I feel compelled to write. It feels as if it is my duty. But my brain is frozen. What is there left to say?
I spent part of today sending notes to friends trying to make sure they were still alive and unharmed. This wasn’t the first time I’ve done this. Over the past three years there have been many times when I have had family members or friends in the direct line of fire. When things began getting really bad just after the protests of June 30, 2013, I spent several days making sure that the remaining members of my direct family who were still in Egypt came to stay with me for a while in the UK. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be in a sort of mad frenzy to get my family out of our country.
When they all got out, I convinced myself I would stop caring about what happened in Egypt. “Now that my family is with me, Egypt could go up in flames for all I care,” I found myself saying. It wasn’t true. I still obsess over news from Egypt. Every single morning, the first thing I do when I wake up is reach for my laptop and say, “I need to find out what has happened in Egypt while I’ve been asleep.” I cry and rage over the deaths and the chaos. Today I’ve felt as if my blood pressure may be running high and wondered what I would say if I paid a quick visit to the doctor: “I’m not feeling very well, doc. I am stressing over what is happening in my country.” I am not alone. Egyptians inside the country and out are suffering as much as I am.
Words can no longer describe my frustration.
It sounds horrible to say this, but it’s not the number of people who died this morning in Cairo that upsets me. Well, of course it upsets me. But we’ve become accustomed to hearing about deaths in my country. What really upsets me is that too many people I know, good people, condone and/or justify the killings this time.
How do I go about describing what is happening in my country today? Just thinking about it makes me feel physically ill.
How can anyone deserve death by firing squad while protesting on the street? Where is the rule of law? If protesters are inciting hatred, apply the rule of law. If protesters are using weapons, as so many will claim, round them up and bring them to justice. If people are disrupting the peace, apply the rule of law. And do this to ANYONE who incites hatred, uses weapons, or disrupts the peace, not just to those who oppose the current government!
The problem in my country is that too many people want to decimate the opposition. This was true of Mubarak and his supporters. It was true of the Brotherhood and their supporters. It is true, today, of the military and their supporters.
The problem in my country is that the rule of law no longer applies, if ever it did.
The problem in my country is that hatred and irrational fear is the driving force behind the actions of many.
I see us all in a whirlpool, spiraling down and further down, completely out of control.
I feel let down by so many. I feel let down by the “revolutionaries” who spent so much of their time in the past three years out on the streets instead of working on building a stronger Egypt. I feel let down by politicians who spent so much of their time bickering amongst themselves rather than coming together to form a strong national coalition. I feel let down by the Islamists who spent so much of their time trying to shape Egypt into a twisted, ugly “Islamic” state instead of demonstrating the inclusiveness of our beautiful religion. I feel let down by the protesters who took to the streets on June 30, not fully comprehending the end-results of their actions. I feel let down by every single person who accepted the army head’s invitation to give him a mandate to combat “violence”. I feel let down by the naivety of those who thought he was sincere in his generalization. I feel more let down by those who really only wanted him to bring down the Muslim Brotherhood using any and all means possible.
When people started rallying for support of the June 30 protests I said, “Don’t do this! Please! People will die! The Muslim Brotherhood will become victims! If you want them removed this is not the way!” The Brotherhood had reached a stage where they had the least support they have probably ever had in their existence. If we just waited this out a little bit longer, so few would have voted them back into power. Now that they have been victimized, I do not believe this to be the case. They are regaining support and sympathy on the ground.
Mubarak’s cronies are back in full force. His security apparatus has taken over the country. I cannot even say we are back to where we were prior to the 2011 Revolution. We are in a far far worse state. And it will only get worse yet. Weapons are now everywhere in my country and amongst my countrymen. Vendettas will become a way of life.
We let ourselves down. As a people, we were able to unite for only 18 days. It was only after those 18 days that we began to show our true colors.
Egypt is no longer at a crossroads. Egypt has crossed the road and is heading straight for hell.