Friday, 25 November 2011

Revolution Re-ignited : Q & A

"When you believe in your cause, you fear nothing"

There are lots of questions & comments as well as accusations on people's minds (or tongues ) on why the people are protesting in Egypt once again. I'll try to the best of my ability to respond to some of these.

So let's begin shall we?

ملحوظة ؛ لقد تم ترجمة هذا المقال إلى العربي هنا 

Why are they going to Tahrir (And other squares) now? 

This question has been answered multiple times, but I'll summarize simply with a friend's facebook status that I translated :

Because something is wrong:

When there is no security after 9 months .... despite billions being spent on the police,  something is wrong.

When they say the chaos will continue until a president is elected in 2013, Something is wrong.

When until today, not a single pound of the money stolen by the regime has been returned, Something is wrong

When Spain takes 32.5 Million Euros from Hassan Salem, and buildings worth 10 Billion Euros, and we have yet to get a single piaster back from what he stole from us, then something is wrong.

When they say that there isn't enough money in the state treasury to conceed to the demands of the citizens, and yet thousands of "Employees" in Egypt get over a million Egyptian pounds a month, and their assistants get hundreds of thousands a month, AND businessmen owe over 100 billion pounds in taxes, then something is wrong

When you tell me that one of the Former NDP members, threatened to isolate upper Egypt, and cut electricity from Egypt, if the NDP members are barred from parliament, and no one even responded to him, then something is wrong

When by default, everyone who is in opposition is accused of being a traitor, or a hired agent, without a single court case, or investigation being done, then Something is wrong.

When they say that there are internal and external plots to hurt the country, and you toss accusations left and right, without exposing any plots, or the people you're accusing, and you have a national security agency, Intelligence, AND an Army, then something is wrong.

When protesters are put under military trial, and Mubarak is in a 7-star hospital , and the Vice Chairman of the Military police salutes Habib AlAdly in court, then something is wrong.

When Tunisia has elected a founding committee to create a new constitution, and founded a transitional government , and Egypt is still in the process of creating a parliament, that will vote for a founding committee to create the constitution a year later, and won't be able to assign a government, then something is wrong.

When the Field Marshal claims he does not want power, and yet you find a campaign for his nomination for Presidency, then something is wrong.

When the Military Junta, creates a supra-constitutional document, making the Army above accountability, and above the people and the government, making it a super state within a state, then something is wrong.

and that's just part of it. There are so many other reasons.

Well, then what are their demands?

It's the same demand as in January 25 : The people demand the fall of the regime.

A swift look at egypt's recent history in the past 59 years, shows that that the regime has never been just about Mubarak and a few political figures: The regime since 1952 has been a Military regime. The people want a civilian government with civilian leaders. They want to have a transitional government that isn't led and crippled by the former regime. They want a civilian presidential council to oversee the transition.

Their initial demand was that it be transferred to Civilian rule in April 2012, but as violence escalated and lives were lost, the demand became a transfer to civilian rule now. There was never a real call to postpone the elections until the violence started.

The entire scenario started when the Army forcefully broke up a sit-in consisting of less than 200 people. Those people were the parents of the martyrs, as well as those injured or crippled by the events of Jan25 and are lost their jobs due to their injuries, and were never given compensation as they were promised. After they witnessed that aggressive brutality towards harmless protesters, the revolutionaries decided enough was enough.

Why do they want a Civilian presidential council?

Because simply it makes the most sense when considering we're trying to transition from the Military led regime to a Civilian democratic government.

But a Civilian council won't be representative of the people as they're unelected

Entirely not true: There are basically five groups of people in Egypt, Seculars (Liberal, leftist and otherwise), There are the Muslim Brotherhood, The Salafis, The army and those that don't care who leads them

The council that has been proposed multiple times, is recommended to consist of Elbaradei (Secular), Abou el Fetouh  (Muslim Brotherhood supported), Hazem Abou Ismail (Salafi supported) , And Samy Anan (SCAF member) . That would basically cover all the major groups.

Besides, a transitional government is never entirely representative, voted in or otherwise.

Not to mention, having a council of Un-Elected military generals isn't really representative either.

But the majority support the SCAF as proven by the referendum held in March, right?

