Sunday, November 19,  2017

Politics

Lacrimosa

BY Mahmoud "Sandmonkey" Salem

Lacrimosa. They say that all revolutions follow the same cycle: They start in the winter, they heat up in the spring, they lag in the summer, and then you have the fall of the counter-revolution and the final battle for the future. If that cycle is to be believed, then again, the Egyptian revolution is ahead of its schedule, and we are still going through hyper-time. Events are accelerating ahead of schedule, and fatigue is getting to all of us. This is very evident in the national mood in Egypt now.


We are all talking to each other, but we are not listening to one another. This will bite us in the ass, no doubt about it, and yet no one really cares. The “non-revolutionary” population are sick and tired of the revolutionaries, who they view as nothing more than hooligans without a plan, while the average revolutionary response to “regular” people’s dismay or distrust is that they’ve always acted this way, ever since February. The “regular” people are always unhappy, but offer no realistic solutions or never talk about the real problem objectively, so why bother? And this is why this revolution is the only revolution in history where the Revolutionaries had to convince their people, time and time again, that they are on the same side. And even that has stopped. 


Beyond all this lies the truth that this revolution isn’t a bunch of unemployed, unhappy spoiled kids and poor people in Tahrir Square; it’s a violent reaction to a problem. And it’s not just one problem; it’s a set of problems that are detrimental to our country as a whole and that the majority chooses to ignore. Corruption has reached unprecedented levels in Egypt, accompanied with its cousin inefficiency, and the general consensus was this: every one minded, no one did anything about it. They simply adapted, and thought only of today, until the day came when the country moved as one. But corruption isn’t the problem that the revolution is the reaction to. The real problem is the relationship between the citizen and the state, on every level you can imagine:  from the concept of legal justice and how the legal system should function, to the concept of personal rights, to the concept of services provided (education, healthcare, etc.) and their quality, all the way to economic, social and urban planning, which are all missing or dysfunctional. And this isn’t new and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. It was all not addressed for the longest time, and when it was addressed it was done in the most reactionary way possible. There was no accountability, hence there was no advancement. More than anything, this revolution is about holding your government accountable, and unfortunately your only weapon, to ensure that some accountability is achieved and some progress is made, is pressure through demonstrations. Still.


Sorry Mom… Sorry Dad… Sorry General Population: we don’t mean to upset you by confronting you with your problems. If we only can just wish them away. You are forced into this game of Tahrir, where the general population just wants peace and quiet, while change only happens through pressure applied there. So, you always end up going there because that’s the pattern and you want this to stay peaceful, but you are always victim to organized attacks there by “thugs.” Always.  And as time goes by, you find yourself getting accustomed to street battles, while your peaceful protests get you nowhere, so you start thinking that maybe, just maybe, peaceful protesting is no longer working. So you get dragged into one more violent confrontation after the other, while the media screams, “See, look, they are thugs. They can’t be trusted,” and some believe them while the others just watch in dismay as the illusion of the “peaceful revolution” starts dismantling before their eyes. All the while, the revolutionaries lose public support, are filled with fatigue, hysteria and in-fighting, like the protagonists of some psychotic Greek tragedy, they are continuing in their journey, as their compatriots keep falling left and right, only half understanding that the security apparatus is simply drawing out the battle to weaken them over time, so that when the time comes, they have their absolute victory, kill the revolution and we are back to business as usual.

 

If only it was that simple…  

 

Here’s the rub: this is not about the protesters. If we all die, or get sent to jail, it won’t make an iota of difference, because, in reality, we are not the problem. The problem will continue existing regardless of us because people will no longer take mistreatment or abuse from the police or the army. The problem will continue existing because even the poorest most uneducated Egyptian gets that something is wrong and needs to be changed. And with the eventual death of the concept of “peaceful protesting” as a means to achieve our demands, another type of not so peaceful protesting will become more popular. It’s only, as always, a matter of time.


I have said it a million times: This revolution happened to prevent another revolution, one that will be much more violent and one that we all see coming. All of our demands were geared towards diffusing that powder keg, and as they don’t get achieved, our ability to diffuse it becomes null. This is not fear-mongering. It’s simply reality. So please don’t blame us when that happens. Everything we have ever done, and all that we are doing now is ringing the alarm, hoping to wake you up to help us resolve this before it’s too late. We are pushing and fighting for police accountability, because we can’t live in a country where the police can torture and kill its people and walk away. There is no pride in belonging to such a country. And we don’t know what to do, but the police are rogue, the courts are a sham, the SCAF is either unable or unwilling to even remove the people that killed January 25 protesters from their positions of power, and the system works for no one. We are stuck in this vicious cycle, and in the end something has got to give. They are counting on you hating us, on you reaching the inevitable conclusion that maybe, just maybe, we deserve what’s coming to us. And maybe this is why we stopped talking to each other. We have taken different paths now, and we don’t even insist on bringing each other along anymore.


One day this will all be over, and this whole drama will be nothing but a distant memory of a time when the whole world was on fire, and the future seemed no longer as a promise, but a threat. Hopefully we will both be there, in a country that has finally healed, and has a future. And we will get there, not because the revolutionaries are right or smart, but because of one inescapable historical truth, that has been proven time and time again over the past 2000 years: You cannot oppress your people for long, for they are always too many for you to control forever. Eventually that coin flips. You can count on it.

 

Mahmoud Salem is an author, blogger and activist and a business development consultant.  His blog can be found at http://www.sandmonkey.org and he can be found on Twitter @Sandmonkey



 

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