL …but if you insist on NO, you will find other political power share your same opinion… you all please go and vote and let’s start the true democracy….

Please don’t be afraid of Abboud el Zomor, the one who planned the assassination of fromer President Sadat … he was only let out, because he deserved to be free… Mubarak had let him stay 10 extra years in prison, but
THE MILITARY COUNCIL might be thinking, it is its responsibility to reimburse him for the extra time he spent in prison… maybe the least that we can do is, have the MEDIA show him as a HERO…. Don’t worry, he really changed a lot….

So these Idiots still don’t want to leave the Tahrir Square?? They are getting on everybody’s nerve now and we need the MILITARY COUNCIL to be more strict with them… we just hope, they don’t get too much involved with them like on Feb 26th… well, someone else can do this job then….THUGS!!! Where did they go?? Go get them please….they can attack protesters with sticks and swords while the Army violently  disperses this gathering of around 1000 people… wait here… you say VIOLENTLY??? Do you mean beating demonstrators, dismantling tents and breaking up an informal medical clinic? What? Not only this? Wipe the memory cards of Journalists attempting to record events?

And moreover, make SOLDIERS arrest more than 100 protesters and take them to the Egyptian Museum near to Tahrir Sqaure??? And among them is the famous Revolution Singer, Rami Essam who is being dragged to the Egyptian Museum? Is he really getting beaten by them with metal rods? and not only this,  are they applying electricity allover his body? YES, but thankfully he is being released… but others are taken before Military Courts…

Is there more stuff? Egypt women protesters forced to take 'virginity tests'??? Why? Aren’t they able to express their views on the future of Egypt without being detained, tortured, or subjected to profoundly degrading and discriminatory treatment???  

NO, NO, NO… this is utterly unacceptable…
Hey Egyptians, let’s try to forget this and not think anything bad of our MILITARY COUNCIL…

March 19th and 20th :
March 19th: 45% voted today  - WONDERFUL J
March 20th : 77% said YES – EVEN MORE WONDERFUL J)

Oh, dear MILITARY COUNCIL, thank you very much for the wonderful TEAM WORK!!!
You proved to us, that you would do “ANYTHING” to make sure that the Egyptians choose the RIGHT thing… and we have NO DOUBT that you will do  the same when it comes to other critical decisions like this one in future….

April 9th :
Great day, starts with another million people demonstration... yahoooo!!!.... LOTS of people are joining in Tahrir Square and it is beautiful watching them all on TV... they all want to put pressure on the MILITARY COUNCIL, because they believe, that the MILITARY COUNCIL is TOO SLOW in responding to their  "never ending demands".... but among those are some that not only think that the MILITARY COUNCIL is slow... they DARE to think that it is in fact NOT TRUSTWORTHY and that it proved this throughout the last 2 1/2 months..... this group must be STUPID again, but you know what, they have their REASONS why to NOT TRUST the MILITARY COUNCIL... reasons???? are you sure, they have valid reasons?? NOOOOO, these people are "too revolutionary" and "can't calculate things right"... please everyone, listen to me here, WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE THE ARMY, OUR 1 AND ONLY ALLY..... please tell this "bunch of idots" to stop and go home....we have our 8 demands, that everyone in the political power agrees on, but to dare to ask the MILITARY COUNCIL TO PEACEFULLY HANDOVER THE POWER TO A PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL, this is too much....we all trust the MILITARY COUNCIL, even the Muslim Brotherhood, that used to be Mubarak's 1st enemy... come are we going to select people in this Presidential Council??? Who is going to manage this whole process?? What if, this STUPID GROUP doesn't like the Presidential Council later on??? ... endless questions.... NO, NO, NO, PLEASE STOP....  we need STABILITY HERE…... they can put pressure through Friday Demonstrations, but other than that, it will be TOO MUCH...

