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
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*