I haven’t been able to write much about Egypt’s revolution in the past few years. I have been too traumatized. But today I find myself in need of acknowledging the day, January 25 of 2011, when it all started. I need to assert that I was there. I was on the tarmac when it all happened. I was part of it from start to finish. And now it is a part of me, for better or for worse.
My husband, a Scot, asked me two days ago whether I regret the revolution happening. Are things better or worse, he asked. They are worse, I said. But the country’s political, economic and security situations can’t be the only measure of our revolution’s success. We failed in all that. We were ready to revolt. But we weren’t prepared to take charge. We simply didn’t have the wherewithal. I vividly remember thinking the day after Mubarak resigned: I’ve done my job. We’ve removed the dictator. Now I need to leave the rest to the politicians who know how to take this forward. But they didn’t. The “good ones” squabbled amongst them, leaving room for the baddies to move in quickly and spread more evil than we had ever seen.
Despite all that, despite everything the country is going through, the revolution was not a total failure and I will never regret taking part in it. (more…)
On January 28, 2011, after killing hundreds of revolutionaries, the Egyptian security forces retreated from the scene, suffering a huge emotional defeat after revolutionaries took over important squares all over the country. During the months to come, they would rarely appear on the streets of Egypt’s major cities, seemingly hoping that the country would descend into chaos. It would appear, however, that instead of mere moping, they spent the months between February 2011 and June 2013 regrouping. Now, under the leadership of General Al-Sisi, a leader even more ruthless than ousted President Mubarak if that is even possible, the Egyptian security forces have staged a comeback as no other. The twist is that they now have the support of a large portion of the Egyptian population.
The telltale signs of Mubarak’s former regime are all there:
Churches are burning and sectarian violence has returned.
The fear of the Shiites is stronger than ever in the hearts of Sunni Egyptians.
Opposition media have all been shut down while the majority of remaining media organizations are towing the military’s line.
Men in civilian clothing are present with the Egyptian security forces during all standoffs, standing with and shooting from among their ranks.
Claims of a need to clamp down on terrorists are being used to impose control over a whole country through martial law and curfews.
Egypt’s jails are overflowing with political prisoners.
Every kind of rumor imaginable with barely any evidence to back it is making the rounds among the Egyptian public.
And today we hear news of Mubarak’s imminent release after judges cleared him from a second corruption case.
When the good times arrive, they arrive in a flood. (more…)