11 September 2001 – It was hell for everyone

11 Sep
New York City – ground zero 2003

I was in Anaheim, California, it was still dark outside as my sister and I were up getting ready to go to high school. This was the first Tuesday in my second week as an Egyptian Muslim American freshman at Cornelia Connelly high school in California, an all-girls private catholic school in Orange County, it was also just my 3rd month of living in America for the first time after moving from Cairo earlier in June of that year.

What a day that literally changed my life like so many others in America and around the world. This was the very first day I realized what my political identity meant as others viewed me or “us”, the Arab/Muslims/Terrorists, or any synonym. What a feeling to be 14 years old curious about new beginnings to have the challenge of living as an Arab American during this time. I got dressed as I watched live on TV the 2nd plane going into the 2nd tower by 6:05 am California time. My family knew this was big, but we must go on and go to school, so my dad dropped me off. We had a school assembly and were immediately sent back home, as news were breaking that flights were still in the air and possibly heading to Los Angeles, schools were canceled, universities closed and everyone was sent home in fear of another attack.

When I got back home, we had dish network Arabic TV, so in one living room I had the local ABC news and in another I was watching Aljazeera and literally, I was trying to understand the world from both sides while I was in the middle dealing with how we are going to live in this country being Arab Muslims after this. My uncle, in an effort to look more patriotic, he went and printed 100s of stickers “united we stand” and passed them around and stuck them everywhere. I didn’t understand what was going on and I knew from that moment on, our lives in the US would be forever different. The FBI was at our house the next day, questioning my father as we lived in an Arab American neighborhood, we were terrified even though, we all were American citizens except my dad who had a valid business visa with all his kids born there. We had nothing to worry about yet still we were terrified and couldn’t fathom how our lives might be faced with similar situations in the future just because we were Muslim Arab Americans.

I was asked by my school to give a presentation on Islam because no body knew why this was happening and why those “Muslim terrorists” hate America? This was their way to “raise awareness” that Islam is not the problem, that it is a peaceful religion. I don’t know why they picked me, but basically I was the only brown Muslim kid in school who just came from Egypt (fun). I had Arab American friends get fired from jobs, get attacked, receive threats, asked to remove their hijab. I mean it was very bad in the early months and years after 9/11. Generally Americans couldn’t understand why and how 911 happened. Books, documentaries, conspiracy theories filled the air, while Bush and Cheney were on a-war-on-terror spree going to Afghanistan and then Iraq, killing and torturing thousands of more people in the name of 9/11 while Arab Americans were getting the other end of the sour stick of discrimination and racist attacks just because they are Muslims and/or Arabs.

We must remember all the people who suffered as a result of these attacks who had nothing to do with it in any way shape or from, it was not just Americans or fallen heroes, but also hundreds of thousands of other people around the world who suffered from these horrific attacks and everything that followed after; two longest wars in American history, nations altered and lives that can never be the same after that dark day in human history.

I can safely say this day in history was the start of my politicization, I knew after my experience because of 911, I wanted to study political science. I visited New York City for the first time in 2003. Below are my pictures of the 911 site taken out of the scrapbook I made after this trip. My sister and I took a stroll looking around where it all happened. It was astonishing that there were still so many memorial sites around the area and people visited everyday for years after it had happened. “We will never forget.” 20 years later and our lives are forever different because of these attacks. The world went on fighting terrorism, going to endless wars, killing 1000s more Americans and hundred of thousands more non-Americans. The failure of the war on terror is the biggest lesson we should learn after 20 years. We must remember and never forget, it was hell for everyone. 

New York City – ground zero 2003

p.s the angry Egyptian name was my nickname in high school, it’s not a coincidence that when i named my blog it was very appropriate to have it as my political voice, it was because of these attacks and whatever followed that I started seeing the world through this lens of a new world order and it just made me angry.