Wrong. The referendum was never about the SCAF being supported or not, it was never about the SCAF's legitimacy as they claimed, it was about the constitutional amendments, and more importantly it was affected by so many external factors, including people voting for yes because they were made afraid by Islamists that a no vote would remove the Islamic identity of the state. Of course this, along with all the fraud , has already been documented by many people, including myself Here.

If the majority of people truly supported the SCAF , you wouldn't have such numbers protesting not just in Tahrir, but all over Egypt as documented Here.

But if SCAF says they're leaving after the transitional period ends, why don't we just wait?

Because we cannot trust them anymore: They initially said that the transitional phase would end at the end of September 2011 , and as you can see, we're no where near ready to transition, now they're saying presidential elections will be held in mid 2013 (maximum) as explained here (Arabic) and in this video of the SCAF themselves saying so.

Why don't we have a referendum like Tantawi suggested in his last speech on if SCAF should stay or not?

Because a referendum held by someone in power, on if he should or shouldn't be in power is a horrible idea. Common logic dictates against it.

Not to mention that the SCAF controls all the media in the country, and all forms of outlets, it even controls what can and can't be preached in mosques, it wouldn't be that hard for them to influence the result of the referendum in their favor. That's assuming of course, that the referendum isn't just full of fraud anyway.

An example of one of the factors that could effect the results of the referendum, are the idea put in place by the SCAF that "It's either us, or Chaos". An idea in which they've fostered in a recent gallup poll that shows that crime has gone down to 3-4% but up to 50% of the population feels unsafe, in other words, it's Manufactured fear. And if that's not enough for you, the front page of the biggest newspaper today in Egypt has a headline reading "Last chance: Stability or Chaos", which I don't need to remind you, is the same argument Mubarak used.

Ahram Newspaper: Headline reads "Last chance: Stability or Chaos" via @Deena_adel

And if you still don't believe that referendums held by a tyrant are a bad idea, and you've forgotten that Mubarak used referendums all the time to enforce his own tyranny, maybe these articles can convince you.

Why a referendum devalues the rule of law

Why local and national referendums are a really bad idea

And most importantly Dictators and Referenda: Historical Lessons For Kenya To Learn From (It applies to Egypt as well)

But wouldn't elections solve that problem & move us towards a civilian government?

They would: If they were free and fair. Which they're not.

The election laws are complicated , confusing, and give a benefit to the NDP parties.

The media is controlled by the SCAF

The Mosques and Churches are controlled by the SCAF

Activists that are anti-SCAF are imprisoned on a regular basis under fabricated charges.

The Emergency law hasn't been lifted before the elections, like the SCAF themselves claimed they would do.

They've done almost nothing to reform the police, beyond giving them a new uniform, and renaming the state security branch of the Ministry of Interior into "National security"

The people do not feel safe.

Even the way they've dealt with the right of Egyptians overseas to vote is just a giant media game for them not to vote; The deadline for voting is almost impossible to meet, and they opened the polls only one hour before they told the Ministry of Foreign affairs! The ballots required weren't even made available until a very short time before the deadline!

Even the minister of Interior has claimed that he cannot safeguard the elections at this time.

The list goes on. You cannot have free and fair elections under those conditions.

So the revolutionaries aren't against the elections?

Not in the slightest. They all want transparent, fair & free elections. Which as stated above, cannot be obtained under these conditions. So they want the elections, just not under those unreasonable conditions. Believing that elections would be fair, free, and transparent under those conditions, is like believing that fire isn't hot. Besides, the simplest solution in this case would be to allow international monitors of the votes, However the SCAF refused under claims that "It would effect national sovereignty " , although so many of their own actions effect National sovereignty anyway. Not to mention having international monitors on elections actually has no effect on National Sovereignty whatsoever. If you have nothing to hide, what's the problem with showing people?

Besides, the results of any elections held under conditions like these (violence and otherwise), will not be accepted as legitimate.

But even the political parties aren't against the elections:

Some aren't, most notably the MB because they stand to gain the most out of them, and some others aren't because they feel like the elections are going to happen now no matter what (Something the SCAF has imposed) , but lots of others have either suspended their campaigns or pulled out completely , like presidential Candidate Bastawisi , or the Social democrats party , as well as many individual candidates, due to ongoing violence, and their belief that the Elections can't be held legitimately

But I still think that no matter what path we take, we'll have a civilian government in control

A Civilian government? Maybe. One that's in control? no.