We all agree, THE MILITARY COUNCIL is too slow, but we still trust them... they are the ones who SAVED :)) THE REVOLUTION... Saved, the revolution??? How can we judge this, while the revolution is still going on??? NO, the revolution ended on February 11th, when Mubarak stepped down and the MILITARY COUNCIL TOOK OVER..... but there is a group that says NO and thinks that the revolution ended on March 5th after "AMN EL DAWLA" had fallen apart.... and another, MORE STUPID group thinks that the revolution is going on until we achieve TRUE DEMOCRACY, TRUE FREEDOM AND TRUE SOCIAL JUSTICE.... no matter how long this is going to take... even if these people die before they witness this day, they still believe in this.....

Oooh, it is a very good and SUCCESSFUL day today :) ... that's what I've been hearing... SUCCESSFUL... how you say this, please explain...!!! we haven't heard 1 word from the MILITARY COUNCIL  commenting on the 8 demands!!!! No, it is successful, because we were able to collect over a million people in Tahrir Square:) ----- ahaaaaaaaaaaa.....
alright.... I guess it's getting late and we all need to go home after this successful day and continue again next Friday, if today turned out to be unsuccessful:))
We can even travel to Sharm el Sheikh, if necessary, but of course, get back home before the curfew starts.... J

So, what again? don't tell me that this same "bunch of idiots" doesn't listen to the wise voice of other fellow Tahrir Demonstrators and insists on putting more pressure today and wants to disobey the curfew rule, that the MILITARY COUNCIL put  again and stay in Tahrir Square after 2 am.... these PEOPLE ARE IRRESPONSIBLE...
What??? they are not alone? there is a group wearing Army Uniform with them??? Are these real soldiers? what do they want?  Don't they have to respect their job and don't protest against their bosses??? Again, what do they want ??? They want people to clash with the ARMY??? ARE THEY CRAZY???  NO, this is truly unbearable... PLEASE OUR DEAR MILITARY COUNCIL, DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS...... collect all the power you have (army forces, 777, intelligence, police...etc..) and send them to Tahrir Sqaure to get rid of these "THUGS" in the middle of the night...but, please try not to be TOO BRUTAL with them, because we don't support brutality, unless it's necessary, of course... and more importantly , please finish this before we wake up and start our work day on Saturday, so that we DON'T SEE THIS happening in front of our eyes and only hear about it from YOU, DEAR MILITARY COUNCIL, on our beloved Egyptian TV and on YOUR Facebook Page through your STATEMENT #34".... :)))))))

April 10th :
Mubarak is back on TV, saying “Hi” to the Egyptians through an audio speech. Any Explanation?

I guess, I have to stop writing and allow you to think, think and think....
thanks, for taking the time to read what I've been THINKING about and sorry, if this had brought bad memories to you........ and another sorry, if you wasted your time reading the thoughts of a stupid girl….

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Welcome to the new Egypt!

Today is a historical day. No, in fact, this entire week is historical! I believe this week marks the beginning of a new era for Egypt.

For the first time in the history of any nation, almost an entire government ends up in prison! Not only that, but news last night of the questioning and imprisonment of former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, is also unprecedented!

Given the horrific events of this past Saturday, where army and police forces attacked Tahrir protesters, leaving at least one dead and over 70 injured, these arrests provide big relief for most Egyptians.

Maybe it's the army's way of saying it's sorry? Or it's the army's way of proving to protesters, who were increasingly becoming distrustful and impatient, that they are serious in their intent to trial every single corrupt official. Whatever the intention, I know I am not alone in feeling like a huge weight has been lifted off my chest. The recent arrests of Zakaria Azmy, Ahmad Nazif, Safwat el-Sherif, Alaa and Gamal are long-awaited actions that Egyptians have been waiting for since day one of the fall of Mubarak's corrupt regime.

Now, I might be feeling huge relief and happiness at this moment, but that is not to say I am 100 percent confident. I know some people will probably hate me for the pessimism, but I can't help feeling skeptical and slightly distrustful.

