Saturday, February 19, 2011

6 Years Blogging

My first blog post was in the 19th of February 2005, and here I am celebrating my 6th blogging anniversary today.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Unordered Notes on Jan25

I am one of those people who were never used to writing their notes and memories in notebooks. My handwriting is a good proof on how I never wrote memories before having a blog. But during the Egyptian revolution, and after the regime turned the internet off, I found myself reaching out for my notebook and pen and started taking notes of the events taking place around me and thoughts taking place in my mind. And here I am writing those random memories before the notebook gets lost.

Mubarak Thugs

On the "Friday of Rage", the police forces ran away, leaving the whole country unsecured. Later on we heard that many building were on fire, and after that many prisoners escaped from their prisons. Up till now, there are two scenarios for what happened. The first one states that when the policemen were defeated in front of the protesters, they decided to take revenge from the whole country by doing all this. This scenario even goes further by saying that the police helped the prisoners to run away in order to attack people. It's also said that it's a part of Mubarak's plan to give everyone choice between chaos and order, between his rule and his violence! The second scenario, which is the policemen's favourite scenario by the way, says that the police forces where outnumbered by the Egyptian citizens, and millions of people all over the country started attacking them, burning police stations, and breaking into jails to liberate the prisoners there. But the question is, if this scenario is true, isn't it suspicious that all of the Egyptian people were against the police forces? Doesn't this make us wonder if the police brutality all over those years was to be blamed here!?

On Friday, people were chanting "we want to topple the regime", but later on at night, and when everyone was expecting Mubarak to step down, they experienced his roller coaster when he said that instead of stepping down, he will change the prime minister! The funny thing is that in the next day, I heard chants like "we want to topple the president", as if he is really too stupid to understand what they meant by their previous chant.

NDP Tools

After thousands of prisoners escaped from their jails all over Egypt, and there were no policemen to be relied on for people's security, the TV started asking people to get down to the streets and secure their own homes. Some people went to the streets with their guns, some others took knives with them, and I went their with a broom in my hand. We stood there all the night, waiting for army forces to be deployed in our district in order to secure it. After a couple of nights and a series of fake alarms and few gun shots here and there, a tank approached us. I then found myself experiencing one of Gabriel García Márquez' magical realism where a tank was just passing by my home in the empty streets that used to be full of cars all day long the previous day, and my first reaction to seeing the tank was saluting them with the broom in my hand.

During the revolution the Egyptian state owned TV, kept on wondering why there are many foreigners in Tahrir square. They started to claim that those are traitors who are here to topple the Egyptian patriot regime! They even went further by claiming that they are bribing people with KFC meals in order to keep on demonstrating. It's one of the common tricks usually used by dictators where they claim that they are the only patriots there and all those opposing to them are traitors. It's their own way to get people's sympathy. Anyway, an Egyptian thinker called "Ammar Ali Hassan" commented on the presence of many foreigners in the square and the real reason behind it. On one hand, put yourself in their shoes, imagine yourself in a country where there is a revolution taking place there, won't you be eager to witness it!? Also, the idea of revolutions itself is somehow a romantic idea for them. In the democratic world of today, you have many other means to topple a regime such as votes, and polling stations. And they have no chance to witness a revolution except in a historic Film about Che Guevara, or in one of the Middle Eastern countries.

Youth and old men

During the revolution they insisted in the media outlets to give it names like "Youth Revolution" or "Facebook Revolution". But the people in Tahrir square were from all ages, and sure many of them are Facebook users, however I am sure many many others never heard of Facebook or the internet. May be because it started on Facebook, and it's believed to be the first revolution in history to be arranged by Facebook events. But still, the revolution survived in its early days when there was no internet in the whole country. I sure many people agree with me on this, and here is El-Baradie saying the same thing in one of his tweets, "Do not paint this as a *youth* revolution. Youth were the spark but all Egyptians embraced it and turned it into a glowing fire".
Also during the revolution - and even now after Mubarak is gone - the media outlets are trying to figure out who are the leaders of the revolution. I am speaking for myself here, but I am sure that many other as well have never met most of those people who appear on TV every now and then under the name, "the representatives of the Egyptian youth in Tahrir square". Sure some people like Wael Ghonim planned for demonstrations on the 25th of January, and I think we all should be thankful to them, but even Wael himself refused to be called a leader. The calls for the revolution were spread like a real chain reaction, and it in such kind of revolution it is a real waste of time to try to find leaders and representatives.

Different people had different roles in Jan25 revolution. Some people helped in picking the timing for starting the demonstrations, some others where in the front lines, some were arrested, some lost their eyes dies to the police rubber bullets, and hundreds were even dead. Some people slept in the streets for days in Tahrir square, and some even came out with the revolution's twitter hashtag, #Jan25. And if I am to compare myself to all those people, my role was the least significant role in all those. I tried my best to be in Tahrir square almost every day, as I hated to see the square empty for a single day, and also during the revolution, Tahrir square was the only place that made me feel I am in the Egypt I like. Yet, I'll always be proud to be one of the millions who participated in toppling the regime.