10 years: Defeated but not Dead #Jan25

25 Jan

ُThroughout the last 10 years, with worsening political conditions in Egypt, it became a self-defense mechanism to bottle-down the amount of pain, guilt, anger and constant feeling of injustice as a consequence of every person who ever believed in the ideals and aspirations of the Jan25th Revolution. We are still fighting for the 60,000+ political prisoners including close friends and comrades in the fight, who are paying the ultimate sacrifice in addition to those who died fighting for ever asking for bread, freedom and social equality. We are still fighting in silence and in a parallel Egypt than that is portrayed in state-run media, culture, press, and general sentiment towards what they now call “nakba yanayer” meaning the January “catastrophe.” How did the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to my generation that changed our lives go from the greatest event in recent Egyptian history to our daily nightmare dealing with its consequences of its defeat. It became so difficult to still “celebrate” memories of the Jan25th highlights or small achievements when we are drowning in political prisoners cases of horrible prison conditions, torture, forced-disappearances, death, suicide, exile, ostracized by society, local media, and just mere paranoia amid a global pandemic under a military dictatorship. How do we continue to live under these conditions?

Surviving the 2013 military coup in Egypt is a daily struggle for most Jan25th activists/generation, who are still left with the task and moral obligation to keep fighting for those who are paying the highest sacrifice and price for ever striving for political change in this country just like the 1000s of other Egyptians who did yet we are still somewhat free under daily threat that if we make the “wrong” move in the eye of the state, our fate could be similar. It’s a never ending cycle of repression, fear, erasing history, inciting wider divisions within society that perpetuates fearing the “other,” and consolidating power, counter-revolution at its best. My choices, and choices of others like me, whoever took part in this revolution, I believe, are the biggest testament or measure to what happened or what has been achieved since Jan25th uprising.

Photo By Jonas Fredwall Karlsson 2011, Tahrir Square, Cairo.

Revolutionary change is a process and takes a long time for their outcome to be tangible, we might not know the real benefit and losses of Jan25 for years to come. The January 25th revolution opened so many doors to progressive ideals that were either forbidden or widely unaccepted by society. In areas of culture, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and the general sentiment that people have the power to take down a president by the power of the people peacefully protesting, striking and using their position within society to bring about political change, that it is possible, are some areas where the uprising was a catalyst for change. The revolution smashed doors and broke barriers of fear. People might not be demanding change right now because they are content or afraid, but both the state and the people know that it is possible to bring change through the streets and now the state is feared by the people and vice versa. This is what governs our daily life. Because the state is so afraid of a repeat of the “January 25th events” as they like to call it trying to erase history (it is still celebrated as police day and not a revolution), they have completely closed off any opening for any opportunity that could or might lead to anything close to social mobilization or a serious political opposition. The laws are harsher, impossible for assembly or to allow any type of opposition of any kind in any area of life not just politically, the cost is so high and for what will come out of it all?

Change happens when the masses are no longer content with the status quo and have nothing more to lose, fertile conditions for change are present (accumulation of mobilization, an event that sparks movements like Khalid Said or event in the region like the Tunisian Rev) and a fight in leadership or those who are in power (the Gamal Mubarak project which was rejected by many of the old guard). Those were three main factors that led to the January uprising in the first place, and if we look today if these same factors are applicable or not and I can say with confident as a person who lived in Egypt all those 10 years and witnessed first hand what it is that we are going through, none of those factors are here 10 years later.

The leadership at the top is in full power and there are no major divisions within the ruling class, there is nothing happening politically that would spark any social unrest, people are no longer confident in change through the streets. The issues that Jan25 tried to challenge still haven’t been fixed. We still see police brutality more than ever before, poverty is still a major national crisis, inflation and minimum wage has not improved. Egypt had to borrow a lot of money from the Gulf, IMF and World Bank to build back the economy that looks like it’s improving on the surface, but we are being drowning in un-payable debt. Rights of minorities is still in question if they are better off today than before while the threat of extremists is still looming especially in Sinai. Counter-revolution is in full control, and there is almost no light at the end of the tunnel; however, I am still hopeful not because I am romantic or nostalgic about Jan25th ideals, but because the situation and level of oppression in Egypt is politically, socially, and economically unsustainable.

Our test will be in the next time the masses will reject the new status quo, and I believe that we are still years away from anything happening in Egypt simply because those factors that lead to Jan25 do not exist anymore and until they do, we will remain in the daily struggle of existence under a military dictatorship, where the revolution is dead and it is only alive within those who lived it. Existence is resistance and self-preservation is our quest so we may do better next time and learn from the many lessons of defeat. We are defeated but we are not dead, we are depleted, but we are not finished, we live to tell the stories of triumph and struggles, we live to learn the lessons that power of the people is more powerful than people in power. We tell the story for once, achieving what seemed impossible and made it possible.