The SCAF have done almost everything to maintain their power in all but appearance as shown in the supra-constitutional principles that was mentioned in the first point, which instead of acting as a bill of rights, became something else entirely, among with so many of their other actions.

Besides, the first rule of politics is that an incumbent never willingly gives up power. It's naive to assume that they will. And they sure as hell haven't shown any indication that they're planning to. Besides claiming that they  don't want power. Kinda like how Mubarak claimed he wasn't planning on running for re-election before he was overthrown.

But what's wrong with having a transitional government under the SCAF?

The SCAF have Judicial, Executive, and Legislative control . Meaning any government under their control is nothing more than "Yes men". Not to mention you have a prime minister that cannot do anything about the Defense minister, because the defense minister is a SCAF member. That just doesn't make sense.

But why don't you trust the SCAF?

Because they haven't earned our trust in the slightest , if the answer to the first question isn't enough, let's elaborate:

For example: They've arrested anti-SCAF activists accused them of fabricated charges, and imprisoned them. For example Alaa Abdelfatah has been accused of charges of stealing weapons from soldiers and shooting the military with them during the Maspero incident when a military general himself claimed that the Military was unarmed, just because he's critical of the military, and refused to answer the questions of a military prosecutor because he's a civilian that should be tried in a civilian court. Maikel Nabil was imprisoned for a blog post in which he was very critical of the military, his words however, have proven to be true.

They've refused or been extremely slow on removing old regime members from positions of power.

The police force is still extremely brutal and inhumane as shown & documented here and elsewhere.

The Emergency law wasn't removed, instead it's been expanded upon.

They've outright lied about their actions and events, an example being their Communique in which they claimed they never used tear gas on protesters, when hours before, one of the SCAF members was on tv and said "The tear gas we used on protesters is not toxic".

They're repeatedly artificially reduced the number of deaths in clashes the last example being this week 

And the list goes on.

This video (In arabic) shows Tantawi's speech during the recent events with the reality, in which his words do not coincide in the slightest.

and if that isn't enough, here's an article titled SCAF: A brief history of injustice that lists some of the crimes committed by the SCAF.

But the protesters don't represent the majority of Egypt, shouldn't they back down?

Of course they don't right now, and it's silly to assume otherwise. No revolutionary events at their inception (and our revolution for all intents and purposes is barely past the infancy stage) have popular support.

They can't back down. Would Christianity have spread if Jesus backed down because he didn't have popular support at inception?  Would Islam have spread if the Prophet Mohammed backed down because he was against the will of the majority? Would the civil rights movement in the USA have succeeded if they backed down because they didn't have popular support?

Of course not. Revolutions don't work like that. They always start with a minority that ends up eventually influencing the majority.

Not to mention that when revolting against those in power, you have to realize that those in power have all the ability to sway popular opinion : They control the media, they control the government, they control food distribution, they control everything that can be used to influence people. The only thing revolutionaries have to influence people is their will power, their message, and their actions. They cannot back down.

Their cause spreads with word of mouth and debates with those cynical of them, not by backing down.

But Tahrir doesn't represent the majority of people, there are pro-regime protests!

Pro-Regime protests don't represent the majority either, you cannot assume that the silent majority supports the regime, just because they're silent. A large chunk of those probably support the revolutionaries but don't speak up for various reasons.

For emphasis look at this image that compares the size of the Tahrir (Anti-SCAF) protest, and the Abassyia protest (Pro-SCAF) today :
Guess which is which? Keep in mind the media falsely reported that the pro-SCAF protest was over 1 million people.

There are Anti-SCAF protests all over the country; there's only one pro-SCAF protest.

But the revolution isn't Democratic! They're tyrants!

Revolutions are never really democratic. Democracy is the result of a revolution, but little if any revolutions actually occur because of democracy. Also a Tyrant is a person that maintains his/her own power, and cares little about others; The revolutionaries are fighting so that Egypt is a better country for everyone, including the people that accuse them of so many types of ill intent. With the brutal crack downs on protesters demanding their rights, including imprisonment and murder, and the silence of the anti-revolutionaries on those crimes against humanity,  it can be easily argued that the Anti-revolutionaries are in fact the tyrants, as they only care about their own interests.

Aren't the revolutionaries funded by foreign governments?