What I'm trying to say is, we should be happy and relived, but we also need to be very cautious. I mean, we've experienced 30 years of nothing but corruption and unfairness and now all of a sudden, in one week, we're witnessing the imprisonment of one corrupt thug after the other! How else should I feel?

I can't help feeling that yes, these people are being questioned and might in fact be in Tora prison as we are told, but is this enough to prove that justice will be served? Will every single corrupt official who inflicted years of pain and unfairness on Egyptians be subject to a fair trial and receive a long-term sentencing? I still feel the answer is NO.

I hope I am wrong and I pray to God to inspire the army and our new government to prove myself and other skepticals wrong. Please army, do the right thing and finish what you started this week till the end. Every single official who stole our money, who tortured our people and who humiliated us, should be trialed and punished.

In the meantime, I will try to force the skepticism to the back of my mind and enjoy this moment of victory; a victory that is unprecedented and is being recognized worldwide at this very moment.

It's a victory, because even if these people are set free tomorrow, we, the people of Egypt, have lived to witness the day when our dictators have tasted some of their own medicine and have been humiliated big time!!!!!!!

So, let's enjoy our moment of victory today; but let's get back to work tomorrow to start thinking planning how to keep things moving in the right direction! We need to make sure that what we're celebrating this week is in fact a sign of a new democratic & just Egypt!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Are we taking things too far?

Friday April 8th witnessed another successful Tahrir protest. That is, until things got pretty ugly.

First, let's start with the good part of the day. Protesters planned Friday's million-man/woman protest to exert pressure on the army to speed trials of Mubarak and his thugs. There were also protesters who were calling for the replacement of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces with a civilian council that will lead Egypt through democratic presidential elections.

So how did things go bad? It probably started with the few army officers who decided to protest on Friday. These are alleged officers who are against the SCAF and its leader, Tantawi. The officers said they are joining to support the people and to voice their anger and disapproval of current events in Egypt.

I have to be honest, I am one of the people who welcomed the officers' initiative with open arms. I was glad to finally see army members waking up and joining us in our call for more efficiency and speed with punishments of Mubarak and NDP thugs.

This doesn't mean that I am against the army. Not at all, I've said this before and will say it again, I have grown up with the deepest respect for the Egyptian army. My father is a retired army general and I have nothing but respect for army officers, based on what I have lived with and witnessed throughout my life from my father and his army friends.

But I was also growing more and more impatient with the SCAF. This council has been way too slow and lenient with the people who have brought Egypt to its current state of poverty and corruption. The council has also been extremely vague and lacking transparency in its dealings with the public. In everything from accounts of torture to virginity tests for women, the council has either denied or said nothing. We need more transparency; we need the council to be on top of its game and to come out with immediate explanations of what's happening.

So, back to Tahrir and the couple of hundred officers who joined the protests yesterday, why were many Egyptians worried about this move? People were afraid that our support of these officers would be misread as clear defiance against the army as an institution. Others were also questioning these alleged officers. I keep saying 'alleged' because there are still those who think they are not even officers and were just civilians in uniform pretending to be army in a dirty plan to divide the people and the army!

So, again, back to Tahrir: Curfew starts at 2 a.m. and when the officers joined Tahrir, many protesters felt a need to stay with the officers all night (I guess officers couldn't leave once they joined the protests in fear of arrests). So at 2 a.m., the peaceful scene in Tahrir changed to ugly gunfire attacks and lead to the death of one person, 70-something injured and the arrest of most of the army officers.

I guess, I'm really confused now. I'm mad and angry that the ugly attack took place. I'm also confused from SCAF's news conference earlier today. The army officials were explaining yesterday's events and they insisted there was no gunfire. So what were the loud, ugly shots that were non-stop from 2 a.m. until almost 6 a.m.??

But, as much as I am confused and angry at the army, I am also angry at protesters for not respecting the curfew! We need to abide by these rules because they are also protecting us. With thugs and everything else going on, the army is right in enforcing these rules, so we should not be testing the army! That was a big mistake, even if the intentions were noble.