Mubarak was removed by the power of the people, not by facebook, not by just people in Tahrir square, not by bloggers and tech savvy activists like me, but by the 1000s of ordinary Egyptians who took to the streets and went on strike in their factories that pushed the military to sacrifice Mubarak for a better Egypt. Mubarak was removed, faced little in consequences, but he didn’t continue to rule, his sons never came into power. Mubarak is dead, his legacy will be forever tarnished by our actions that exposed him to the world and ultimately placed him in the trash bin of history next to Ben Ali, Gaddafi, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Even though he didn’t pay much for his crimes in terms of legal consequences, just seeing the king dethroned is a lesson for every oppressed person out there to know that it is possible when they tell you it’s impossible.

The lessons out of the Egyptian revolution are many and we see how its mechanisms and tools still inspire change throughout the world. Toppling every Mubarak is an idea and ideas are tested with time, 10 years after toppling Mubarak, we have learned that no matter how long injustice may rule, one moment is possible, toppling injustice with peaceful resistance is the ultimate beacon of hope to all the oppressed around the world. Movements evolve and we learn from each other. The Egyptian revolution is a lesson for many people around the world to study and build upon, so we do better next time. We are the light and we will keep on shining it with our lives to inspire change, freedom, civil direct democracy and equality for all. 

You can always check my photography from the 18 days and beyond here

Ode to Myself

21 Dec Painting by Aviv Sara Benn. Source berlin-artparasites

The idea of respect in long-term relationships is crucial when it comes to ending one. I feel like this is one of the things that defines the core of the person you are dealing with. No matter who did what to end this bond or if it is mutual, one should always think of how this person will be remembered in the memory of the other. At least, this is important to me. I am a bit fixated on idea of how I will remember my exs; will i curse them, will i long for the good that there once was, will i want to smash everything that reminds me of them, or will i become indifferent?

This is part a choice each person makes, but also it is a choice on behalf of the other person on how he or she wants to be remembered. Every person that walks into one’s life leaves an imprint that can never be erased, whether we like or not, hide it or not, it is there, part of our emotional DNA. Everything that comes after is shaped in a way or another by this irreversible imprint. This is why letting someone in your life is not a simple endeavor, it is both impulsive and submissive. What I find interesting is how this little event in the scheme of one’s life shapes so much of who we choose to become and how we interact in future relationships.

It is some sort of a domino effect that builds up as you grow and the various imprints people leave in you start to shape your choices and actions. A dialectal process molding your emotional and sensible being. I feel that I have reached a sense of maturity when it comes to making people’s imprints less harsher on me, but I am still susceptible to manipulation and emotional defeat like i am susceptible to great love. We all are in different levels, even those who defeat us.

In an ode to one self, I would like to tell me that I am every imprint I allowed those who left me to leave. I choose to embrace those scars and love them, forgive them, and decorate them with beautiful graffiti. Just like Frida drew all over her body cast, I am the artist of my demons.

Frida

Mubarak’s Release is No Suprise

22 Aug

Mubarak’s release is one of many police officers and criminals already freed under both SCAF and Morsy. The judicial system in Egypt isn’t apolitical, there is no neutrality here; what would one expect Mubarak’s men and system trying Mubarak do?
On the other hand, Morsy’s idea of ‘change’ in the judiciary during his one year of power was replacing Mubarak’s men with his own under the same corruption, but serving MB’s interest instead of the old regime.
Now, with Sisi’s counter-revolutionary mandate, it is clear that the release of Mubarak is the beginning of many old-regime comebacks; emergency law is only the tip of the iceberg.
The conditions under which Mubarak was released; curfew, emergency law, Sisi’s mandate ‘to fight terrorism’ are all not a coincident to the timing for Mubarak’s release even if he was eventually going to be found ‘not guilty’ and released in this monkey trial.
This is more of a proof that we are facing a counter-revolutionary mandate for the return of the old regime. While the very guilty Muslim Brothers are used as scapegoats, the criminal SCAF is leading counter-revolution smartly and viciously.

Mubarak, Tantawy, Morsy, Sisi; your day will come and revolutionary justice will be served!

