Feb 7, 2011

Be Patient Egypt

Entry 36:

11:15 pm Feb 7 2011-02-07

I have been silent for two days. That does not mean there were no calls from 'Tahrir'. I couldn’t pull the information close enough to stitch together a picture we could publish. My heart was in the square and outside of it where efforts were being made to support Egypt and what it is going through. But the task began to weigh on me for reasons I will mention below.

People in the field would say “I am living the absolute best time of my life”. They’d say this before they set out to their homes to take showers and short breaks and go back. However, upon touching base what happened to me, happened to them. They realized that, after what is less than two weeks, Egypt has already started to split up in opinion.

Massive campaigns by the media, and by people who had stakes to lose if the protestors continued, started to create dents in the image internally and in the spirit. Egyptians began to believe the “hype” that what they lose by the protestors holding their ground, could not and would not be made up for decades to come. Stories about the movement being from abroad and having a “private agenda” started to circulate and the movement took hit after hit.

While Europe and the United States hailed the Egyptians and their fight heroic, citizens at home called each other “traitors”. The ‘cause’ got confused and support was often taken from the very people who once built it. What was going on? So depressing, I could not bring myself to write.

I feared for my fellow protestors in the field. I feared that if I wrote positive things about the square, its organization and its wonderful spirit, that people would get angry at them. I feared that the prayers for them and those who lost their lives would stop.

I feel like I personally took a hit. Let me try to explain to those who will listen what is happening to us. One must understand, that revolutions, such as this one, catch you mid-stride while your life is still at its regular momentum.

 For example, prior to this event, as an American/Egyptian or Egyptian/American (there is no way to decide the order on that one), I had plans to be in the States by July. There is no way to look at that decision in the same way now. Do I stick to my plans? Do I even want to?

 A friend had lost her son due to complications of the swine flu a mere few days before the popular uprising. Her grieving process has been shaped by the extraordinary events that occurred. In a way she was robbed of the attention and support she would have taken normally, but in another she was somewhat distracted.

Children were preparing for exams; people were fighting with an already struggling economy. The sick and the elderly were struggling with their treatments and afflictions.

Then there was Tunis.

A contagious sentiment that echoed one present in most Arab hearts and minds travelled to a generation of Egyptians that were dealing with negative information overload. Stories with images, constantly circled the net, about the government, its stealing, killings and torture and the lack of channels for reprehension. Suddenly it sparked a sudden need to speak out.

The universe aligned itself as they say. For a mere few years ago, a twenty-something year old young man in America would invent Facebook not knowing that it would be a vital tool that would fight an oppression that spanned decades across many Arab nations. The domino effect of that was a group of young Egyptians using this tool to communicate a nationalistic sentiment that multiplied with every click of the mouse.

So your stride comes to a stop. The normal routine halted indefinitely. You have to think about “curfews”, a shortage of food, water, diapers, sanitary napkins etc…You can no longer send your kids to school and you do not know if you still have a salary or when banks will open. Credit cards are rendered useless and you pool the cash at home from family members.

First a sense of euphoria ensues. A victorious feeling that we are finally at that point where we are witnessing exciting things starting to happen. We gawk in disbelief as the government actually attempts to shuffle their cards.

The days go by and the intensity increases and with it the shortages and people start to feel like it is time to cut our losses. The sense that we should be “grateful” for what we got so far, starts to dance around like an imaginary gnome and tap people on the head. They begin to split apart in opinion and attack each other.

The initial camaraderie is replaced with distrust. We fight for the original feeling that had us initially smiling giddily to fellow citizens, we did not know, on the street. It seems misplaced. We weep. And we take the weeping to the square where the unity of sentiment nurses us.

Do not give up on those of us still in the square. For us, it is still the 25th of January. The death of our friends is fresh in our minds and is a fresh, gaping wound in parents’ hearts. We have not attained any of what they fought and died for. They would not have given their lives for a mere “adjustment” from the government.  

We realize that this is an era of Egypt where people are not well versed in the science of resistance. We realize the economic and emotional losses. We are not blind.

The NGOs that participated in this movement already came together and are creating real solutions to ensuing poverty-related issues. We are doing our best to coordinate efforts to educate everyone on political process and dealing with economic depressions. We ourselves are learning this information first to enable ourselves to impart it. We are honoring the dead.

Be patient Egypt. Be patient. Be patient. We are your children and we are doing what is unprecedented, which by nature is misunderstood. The “benefit of the doubt” is the very least of our rights with what we have achieved so far locally and globally.

In the square, there is still no access to toilets. It rained on us for two days and our meager beddings are wet. We miss our family life and are in no way “prepared” for an existence like this.

But we are solid in our intentions.

Egypt first.

Egypt first.

 A system that works.

Promises we can trust.

Honoring the martyrs by staying the course.

The economy will rise because we will work hard as a unit to bring it back. Tourists will come in droves because “The Egyptian” has become a symbol of freedom and his land worth visiting. Streets are already “mysteriously” getting cleaner. Children can’t wait to go back to school and do something.

There is a “force”. Please tell me you can feel it.

Please tell me you can sense our nationalism has been re-born over night.

Please tell me that you know that protests are still taking place all over Egypt, and not just in this Liberation Square.

Please tell those still in protest, that though some of you may not fully understand their demands now, you will stand by them as they fought for you and your children.

That is only fair.

Be patient Egypt. We will win it all back together.

God Bless.

1 comment:

  1. Praying that the Lord will continue to direct and encourage you. Doing the right thing is not always easy, doing the right thing is not always popular. You are rewriting the history of your country and the whole world is watching. Most revolutions have happened without tv cameras and blogs, hopefully these tools will expedite your revolution so no more lives have to be lost. May the Lord protect you and your family in this challenging time.