Saturday, April 09, 2011

It's getting ugly! It's getting violent!

A courageous officer is crying because he couldn't protect the protesters against Mubarak's thugs and the doctor is trying to calm him down.. that was during the revolution in January

Since Mubarak stepped down two months ago, protests did not stop. The majority of those protests was made by labors and trade unions and was calling for economic changes. However, every Friday, in Tahrir Square, there were new protests held for political reasons. The first few ones were meant to celebrate the success of our glorious nonviolent revolution and discussing with leaders the future of change and where we want Egypt to go. Successfully, the first few protests changed the Prime Minister and helped us have more political stability. We were very focused, very clear about what we want and very united. But yesterday’s protest was an exception; but in a negative way. It turned violent and two people were killed. What happened?! Simply, we got of the right track. We lost our vision and turned protesting into a habit rather than a means to get to our goals.

There are so many signs that we are not on the right track any more. There were early signs that yesterday’s protests were going to turn violent but we purposefully ignored them.  One of those signs was the inclusion of dissident military officers into our nonviolent protest. Those officers created videos and posted online calling for bringing down Tantawy, the chief commander of the Egyptian army who currently leads the Military High Council, which temporarily governs Egypt. In other words, Tantawy now has the supreme authority in the country and this is how the protesting officers attracted the civilian protesters to play their game on behalf of them. They created videos and posted online along with a Facebook group that claims that Mubarak and Tantawy are two faces of the same coin. They claimed that the army is a corrupt institution and that people should revolt against it.

Actually, it is absolutely obvious that the army is not corrupt and the people respect it and accordingly welcomed it when it came to streets during the last days of Mubarak. The army has even helped us succeed in this revolution, if not by pressuring with us, then at least by choosing not to shoot the protesters. When we knew that the Military High Council is going to lead the country until we establish the civil democratic state, no one objected as we felt we were in safe hands. So, seeing a bunch of 15-20 officers in their military uniform protesting against Tantawy yesterday in Tahrir Square was completely weird. In the Square, people were not even repeating their chants against the army so after a while they stopped. That is not what we want from our revolution.

For now, we do not care for their problems inside the Military structure. It is just another specific group cause similar to the causes of trade union that does not really have to do with the general mission and vision of the current revolution. Those problems are less in priority terms and can be solved later as part of the general re-construction of the country, of course after we get the top priority problems solved first.

I believe that what encouraged the dissident officers to get among the civilian protesters in such a way that we saw yesterday was the increasing fractions among the protesting groups. Last Friday, Tahrir Square was similar to a very big festival place where every group is rounded into a circle, shouting their own slogans. They only got unified for a moment when the earthquake hit Cairo in the late afternoon! Yesterday, the bigger groups got divided into even smaller ones. The Square yesterday was similar to a big market place: too much noise, no one listens to any one, the stage where leaders usually takes the microphone to address the people was super chaotic and disorganized… it was horrible and too ugly to bear. It reminded me with how we were during Mubarak time; divided and distracted. That normally led to excessive violence at the end of the day, when military forces came to the square late at night to arrest the dissident officers. According to law, military officers are banned from protesting, especially in the military uniform!

I think we should get back to where we were on February 11th, when we were strong enough to force a tyrant dictator like Mubarak to step down. We should get united and focused again. We should re-gain our vision and help the military (which once saved our lives) to steer the situation towards the civil democratic state that we always wanted to have. Some of our colleagues sacrificed their lives for this cause. It is absolutely a betrayal to forget their sacred sacrifice and forget about why we were here. Let’s get nonviolent again; this is how we were much stronger once. We need to get back to using our minds rather than our muscles.