The people will make justice

The people will make justice

Suckers for the U.S.Aid

21 Aug

This just gives a reality check to many Egyptians calling for US aid to be cut off as if it is as easy as having some “courage” and an off-and-on button switch, well it is not that simple..
Sisi can’t afford to do so and this article explains why. Don’t hold so much hope in Sisi or SCAF for that matter, who already has military orders lined-up all until 2018, and “whose planes won’t fly and tanks won’t drive without that sustainment money that the $1.3 Billion allocates.”
For Egypt to be independent is for the revolution to win, and more importantly to spread. Relying on an army that has “neglected pilot training so badly that the Egyptian air force has one of the worst crash rates of any F-16 fleet in the world” won’t really “scare off” anyone, but us, the Egyptian people.

It is like a never ending abusive marriage, and we must break the cycle…

A Militarized Media: a dirty war making many of us blind

20 Aug

Ever since the darkest day in Egypt’s history 14 August 2013, when over 800 people were killed by security forces in dispersing the over a month-long pro-Morsy Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins, Egyptians have been under curfew from 7pm to 6am in 10 provinces mostly resorting to TV for information and news.

Over 50 churches have been attacked and burnt in Upper Egypt following the dispersal of the sit-ins, yet very little media coverage on them except when MB are being blamed for it. Some police stations have also been attacked and police brutally murdered in Kardasa, which got the media attention because it villainizes the MB even more than the actual crimes they did commit in the past.

Meanwhile, Sinai has been witnessing its fair share of attacks on various security points and stations over the past weeks, but most recently yesterday, where the media for the first time, aired corpses of 25 conscripts killed and covered in Egyptian flags coming down from a military plane straight from Sinai.

The unrest, clashes and deaths continued reaching the death toll to over 1600 including a number of journalists. Hundreds have been arrested and many are still missing.

On 19 August 2013, 38 additional prisoners were killed in police custody while being transferred to prison. They were killed allegedly with suffocation by excessive tear gas fired inside the truck. The Egyptian media on the other hand, is not really interested in that since the pictures of bodies are extremely graphic, and would suggest to confirm that story and would make MB “victims,” which is the one thing MB are not in the eyes of Egyptians as directed by SCAF’s media propaganda and MB’s long history of crimes and violence.

The very following day, 25 conscripts were killed in Sinai in an armed attacked, which quickly spun the media to erase any speculations about what really did happened to those 38 prisoners killed by suffocation, and almost instantly all media outlets focused solely on the killed conscripts except Aljazeera.

The media has been a crucial player in directing and polarizing the discourse of the unfolding of events in Egypt. We have state media and several privately-owned Egyptian channels that include CBC, Dream, Nahar, Tahrir, Mehwar Sada El Balad, Qahera Wal Nas, and OnTV, all singing the same chorus of SCAF’s version of the discourse of what has taken place in Egypt since June 30th onwards.

More ridiculously, all have put some variation of “Fighting Terrorism” badge permanently on their screens. OnTV and Mehwar channels have even dubbed their 2nd channels with live English translation in hopes of getting the message to the western press, which has been accused of failing to show “MB as terrorists monsters who are burning down and killing Egypt.”

Inciting one-minute promo videos of “Egypt above all” and “The People of Egypt against Terrorism” mixed with two-seconds shots of Youtube videos from the clashes showing armed men attacking others, and rapid Independence- Day background music replaces commercial breaks and puts Bush’s “Fight on Terrorism” campaign to shame.

On the other hand, we have some international and regional media who are picking sides. The most favorite example is Aljazeera and CNN, whom have pre-selected guests that only represent pro-MB’s arguments and ignoring the other camp’s argument.

Aljazeera has streamed almost every MB event since the start of the Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins and been the leading voice of the MB.

On the international level, CNN has become the American version of Aljazeera. Also pre-selecting guests who are mostly on MB’s side and has shown a lack of investigative balanced coverage. I even got a call from CNN to comment on Rabaa’s massacre and when I told the reporter I denounce the massacre, but I am against both SCAF and MB, she said she will call me back, and never did.

Aljazeera has been very unwelcome in general in Egypt lately, but since Rabaa sit-in, it has basically become the MB’s mouthpiece and in return viciously attacked by Egyptian media and on the streets. The Aljazeera in Egypt have had its office closed after security has confiscated cameras since the 3rd of July by police forces following the removal of Morsy.

In addition to the anti-Aljazeera hate posters on the streets, Aljazeera journalists have been banned from state official press conferences and forced out by journalists from conferences at times. Not to mention the Aljazeera journalists Mohamed Badr and Abdullah Al Shaimy unlawful arrests and continuation of their detention.

ajhandresized

“The makers of sectarianism”

To be fair, Aljazeera hasn’t sunk to the level of ONTV. Every now and then it at least invites an opposition figure to comment on the phone and even Hassan Shahin, Tamroud’s spokes person was invited via the phone recently.