Last night, in my opinion, was the first clear crack in the army-people relationship. It is a move I fear we will regret in future. As much as I hate the way SCAF is handling the country, I also don't want to lose them. We can't forget that the army protected us in Tahrir and saved us! Yes, I say saved us, because these officers, who are loyal to the people, refused to carry out Mubarak's orders and attack protesters!

What makes things worse is protesters are defying the army once again. They are out in Tahrir right this minute and waiting for the army to attack. Again, we are causing the crack to widen with our growing defiance and challenging of the army.

I understand how many protesters feel right now. And I am not in Tahrir and have not experienced these brutal attacks, but I can imagine how humiliating and horrifying these experiences must have been. But I also feel we need to be rational and we should not take things too far with SCAF.

I also want to bring your attention to another danger. Do you realize that we are doing exactly what Mubarak and his thugs want us to do? We are falling into a web of distrust and defiance and slowly losing our strongest ally in this revolution. And deeper we fall into this trap, the less attention we pay to corruption trials and other dangerous moves by the counter revolution team!

It's not only that, but last night's events are causing pro revolution Egyptians to disagree and separate as well. I was on Twitter all night following the events in Tahrir, and the majority of the tweets were from people blaming each other or saying, "I told you so!" Again, we need to calm down and realize who's benefiting from our disagreement; we are making one group of people so happy right now!!

So, please, let's slow down and think rationally about these events. Let's focus on enforcing change without losing our ally and protector. Yes, SCAF is horribly slow and cannot be trusted 100 percent, but we can exert pressure on this council without being outright defiant. We're already doing this really well and it's been effective (we have come to expect good news on long-awaited arrests or trials every Thursday or lelya el millionia as we say).

And let's not forget that we need to stay united. We can't lose the Tahrir spirit and unity now; our struggle is not over and will NOT be over until every single corrupt official is trialed and until we can enjoy democratic rule. So, stop the blame game and the arguments over petty issues, and let's organize our strength to work out our list of demands for next Friday's million protest Inshaa Allah!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

How did we get to such a state of corruption??

I've been out of Egypt for over 10 years now and every single year when I visited over the summer, I could see the change.

I saw how the gap between the very very poor and the extremely rich grew wider and wider by the year; I saw how I could get no paperwork done in a single government office, unless I was willing to bribe someone, and I saw the smiles and sense of humor that Egyptians are known for, slowly being replaced with sadness, desperation and hopelessness.

The problem? Corruption is the sickness that has plagued my country for years and years!

Now, I've always known that Egyptian officials were tainted with some level of corruption. But never in my wildest dreams did I know that such corruption was widespread, extending from the top, with our former president Mubarak, all the way to the low-level government officials!

Since our Jan25 Revolution, I've been thinking about corruption in Egypt and trying to figure out how we got to this stage. How and when did this happen?

Every day, I get more and more angry, frustrated and disgusted at these so-called officials who have robbed our country of all its goods.

Take today for instance, I just read that Zakaria Azmy, Mubarak's right hand man, has 600 diamond watches in the bank. This is in addition to multiple lands, cars and villas across Egypt.

Or take Mubarak and his family, the guy's wealth is so widespread, the army is having a hard time getting a hold of just how much he owns and where! We've heard he has money in the US, Canada, Europe, Gulf countries as well as Latin America!

Why? Why do these pigs need all this money? how many lives do they think they are going to live to be able to enjoy and spend such outrageous amounts??

What is even more frustrating is how? How were these corrupt officials allowed to drain our country over the years like this? How come no one stopped them? I guess the answer is easy: because there was no clean official who had such authority. Everyone who worked with Mubarak was tainted with his corruption!

It is heartbreaking to see millions of Egyptians living in cemeteries or entire families living in a tiny room (while sharing a bathroom with God knows how many families). It is even worse to hear the awful stories of men, women and children who die every day, because they can't buy food or medicine.

