Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Psychology of The Revolts

Mohammed Yahia raised an important point on twitter a while ago:
I can't get over the feeling that for many people Tahrir has become an evening outing. I wonder how many here are revolutionaries?
Well, you should be expecting me now to say that Yahia is a counter-revolutionist and he knows nothing about Tahrir nor those people who scarifies their lives for the country. Right? On contrary, I totally agree with Yahia yet totally disagree with him on the same time.

First of all, I am not a psychologist, sociologist, or any other -ist, however I believe that we as humans have way more things in common than we can imagine, and that's why most of the time you can tell how people think by seeing how you yourself think in the first place. Hence, I asked myself, why do I go to Tahrir?

For sure I go there for a cause, I demonstrated in the 28th of January and the days that followed for a cause, and to make my voice heard. Yet, I cannot say this is the only reason. It might be one of many reasons, it might be the main reason, but still it is not the only one. In fact, I think we go to Tahrir and revolt for the exact same reasons we blog, tweet, or do any social activities online.

We blog for a cause, but also we blog for the ego-factor. Don't we like it when people share, comment or Facebook-like our blog posts? Why do people in demonstrations hold creative banners, shouldn't non-creative yet descriptive banners do the same job? Why do those people with creative banners smile when cameras follows them and their banners? I am not sure if the sense of pride is a part of this ego-factor or not, but it is common both in blogging and revolting too. It's not like I'm saying that people demonstrate to show off, but there is that sense of pride you have when seeing yourself participating in making a difference.

We tweet for a cause, but also we tweet to network. And so it is the case with going to Tahrir. We socialize there too. We meet people, we are social human beings and this is how we work, we love to meet and communicate with people. Throughout our lives we love networking.

Anyway, the question here, do those reasons make us less honourable? Do they make our revolution less ideal? Here comes the part where I disagree with Yahia. For me those reasons make us and our revolution more human. We are humans, and we shouldn't be ashamed of our human nature. On contrary, we can make use of them to defend our causes even better. It's totally human that the same people who sacrifice their lives in Tahrir square are those who sing, camp, play video games, socialize and love to be seen there. And sometimes love to be featured on CNN while they are there.

Mohammed Yahia added a comment below, it'd be nice if you can read it too.


Breathe said...

Thanks for the post and I'm glad to have inspired it :)

I also agree and disagree with you, and it'll be easier to explain here without the 140 character limit.

I have absolutely no problem with the revolutionaries having fun. I think it makes sense. God knows how much our creativity kept us sane during the 18 days of the revolution starting on Jan25.

Back then, we were down there with a vision. We wanted to make our voice heard and we wanted to bring down a dictator. We tried to come up with ways to have fun to keep ourselves going despite the danger, fear and death we saw regularly.

We were revolting, we had a passion for what we set out to do, but then we'd have people playing music and singing. Ramy Essam became our star because his singing and music gave us strength to continue.

However, when I went to Tahrir today it was different. There were thousands of people there, but many people were not there for a message. That wasn't why they set out to Tahrir. It became a hangout, the place to be for fun. They go there for fun, have fun, then head home and really do not care for the message.

It is pretty much like hanging out in the mall or the park. It is a place to go in the evening, eat, drink, flirt and listen to free music. That is all there is to it.

In a way, this feels like diluting the message we head out for. The message is weakened when there are 10,000 people there, but only 100 of them are there for the message while the rest are there for the laughs (and no message)

For me, the dividing line isn't about having fun or not, but about having a message or not.

Gabriela said...

I guess each person has his/her own reason to do something. Or not to do it, too.
I liked your analysis.

maha bahnassi said...

الأستاذ الفاضل /طارق عمر

تحية طيبة
أقوم بإجراء دراسة عن المدونين فى مصر فى إطار رسالتى للماجستير ،وأتشرف بإضافة مدونتكم فى عينة المدونات الخاصة بى ، وأرجو من سيادتكم تزويدى بعنوان بريدكم الالكترونى للإجابة عن استمارة الاستقصاء الخاصة بى ،وسيكون لكم جزيل الشكر على تعاونكم واهتمامكم ، وأتشرف بالرد على أى استفسار بخصوص طلبى .

مع شكرى للاهتمام والتعاون مرة أخرى
مها بهنسى المعيدة بكلية الإعلام-جامعة القاهرة