One of the main videos circulated on OnTV to show how “Aljazeera is lying and unprofessional” is this video of the Fatth Mosque scene, where hundreds of MB supporters were under siege surrounded by security forces and thousands of “residents” who wanted to basically kill them. The video shows a fire extinguisher being blown from the inside of the mosque, the footage itself doesn’t suggest that tear gas has been fired or why the people inside the mosque used it, but OnTV presenter Youssif El Hussieny chooses to decides for all of us and keeps repeating the image saying that the extinguisher was used to make “tear gas effect” and attacks Aljazeera for fabricating tear gas being used.

Whether tear gas was fired or not, no one knows, but certainly Youssif EL Husseiny doesn’t know. Nor Aljzeera or OnTV wins for fabricating news, they both failed to deliver to the viewer why the extinguisher was used in the first place (since that’s the only thing visible in this footage) or provide the evidence that supports their report.

It also doesn’t help when some of the subjects you are reporting on are lairs themselves. Here is a video that was also widely shown on OnTV of course by Youssif El Husseiny over and over of a “wounded person” inside Fattah mosque, who is actually not wounded. As the person removes the hand of the doctor not wanting him to undercover his shirt, the doctor lifts the shirt and we all see that there is no wound underneath the blood stain and it is at best acting. This time is ok to use “liars” Aljazeera footage because it serves OnTV’s propaganda.

On the other end of extremes, some some Egyptians are raving Fox News for being on SCAF’s side and pushing for the same propaganda rhetoric against MB. And of course, none other than OnTV rebroadcasted it to all Egyptian viewers who might have missed it. Here is the video from OnTV’s channel not Fox.

Aljazeera streams live coverage of all MB events and sit-ins while OnTV cheerfully streams live coverage of army arresting citizens breaking curfew and shoving them like sardines in police vans.

The polarization in media is given by two extreme discourses that are ignited by covering-up truths, showing 2-minute videos dubbed with racist and fascist explanations, telling you what you should and should not believe about them. This is done by supposedly “professional” presenters whose job’s titles are professional “journalists.”

Best example is the racist and fascist Youssif El Husseiny of OnTV, who speaks for hours on ONTV and says things like “When our state fights terrorism, we must put human rights to the side.” He invites guests that only applaud his rhetoric.

All the guests on the Egyptian channels are chauvinists political pundits, who are  borderline fascists, promoting sectarianism against MB, inviting vigilant committees to help police and army to catch those “terrorists,” while speaking the words of “conspiracy against Egypt,” and instilling fear in people in order to comply with military rule.

Anyone who speaks of “reason” now, or even takes a position against both MB and SCAF, is labeled a traitor or MB, yeah because MB now is in an insult to some degree.

Those who are not praising the massacring of MB are not “Egyptian” enough to many of those TV presenters. Those who are voicing human rights violations get to be accused of being a “mob” by Youssef El Husseiny live on OnTV, or made fun of on social media.

The actual journalists on the ground who are attempting to get the truth and cover the deadly clashes taking place on a daily basis are like Sarah Carr, who wrote about the scrutiny especially foreign journalists face, are too few to raise the voice of reason over the voices of two extremes.

Simply there is no real coverage of what is happening in Egypt, only smears of half truths spun to either sides’ argument and a majority apathetic to bloodshed. Thankfully, we, at least some of us, still have our brains and can use it to assess the information given by any outlet, analyze it, and may be get a glimpse of the truth.

Many of the videos and pictures either side provides usually says more if looked at after muting the provided explanation given by the presenter. Here is an example, this video has been widely circulated on OnTV, described as “Oh look at what the MBs are doing in Rabaa, getting bodies from under the stage before the police attack,” implicating that MB killed those people during the month-long sit-in and are now moving the bodies as their own killed before the police catches them.

The video actually doesn’t provide you anything close to the conclusion that Khaled Tallima, OnTV presenter, has provided. If you actually ignore his explanation and mute the speakers in the video, all what one will see is people in Rabaa moving dead bodies from one place to another while loud gunfire is being shot in the background. It doesn’t tell you who these bodies are, when they were killed or how, where they were placed or killed and definitely doesn’t tell you by whom by just looking at this 2-min footage. The footage was shot by someone who is overlooking Rabaa and in the background all you can hear, “look at how they are placing the dead bodies on the floor.”