But this sadness turns to anger and frustration when I read these stories of our outrageous officials!!! How did these people sleep at night? How could they drive in their million dollar cars and not notice the poverty and desperation of the millions walking the streets?

And throughout all of this, we still have some delusional Mubarak supporters who recently announced plans to organize protests calling for his return! Are these people for real??

I have only one thing to tell these so-called Mubarak fans: you're either part of the corruption and you're starting to feel your pockets getting lighter, now that the cash flow has stopped, or you're seriously delusional if you think for a second that this man has done one good deed for our country. Just drive by the closest cemetery and you will see for yourself!

I also want to question the army and Dr. Essam Sharaf's government on their slow response to such outright corruption! Why is it taking us so long to punish every single thief who robbed our country and left the majority of Egyptians in desperate need??

I urge officials to take action now. We need to purify Egypt and erase all elements of corruption so that we can have a fresh start. This fresh start won't happen unless we send a clear message to everyone that corruption is no longer tolerated and that every penny that was robbed from the people will be retrieved!

Truly, I dream of a day when I set foot on Egyptian soil, where there won't be bribery and corruption everywhere. I might be naive, but I don't think this is impossible.

After all, nothing is impossible after Jan25, right?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Back to Tahrir!

  So Egyptians took to the streets again this weekend, angered by a Cabinet-approved law that criminalizes protests by small groups.
  On the one hand, I can see the Cabinet's logic. They're not really targeting mass protests. They're after the day-in-day-out protests that have plagued every government office across Egypt. It's as if all of a sudden, after Jan25, every single employee has woken up from 30 years of apathy to demand higher wages and a new boss!
  I am not saying I don't see these workers' side or that I don't sympathize with them. I definitely do. But I also realize that things won't change overnight and that we need to work together to make things happen.
  From the protesters' side, I can also see why they are angry and why they decided to hit the streets. I think this new law was just the last straw for them. It's been almost a month and half now since Mubarak stepped down and the army took over temporarily. Let's review our progress since then:
  • Essam Sharaf leads a new government and boosts our trust and optimism for a better future;
  • We're told that Mubarak & his family cannot travel or leave the country;
  • We're also told that Mubarak's money has been frozen;
  • Former interior minister Haib el-Adly and several others are in prison and in the midst of a trial;
  • We went out and for the first time ever participated in democratic elections on the Constitution referendum.
Yes, these are all major steps in the right direction, but they are not enough and people are growing impatient and restless. Why? Here's a list of concerns on every protester's mind right now:
  • Progress in Mubarak's questioning over his money is either non-existent or super slow;
  • The three musketeers: Safwat el-Sherif, Zakaria Azmy & Fathy Serour are still out there enjoying life, with no indication that they will be question any time soon. I know the media announced they will be soon, but we have come to realize that the army's "soon" could take months, or who knows how long.
  • The counter revolution is everywhere. We don't know who to believe and who to trust anymore. Conspiracies everywhere! But all of a sudden, fires are spreading across government buildings; police offers are on strike; prisoners are escaping from across Egypt and Salafists and/or Muslim extremists are either spreading lies or committing the most horrid crimes against Christians.
  • Egyptian media still sucks! I feel there's no hope here! It's like these presenters were studying a special kind of mass communication that teaches them how to fool your audience!
   So the protesters who went out this weekend were protesting for all of the above if not more. They were calling for change in television; they were calling for trials of NDP leaders and they were calling for temporary president & former defense minister Tantawi to step down.
   I think these are fair demands and I support them wholeheartedly. Our revolution is slipping away from us and it's time to inject some excitement back in the air and get things moving. If army leaders are fooling us (and I sure hope not), then this should wake them up, and if they are just being too slow (which I can understand with the 1000x new responsibilities on their shoulders), this should boost their energy a little.
  So, although I support Sharaf's cabinet and have a lot of faith in this man, I still have to side with the protesters on this one. We have to be able to hit the streets and voice demands when we feel there's an urgent need to do so!
    The law will not take effect until the Supreme Council of Armed Forces approves it. Let's hope the army is still on our side and is leaning more towards my second theory (being slow), but still supportive. If that is the case, then I plead with the SCAF to turn  down this law.
    Jan25 gave all Egyptians the ultimate sense of freedom to just go out there and speak from the heart. So please don't try to take away our new-found freedom; that will be too painful for everyone!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Don't lose the spirit & let's move on!!

