For the past few days, foreigners have been protesting in my country. Activists, mostly from the US and Europe, are on a march to enter Gaza and the Egyptian government is preventing most of them from passing through our borders.
For some background, read this BBC story dated Dec 28
Gaza marchers on hunger strike in Egypt
Since I started following these protests, I’ve gone through a rather wide range of feelings. I summarized those feelings in some tweets today:
NadiaE: Let me find a way to say what I want to say in short 140 character tweets about current foreign protests in Cairo…
NadiaE: My initial feeling was “how cute”. It was rather endearing to see foreigners camping out on 1 of Cairo’s important intersections in protest
NadiaE: It was also a bit funny learning that our police weren’t quite sure how to deal with it all, while they normally know exactly what to do
NadiaE: I continued to follow tweets and tweeps and some traditional media. The foreign protestors were getting more bold.
NadiaE: I understood yesterday (or was that the day before?) that they were in Tahrir Sq and at the Cairo Museum
NadiaE: Let me stop here for a sec: I am one of the ppl old enough to vividly remember our spate of terroristic attacks in the 90s
NadiaE: Although I do not condone the general prohibition of peaceful protests and gatherings in my country..
NadiaE: I do understand why such gatherings should not happen anywhere near tourist spots. Our police are OBLIGATED to protect our tourists
NadiaE: And it is much more difficult to protect tourists when there is chaos and large gatherings of protestors
NadiaE: And when the police started physically moving protestors from these hot spots (remember they left them sleep in the street b4)…
NadiaE: …the protestors whine about police brutality!
NadiaE: Back to my feelings. I like talking about feelings. I’m a feelings kinda person…
NadiaE: Yesterday I wasn’t really sure how to feel about these protestors. There were foreigners protesting in my country and causing trouble
NadiaE: And I wasn’t happy with some of the attitude I was seeing from them. One protestor tweeted this yesterday morning:…
NadiaE: Protestor tweet: :”Alright,up and ready to go. Let’s show Cairo what we’re made of.” Am I the only one that finds that insulting??
NadiaE: And then, in that same protestor’s blog, I read this today: “At the end of the protest, myself and other internationals decided..
NadiaE: “it would be best to escort the Egyptian citizens who bravely took part in the march, out of the area by holding on to their hands.”
NadiaE: “If the Egyptians were left alone then the riot police would attack them mercilessly so as we filed out,”
NadiaE: “we did so while holding on to one another until we were a bit away from the police.”
NadiaE: Please tell me that I’m not the only one who finds this statement just wrong and demeaning
NadiaE: But you know how I really feel today? I went back to thinking about the intentions of these protestors
NadiaE: These are not Arabs, or Muslims, or Palestinians, or Egyptians. These are ppl who have gone out of their way because they see injustice..
NadiaE: They have left their homes, warm beds, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and children..
NadiaE: They come knowing that this region of the world can be brutal, oppressive, abusive..
NadiaE: They come knowing that they are more unwelcome than welcome..
NadiaE: And they do come with an attitude problem…but if we try to look beyond that…
NadiaE: these are people who believe in something so much that they are willing to risk everything precious to stand up for it
NadiaE: Now…I thought that was US! I thought WE were all willing to die for Palestine. We say so ALL THE TIME
NadiaE: I thought WE were willing to stand up to dictators and get our butts kicked for Palestine. We say so ALL THE TIME
NadiaE: How many years have we been saying so? Someone remind me?
NadiaE: So after going through the feelings of “how cute” and “they have an attitude problem”, today I simply feel ASHAMED
NadiaE: I know first-hand the hurt Palestinians feel towards their Arab bretheren for leaving them without help for so long
NadiaE: And our excuses have been: its our governments; we have no armies; dont go to Palestine cuz that’s normalization with Israel
NadiaE: And then here come the foreigners..not even armies. Just normal ppl like you and me. And no matter how silly they seem theyr doing something
NadiaE: So that’s the short story of how I feel today. Not impressed by foreign protestors attitude but impressed with their resolve…
NadiaE: and utterly ASHAMED by Arab impotence (for the most part) for the past 62 years. Utterly ashamed
NadiaE: And let me tell you, in our part of the world, impotence for men is one of the most shameful states a man can ever be in
NadiaE: So let me say this loud and clear: Arab men have been impotent about Palestine for too long!
NadiaE: *gets down off her soapbox*