There is endless footage like this, where one simply cannot know for certain the full story. All we are getting are sides of half stories skewed with opinions shoved down our throats, and a blistering pro-SCAF, pro-police state propaganda throughout all media outlets, as if the endless list of vicious crimes committed by police and SCAF have been magically erased from our memories. Well at least for some of us, we still remember and will never forget… here is a reminder

The control through fear may control some of us, but definitely not all of us. If Sisi thinks that we are back in the days, when you can control people through curfews, emergency law, media blackout, and a “terrorism scare,” well, we no longer live in 1990s let alone 1954.

The people will soon get disillusioned in SCAF and see their crimes just like people did under Mubarak and under Morsy. Dictatorships are weak because they rely on instilling fear and the passivity of the people to not revolt. We will not be sedated for long under curfew, soon life will go back to “normal” and we will rise up again, just like every time we thought that the revolution is “dead,” and hopefully, this time we will win.

The Poster That Turned Facebook Yellow

18 Aug

An attempt of showing solidarity with Rabaa massacre, where army and police killed over 600 armed and unarmed protesters, Muslim Brotherhood supporters created a yellow poster showing a palm making the number four, which is because Rabaa also means the number four in Arabic. It only took few minutes that I started seeing some counter or response posters to the original one; some with a sense of humor about it, some are just attacking Rabaa and MB, and some are just because people are bored, and their creativity got the best of them being under curfew. It is snowballing to the point that just out of my timeline feed  on Facebook, I was able to put the gallery below together showing the different ones I found. I am sure there will be endless more. Here is a page full of them!

Photoshop, tragedy, and curfew don’t mix…

Sisi’s Mandate Death Toll

27 Jul

IMG_5803.jpg

Clashes at the Pro-Morsy sit-in in Rabaa resulted in at least 65 deaths (according to health ministry) and 100s injured from attacks by police using the usual excessive tear gas, live bullets, and birdshots, same as the police always used against revolutionaries in all massacres across the 2.5 years of the revolution. This time it came after a mandate “the people of Egypt” gave to Sisi measured by the mass demonstrations on 26 July, of which thankfully i refused to take part. It also came after Safwat Hegazy, one of the leaders at Rabaa sit-in decided to escalate the sit-in by taking it as far as the entrance of the 6 Oct Bridge on Nasr St building a rock wall to block the road pushing forward all the foot soldiers of the MB for the battle sacrificing as he was no where to be seen at the frontline of the battle field.

Even though MB have been in bed with SCAF and police especially in the year of Morsy, i will never justify police killing other citizens while at the same time i will never forgive Morsy who had one year to show any sign that he is willing to change MOI, bring retribution to the martyrs, fulfill any demands of the revolution, or even keep any promise he himself made. If anything, the tear gas and bullets that killed MB supporters was probably shipped/delivered under Morsy to be used against us. On the contrary, Morsy replaced Mubarak’s men with his own or at least attempted and did as much he could, and gave an award to Tantawi (head of SCAF) whom ironically the MB now are denouncing. The MB have accused revolutionaries of being spies of the west, thugs, “bendetta”, you name it defending the very same SCAF they are now want to rage war upon, not to mention the extensive deals they struck with the US administration to stay in power and force the neo-liberal economic agenda through IMF loan shoving it down people’s throats.

If you ask me i want nothing but prosecution to all bastards; leaders of the MB and anyone who committed a crime against another citizen, SCAF (the current one and the old one, they are all the same to me) for all massacres they committed in the name of the “national interest” , old regime Mubarak & his men and the police who massacred people since 28 Jan 2011. But even with all this, i wont praise the seeds of fascism and justify the state killing protesters, even if they are labeled terrorists and are in fact armed.

if they are terrorists and armed, then arrest them, prosecute them, but i won’t give up my rights, and embrace fascism, or my humanity in the name of “national security.” It is clear that the mandate is only to justify more crimes of the regime while letting the real perpetrator be the victims while over 14 officers have been restored to state security. It is not a mandate to “crack down on terrorists”, it is a mandate to crack down on the revolution as a whole. Those who are cheering were never part of the revolution to begin with, those who are apathetic have nothing to offer and are turning a blind eye for the “greater good”, and those who are rejecting both have no choice, but to do so out of principle.  Using violence against MB will only make them have more right to use it against anyone and especially the state, which in return will lead to more repression, so even the rights we gained in the past two years will be given up slowly (by default) in the name of the “greater good.” The state will have more “right” to arrest, torture, and even kill in the name of “national security” by “popular support”.