So the referendum results are out and I was disappointed. I naively thought the No supporters were winning, but I was flat out wrong! But I'm not here to whine about it. What's done is done, now let's move on!

Although the results were not in our favor, I think there's still a lot to celebrate:
  • This was Egypt's first ever democratic voting experience. It brought millions of Egyptians together to endure hours of long ORGANIZED LINES, to all share in the country's future. Can you believe it? Egyptians and lines?? The last time I tried to create a line in Egypt, I was in a McDonald's and out of nowhere, these two women came from behind me and forced their way in front of me. No one seemed to notice or get pissed off by this, aside from myself here!! So Yes, Egyptians from all walks of life were in line to vote. When the Cairo governor tried to skip the line, the people got angry and made it very clear he was being uncivilized. So I am so proud of my fellow Egyptians for such civilized behavior, let's keep this spirit!
  • It was also people's first taste of freedom and democracy. I watched television all day, checked tweets constantly and was amazed at the recurring comments of "my vote counts" or "my first democratic experience." So that in itself is a major achievement. We have never been given the right to vote for anything, and I mean in an honest vote where we know we count. I hope in future though, Egyptians abroad like myself here, will also be given the chance to participate and be included in determining the best future for our country.
  • I think this entire voting experience, along with the Yes and No campaigns that preceded have opened our eyes and given us true warnings on certain groups and organizations in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood, who played all innocent and peaceful throughout Jan25 finally lost their disguise and made it very clear that they have their own agenda. So, let's look on the bright side, and let's understand that we should be very cautious in our dealings with the MB in future, just like we need to be wary of the NDP.
  • What happened to Dr. El Baradei was horrible, barbaric and shameful. When a presidential candidate and his family get attacked by thugs, with stones being thrown, and his car getting smashed, that tells us that NDP supporters are still out there somewhere. The media initially claimed the attackers were religiously-affiliated. But according to tweets and videos from several activists that accompanied El Baradei, that is not true. They identified the attackers as thugs that were seen previously in older elections. So, once again, if there is one good that came out of this horrible incident, it is that El Baradei is a powerful candidate and that is obviously scaring some people. So let's use this to our advantage; let's get El Baradei's name and presidential plan out there. My hope is that people across Egypt and not just on Facebook and Twitter will come to realize how El Baradei would make a great leader for Egypt in the next phase.
  • Another lesson to learn from this experience is that it tells us we need stronger campaigns nationwide as well as more encouragement to hit the ballots. I think many Egyptians still live under the Mubarak regime mentality and don't realize that their vote really counts. We need to reach out to these people and encourage them to go out and vote. We also need to reach the masses. People across Egypt need to understand our policies & plans for the country. Just take a look at American presidential campaigns and how candidates travel everywhere and address people from various places around the USA.
 Whether we won or not, yesterday's referendum was a great achievement for Egypt. So, if you were in the No team, please get over it. I know that's not easy, but we do need to move on and learn from the experience and celebrate our wins! As the saying goes, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Don't forget to turn off your cell phone tomorrow!!