Related Posts:
Mubarak's Roller Coaster,
No More Confusion,

Friday, February 4, 2011

No More Confusion

In my previous post, I said that I was confused, I couldn't tell then if the revolvers have achieved at least a significant part of their demands, or the revolution was murdered. I was confused for few moments if we should wait and see if the regime will fulfil its promises in the coming few month, or if we'd rather continue to protest.


But thanks to Hosni Mubarak, I am not confused any more now, as few hours after his speech the regime sent their thugs to attack the peaceful protesters. And yesterday, I was taking some medical supplies to Tahrir Square, as the Ministry of health doesn’t give a shit to the wounded people there, and on my way Mubarak’s police officers stole the medical supplies and told me it’s either to give them the bag or they will arrest me. The officer also called the protesters, "they are traitors, and we shouldn't offer them any help". So it's clear that after all those years, they still prefer to play the Arab-dictators favourite game, the "Patriots vs. Traitors" game.

The stupidity of the regime is the revolvers best weapon now, and the regime made it clear that their promises are not to be trusted. Hope this is clear too to those who fell for the pro-regime propaganda that is being spread on Facebook in the past few days.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mubarak's Roller Coaster

Since the 25th of January and I've been living in a roller coaster. A continuous series of ups and downs every moment. I didn't participate in the first day of the revolution. I was a bit scared, a bit not convinced that it will change anything, and also I prefer to follow such events on twitter and facebook instead of participating in them.

Then protesters were killed by the security forces even though the protesters insisted that it will remain a peaceful protest. Two days later, the government switched off the mobile phones, the internet, blackberry, and all other means of communication. They thought that they might prevent people from communicating and arranging for further demonstrations. But the truth is that such information blackout made me - as well as thousands of other people - eager more to get down to the streets and participate in the "Friday of Anger".

Tear Bombs on 15 May Bridge, 28 January 2011

Again, the police brutality didn't stop. Rubber bullets, tear bomb, and even lethal bullets were used in different places in Egypt. They were doing their best to prevent the protesters from crossing the bridges and going to Tahrir square. We tried different bridges in different areas, but we faced the same resistance from the police, till a curfew was announced and I preferred to go back to home, along with many others. Later on, on news channels, we found out that police was defeated and people succeeded in crossing to down town, where Tahrir square is located. Later on, news from here and there claimed that the police left their locations on purpose, they unlocked the prisons for looters to go to the streets and terrify people, and some people on TV even claimed that the police and (NDP) National Democratic Party's militias participated in terrorizing people. With the high death toll, the pressure of the United States as well as many other international entities on the government, we expected the president to resign. They announced that Mubarak will give a speech in a while, but it was delayed for hours. And during those hours every one was sure that he was preparing himself to resign. Then came the speech, and he said nothing but changing his prime minister!

In the following three days, all security forces and policemen dissipated from the streets. Protesters stayed in Tahrir Square calling for a million-persons protest/march on Tuesday. People at homes lived in a state of terror, where they carried sticks and knives every night and spent their nights in the streets protecting their homes and businesses. People also cleaned the streets by themselves, and protected some governmental and national buildings. During those three days, every visit you pay to Tahrir Square makes you believe that Mubarak should be now packing his stuff to leave the presidential palace, then a single glance on the national TV makes you believe he is getting himself ready for thirty more years inside the palace.

Hit the road Mubarak, and dun you come back no more, no more, no more

Then came Tuesday, and at least million persons went to demonstrate in down town. By the way, let's wait for more photos taken by people that day as they will better portray it than words. Also thousands of protesters went in other places in Egypt. And by the night, after seeing those huge numbers in the streets, people were sure that Mubarak will give another speech. They were sure of seeing the speech, yet they were not very sure of its content. Lots of them were expecting him to finally resign, yet some other were suspicious. And once more, I experienced Mubarak's roller coaster. I was happy after his speech. Although he didn't resign, but he promised not to run in the following presidential elections and promised to let the parliament fix the parts of the constitution that limit the presidential candidates to the members of the NDP or the ones approved by the party only. But after a while, I found myself wondering, isn't this just another manoeuvre by the president. Almost all of the members of the parliament are from the NDP, so no one can be sure that they will really fix anything. Also, after the speech, we found demonstrations everywhere in support for the president and asking him to stay in charge. Such kind of suspicious pre-organized demonstrations along with those suspicious people who started calling the different TV shows, weeping and asking the president to stay. The president didn't call for a trial for those in the Ministry of Interior for their role in all this mess and chaos. All this made me suspicious of what have just been said in the speech.

Mubarak, Teer Enta. A la the Egyptian version of Bedazzled by Ahmed Mekky and Donia Samir Ghanem

I'm still confused. I really can't tell if the revolvers have achieved at least a significant part of their demands, or the revolution was murdered. I am not the only one confused here, many protesters are confused too. Some are saying that they have to stay and calling for another demonstration next Friday, and some others are calling people to get back to their homes end those protests altogether. Nothing is sure yet, but I am just sure of one single thing, Egypt has changed. I still remember that poor lady I met in Tahrir who said something that summed the whole thing in few simple words. She told me, "A couple of days ago I was so scared of every single police soldier, and today I am here protesting against the head of the state".

Update: The pro-Mubarak demonstrators/militia started now to attack the protesters in down town!

Update: Photos from the past few days.