I don’t have a magical solution to end this dichotomy nor do i have the base power to intervene and change the discourse. All I have is my political stance and my principles that come in whole, against SCAF, MB, and Mubarak’s regime, against all perpetrators who killed and all those who hijacked the revolution!

2012: The Year of Persistence

31 Dec

#Tahrir 25 Jan 2012

Ever since last January when millions took to the streets celebrating one year anniversary past the revolution following deadly clashes in the winter of 2011 and the continuation of iron-fist SCAF rule, and the people have never stopped a day believing in the revolution. We continued despite all the mishaps, weaknesses, and continuous repressions.

Mural dedicated to ultras martyrs -  لن ننساكم

In February, after the Portsaid massacre, people turned to the streets to remind every official that the blood of our brothers will not go in vain and retribution must be delivered. We will fight for freedom & retribution until the last drop of blood in the last person of us. Ever since, football has been put on hold until justice is obtained. I lost an AUC friend in Portsaid, Mogrem, I will never forget your beautiful face, or your loud chants, and your revolutionary spirit, may they all rest in peace.

No Shafiq

During the presidential elections mess, people chose against the flool, people didn’t fall in the trap of Shafique bringing counter-revolution on in full force so bluntly. Even though we are not in a much better position now, but I still believe that the best thing that has happened in the presidential elections mess was for Shafique to lose and for Ikhwan to finally be in power so people can get disillusioned about Ikhwan ways and their true ugly face show, which many back then, more than now, believed that they are “God’s people, they will be good.” Yeah! Try to tell that now to an average man on the street, you most possibly will get hit in the face with a rock. This would not have happened any other way than Ikhwan coming into power, and they are so bad at it that it is good for us; less and less people will choose Ikhwan as the revolution matures (they already have compared to parliamentary votes) and the Ikhwan have hit record-breaking low in just 6 months! Imagine how 2013 will be like? I am very hopeful.

Anti Morsi Protest in Down Town Cairo

Ever since Morsy came to power, the 100 days have passed, all promises were not fulfilled, and the people started rising again. Neoliberal economic policies such as the IMF loan and the World Bank are all signs that Morsy is Mubarak just with a beard, and prays a lot. Since the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes II and the streets have not been still. The loss of Jika, a young man who voted for Morsy, killed by Morsy’s men (police) only few months later, and nothing has been delivered in return; no prosecution, no investigation, nothing. Despite all this people are still revolting and persistent on continuing the revolution.

Presidential Palace - Down with Ikhwan Rule

In November and December, we were dealing with a full force dictatorship with Morsy having more powers than Superman himself; judicial, executive, and legislative in addition to the 1000s of Ikhwan militias who are ready with a push of a button to go, kill, rape, torture, detain, besiege, or beat anyone they are ordered to attack like what happened on the deadly night at the presidential palace on 4 December 2012. We were force fed a dictatorial constitutional declaration, an unrepresentative illegal constitutional assembly, and a referendum in two weeks when millions of Egyptians on the streets and square all across Egypt protesting all these violations and on the eve of a deadly massacre on the brink of civil war between pro-Morsy supporters (Ikhwan & Salafies) and literally everybody else (liberals, leftists, independents, flool, secularists, Christians, all minorities, workers, and even children!).

Tahrir 27 Nov 2012 - التحرير ضد مرسي

Despite all this, we, the people, are applying all the pressure in our hands to object, protest, and revolt against this dictatorship and continuing the revolution until all of our demands are met; bread freedom, social equality. The persistence of the Egyptian people to gain what they revolted for inspires the living hell out of anyone watching Egypt closely, and is feeding into it more strength and hope like never before. I believe that we can and we will achieve those goals, but the road is very steep and long. It reminds me when I used to run cross country, when you know that the coming hill will last for a while and you can no longer feel your legs, but you know that you have to climb it and pass it to reach the peek and then go into free falling limbs lingering downhill so effortlessly and beautifully knowing that, yes, you made it at last.