switch your mobile off Friday 18/3 on Twitpic
  Many Egyptians are turning off their cell phones on Friday. Why?
 It's payback time!
During the Jan25 Revolution, Mubarak ordered all Internet and cell phone services off. This meant that Egyptians were not allowed to contact the outside world to reveal the bloody crimes being committed. But it also meant that many of the injured couldn't be saved because there was no fast way to call for help!
    Egyptian activist and blogger, Nawara Negm, wrote on her blog, "I will never forget that we couldn't call the ambulance on Kasr el-Nil bridge. Why? Why should these faces die so early?"
    I support this Friday payback day for cell phone companies across Egypt. There is no excuse for any one person, organization or country to support terrorism and the brutal killing of innocent people. What these companies did was wrong and they know it. Yet at the time, they blamed Mubarak. But why did they agree? Why did they cut off service for almost five days, preventing protesters from calling for urgent help to save those badly injured?
   I think cutting off phone service for one day is a small price to pay. But I wonder how officials who made the decision to cut off service can sleep at night, knowing that their move caused the death of many innocent civilians.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Good news for Egypt's Jan 25 revolutionaries

So today's a happy day, because Prime Minister Essam Sharaf announced the end of Egypt's brutal State Security force.

Honestly, until I heard the news via Twitter, I was so pessimistic and depressed. The last few days have been frustrating, in terms of developments in Egypt. Here's a summary of what was depressing me over the past few days:
  • For one, the army has suddenly turned all brutal! They tortured some protesters on March 9th in the process of forcing people out of Tahrir Square. You'd think they'd come out and explain their actions, but no; they did no such thing!
  • Army is so quick to arrest and trial protesters fighting for freedom and democracy and yet they have taken no concrete steps to eradicate corrupt officials like Safwat el-Sherif, Zakaria Azmy or Fathi Serour. That's a very bad sign; it tells me that we're not getting rid of corruption and that these people still have power; lots of power it seems.
  • Violent clashes between Muslims and Christians in one Egyptian city ended with 13 dead and many others injured. So Muslims and Christians stood hand in hand all throughout our revolution and then this happens? Clearly it was a set up and sadly many people from both sides fell for it. Let's hope it never happens again and that the Tahrir spirit wins in the end.
  • Egyptian state television continues to spit out lies! I plead with every single Egyptian to boycott government television; it sucks big time!!! It is amazing how media professionals can sit and lie straight in your face without blinking! But it is our fault for giving them the chance; they don't deserve the attention, so stop watching, please!!!
  • There are a lot of rumors and conspiracies about the NDP corrupt officials who are still fighting the Egyptian Revolution and are trying to force their way back in power. And seeing that Serour, Azmy and El-Sherif are still sitting in their comfortable, luxurious homes, I can see that happening!
  • Constitutional referendum is coming up this weekend, and the amendments are horrible, yet some Egyptians are OK with the changes! I am afraid some people are OK with the amendments because they are tired of the struggle and they naively think voting YES means stability and back to normal life. What they don't realize is, if they vote YES, we are giving the green light for a new era of dictatorship, only this time, we don't know who's leading.
  • Oh, and I almost forgot to mention this nuisance called Amr Moussa! Moussa, who literally, did nothing for the revolution; who blindly supported the Mubarak regime, and who has never stood up with Arabs as Arab League Secretary General. Yet, he has the audacity to announce plans to run for presidency! What's worse? some Egyptians like him! I'm baffled by this. How are people so blind to his multiple flaws and weaknesses??

So, you see, there's been a lot on my mind and a whole lot of issues I've been contemplating and trying to resolve. But with the news of State Security's finale today, at least there's hope.

I have great respect for our new PM and I trust him to do the right thing. His cabinet has been working real hard and they're facing lots of challenges, so let's give them credit for doing what they're doing.

I don't however, share the same feelings towards our dear army. Day after day, I am losing faith in the army and they're starting to scare me big time!!! Now this is sad for me because my father is a former army general and I've always had great respect for military people. At least for those from my father's generation. That's because of dad's stories and experiences in the military and from meeting all his other military friends.

But what we're witnessing today in the form of army brutality, humiliation and dictatorship goes against the values of a respectable army. How can a soldier who is trained to defend his country and people jump on another human being, hit him with a whip or torture him with a Taser? How can an army person humiliate women with foul language and slaps on the face?

I hope our military realizes what they're doing is dangerous and try to do the right thing, because I know I'm not the only one who's losing faith in our army!