Saturday 23 July 2011

Egypt: El Kora Feen? (Where's the Ball?)

"Abassyia Today, In front of the Ministry of Defense"

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." ~ Unknown Source

"It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle." ~ Sun Tzu's the Art of War

"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." ~ Sun Tzu's the Art of War

On reflection on the events of July 23rd I must state pointlessly, Business as usual in Egypt (i.e. Chaos).

I know I might be hated for this post, But I would rather state my thoughts. I'm not going to list the events of today that are Better chronicled elsewhere. I would just like everyone reading to step away for a moment from their passions, their anger, and think about what I'm saying rationally.

A question I found interesting posed by someone: “July 23rd, Jan 25, is the goal to wipe out Egyptian history?". We all know how much we value our history.

Concerning events like today, I believe activists that didn't believe in today were faced with a dilemma: Join or support a march they don't believe in, Or refrain from doing so and be considered soft on the SCAF.

There are a few things I find that we, the liberal secular activists must face head on: Harsh truths we've yet to deal with, that will come back to bite us in the ass if we don't deal with them like we should. The worst of these truths? We're not popular among the general population, The SCAF is. We're not the majority. But we are a strong force, we're not wrong, and we CAN win over the masses, but we just need to change our attitudes; we are too reactive.

No matter what happens, we're branded as traitors seemingly by the vast majority of the population, in a wide myriad of different ways; On Jan 25 we were foreign agents of Iran/Israel/Qatar/USA/Disney Land/Hogwarts/Mama Samia out to destroy Egypt. Later on when the Army violently allowed (and assisted) the removal of the tents in Tahrir and cleared the square, we were "Thugs, and not the Jan 25 people”, Every time since, we've been called "Thugs that aren't the JAN 25 People”. Notice a trend? Notice something we ourselves do?

The Art of War by Sun Tzu states in summary that "Defining the battlefield wins you the war, even if you lose battles" and we've yet to define the battlefield. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating a war in the conventional sense, but this is a struggle, a fight, a war.

My point is, we're letting the SCAF define our battles, and as such we're always at a disadvantage; The SCAF does something we dislike, we respond by protesting. They do something worse, we start marching. And the entire time, we end up losing the war bit by bit.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the protests in general, I'm not against the marches in general, but I am against them when they're a bad tactical move; in a game of chess, you don't expose the king to save a pawn, at least not unless it's part of a smart & detailed strategy that you're 100% sure will win you the game.

We must define the battles in order to win the war; the way to win this war is to win hearts & minds, not "battles" that we lose by default.

The harsh truth we have to face is that it's extremely likely that the majority of the attackers aren't "thugs"; rather they're a part of the (possibly growing?) Misguided segment of the population that is convinced we're out to destroy the country.  Why do they believe that? Propaganda is a very powerful tool. I'm sure I'm not the only one that felt that the last speech by the SCAF Spokesman (Also known as "That finger guy". I think the pointer finger usage is an army thing), or their last two "Statements" Statement 69 and Statement 70, were nothing more than a thinly veiled call for an attack on the protestors, or possibly a call for a civil war. We are not reaching them the way the corrupt state media is, that is if we're even reaching them at all.  Hence we are not winning hearts & minds like the SCAF is. Tell me this: since when can a thug enter Abassyia & not be beaten by its residents? Have you considered this possibility? How many people reading this have actually been in Abassyia before? Did we forget that a lot of people that took part in the violent clearing of Tahrir before were residents of Tahrir? Did we forget that a lot of the residents of the Tahrir area, curse the protestors day and night?

If we want to win this, we need to think. I'm not saying there are no hired thugs, but we need to stop being disrespectful of those that disagree with us even if they do so violently (by calling them thugs),  Yes, I realize that sounds insane, but it's not, violence has been ingrained in our society for decades, people will defend themselves from perceived threats, even with violence. When was the last time you saw people resort to the law to settle their differences, rather than fight it out? I can't blame them, our legal system was and still is utterly useless. We do not want a civil war and without winning hearts and minds, that's what we'll eventually get.

We need to have a strong detailed concrete plan, a plan that includes all elements; Social, Political, Economical, basically everything, that can be presented to the people as an alternative to the plan presented by the SCAF, At least then, the general population will no longer regard us as a bunch of destructive agents, or at best just a bunch of whiny little cry babies, shouting at every slight, with no plan to back up their slogans. Then and only then, will we be considered by the general population as a well organized, prepared group, that is looking out for the benefit of the country, not its destruction.