Morsy is fat in every way, fat in fortune, fat in lies, fat in body, fat in powers, fat in weaknesses, and he grabs his male parts on TV, on the other hand; the revolution is young and persistent, when the two face each other, you know who will win in the end. As dark as these days may seem with possible “bankruptcy,” dictatorial overrule in all ministries and branches of governments, soaring prices and Egyptian pound taking a nose dive, I am still hopeful because I have no doubt that the people will not stand still, we will not accept, we will fight, we will persist on revolting , and we will win because we have given so much to give up now.

Revolution continues with persistence!
Happy New Year

One Night in Gaza

22 Nov

Children of the resistance, Gaza

Ever since I came back from Gaza, I haven’t felt the same. I have been through other traumatic experiences through the revolution, of course nothing like Gaza, but I am even surprised how heart-felt Gaza has hit me. It is like it shattered all my core into little pieces of sadness, not because ‘poor them, people are dying’ feeling, but because i wish we could do more as Egyptians. We are one of the most crucial countries in solving this whole “complicated issue” also known as, the deadly Zionist occupation. After all the path to Jerusalem passes through Cairo, not just symbolically or physically, but politically.

Baby rushed to Shifaa Hospital, Gaza

For Israel to exist, Palestinians must die, this is a fact proved over the last 60 years since Israel’s existence  This is not an even battle field for war, where two countries are fighting over land like most Western media, academics, and pundits insists on explaining the reason behind the deeply rooted conflict. This is a genocide, this is colonialism, this is Zionist imperialism,  where Israel together with the support of the United States administration (all of them) kill, destroy, steal, rape, and expand at any cost in order to simply sustain the Zionist state. I have always believed so, I will always do, and my trip to Gaza reassured this belief even more.

Egyptian Convoy in Gaza, Palestine

After 8 hours on the road from Cairo to Rafah, 4 hours in the Rafah border on the Egyptian side, 2 hours on the Rafah border on the Palestinian side, the 8-bus Egyptian People’s convoy reached Gaza city at Shifaa Hospital, the main and largest medical center in Gaza. We spent the entire night of 7 hours in the hospital and around it hearing the soundtrack of war, Israeli rockets and drones shaking the ground and our hearts with it every few minutes one was dropped on the civilian people of Gaza, injuring mostly children, women, and elders as I saw in the hospital.

Injured Child, Gaza

I can’t even describe in words how that was like, for even an Egyptian who spent most of the revolution on the front lines of the battle field, the war on Gaza shook me to the core of my soul on every level. It was the first time I experience how a rocket feels when it hit near by five minutes after we reached the Rafah Border Port on the Palestinian side, I literally almost fell over from the impact. Israel was attacking Gaza from sea and air while the buzzing sound of drones never stopped all the time we were there. Gaza was seemed like a ghost town, pitch black, only the light of our buses lit the road. Power kept going off every hour leaving us in a pitch black night with our uncertain future and Gazans’ resilience & courage to carry us through the intense night.

ER at Shifaa Hospital, Gaza

Once we reached Shifaa hospital we were greeted with ear-to-ear smiles from Palestinians, who were so happy to see that some Egyptians would risk their lives at a time of war to bring them solidarity. What they didn’t realize was how much each Gazans we met lifted our spirit and gave us more power to fight than any solidarity we may have brought them. I went into the hospital expected to find sad faces, miserable people who have just lost their families, but I was amazed at how every doctor, nurse, volunteer, injured patient, and family was in the highest revolutionary spirit full of strength, courage, resilience, and determination against the Zionist occupation.
It was as if every drop of blood gave them more fuel to fight and optimistic that they themselves are still alive despite the harshest conditions to live in anyone can possibly imagine. This is exactly what brought me to tears a lot of times because we, as Egypt, could be doing much more to lift the blockade on Gaza and support the resistance in every way we could; it is not only our duty, it is in our very own interest and security.

Israeli Rockets hitting Rafah, Palestine

The continuation of same-old Mubarak policies when it comes to Palestine will no longer be tolerated. Egypt post revolution especially with a president, who phrases himself on being ‘pro Palestine and revolutionary’, must and ought to take radical steps in support of Palestinians against Israel. Symbolic change like recalling our ambassador or even evicting the Israeli ambassador in Egypt was our demand since 2000 if not even before! We must cut all ties with Israel, we must open the Rafah border for all goods and people without any strings attached, and we must end the Camp David accord even with a referendum.

This is the least we could do and anything Morsi does less than those three things would simply be bogus.

The full photo album of my trip to Gaza

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