Not at all, It is insane to assume that someone would regularly fund over 100,000 people a day nationwide. And if you're referring to particular groups, the government's own Ministry of Justice investigation determined that Salafists (who did not take part in the initial part of the revolution) and Mubaraks, not the prominent April 6 Youth Movement (Believed to be the driving force behind the revolution), receive millions in foreign funding.

besides, how much money do you think they'd need to pay protesters to risk their lives all the time? Especially the wealthy or well off ones?

Well assuming the protesters are right, then we'd need a constitution, and writing a constitution takes time:

Yes we would need a transitional constitution, and a new constitution before or after parliamentary elections, but those do not need to take time: There have already been transitional constitutions circulated by several prominent legal experts like presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi , not to mention others written by entire legal faculties at Cairo university law for example, that can be put into effect. As for a permanent constitution, the 1954 constitution, that was never put into effect thanks to Former president Gamal abd el Nasser's tyranny, is perfect for the new Egypt, as long as it has a few amendments: That does not take much time to do. It's worked for other countries, it's not rocket science.

But the Anti-SCAF opposition don't have any real plans, do they?

Of course they have plans: They have detailed plans since even before Mubarak stepped down, you just don't hear about them. If you criticize them for not running a media campaign for the plans, then you need to blame the current State media that stifles any positive conversation about those plans.

But they're not detailed plans are they?

They're as detailed as SCAF's plans if not more; They set a time line, they set exact procedures, they set everything that is possible. Isn't that more detailed than the SCAF's vague plans that they constantly change their minds on? For one thing, the fact that the transitional deadline the SCAF set, has not been met, is more than enough proof that their own plans aren't really accurate or detailed. Once one of these plans are set, the tiny details will be apparent; That is not the case with the SCAF where the details are never really known until the last minute.

The opposition has plans for transitional government, transitional economy, recommended people for positions, a plan to reform the police forces and ministry of interior, time lines, the works.

All those plans have been ignored by the SCAF.

Why? Because they take away their power.

Again, it's not rocket science; if those plans worked for other countries in similar situations, there is no reason why they shouldn't work for Egypt.

But Protests destroy stability and the economy, don't they?

No they don't. Countries in Europe have major protests and strikes, that can bring entire cities to a halt, not just a square, that don't effect the stability of the country, nor the economy. This is just another trick by the SCAF to scare Egyptians into submission;

What does effect Stability and the Economy?

On going rampant violence used by the Police and Army against protesters promotes the image of instability and discourages investors in Egypt.

In a country like Egypt where a large part of the economy is dependent on Tourism. The xenophobic campaign run by the Media under guidance of the SCAF does nothing but drive away tourism . 

When you have the media encouraging citizens to attack and arrest "Foreigners " or "Foreign looking" People by accusing the unrest on "Foreign elements" and by claiming there are Foreign spies in Egypt trying to unsettle the country, Not to mention multiple attacks on journalists , That scares prospective tourists from coming to Egypt, screwing up the economy.

Also when Mubarak cut off the internet during the Jan 25 revolution, many companies had their contracts broken because they could not fulfill their end of the contract.
Those are elements that effect the economy and the "Stability" , not the protests. 

And if protests are bad for stability, why does the SCAF never break up a pro-SCAF or pro-Regime protest?

Well, Why are the protesters attacking the police in Mohamed Mahmoud street? Why do they want to invade the Ministry of Interior?

The protesters there, are not trying to invade the ministry of interior, regardless of what a few people claim; the majority of those that were fighting with the police claim they were trying to hold the police back so that they wouldn't tear gas the square, made more believable by the fact that the protesters there never pushed the police back beyond a certain point, they'd reach that point and stop. The protesters in Mohamed Mahmoud were primarily the Ultras : The same group that stopped the attack on the Day of the camel battle. 

Besides, the Ministry of Interior is at least 700 meters away from the deepest point of the clashes, AND on a different street. If the protesters really wanted to invade the MOI, they would've done so from Sheikh Rehan street, not from Mohammed Mahmoud.

This picture pretty much shows the location of the MOI in comparison to the location of the clashes

The Red circle is the MOI, the Green Circle is where the clashes were.
The entire "Trying to invade the MOI" story was a lie fabricated by the Egyptian media, and for some reason supported by the western media, to turn people away from the protesters.

But isn't the media honest?

If you still don't realize that the media was making up the "Invasion of the MOI" story, or that the state media incites violence against protesters

The only thing I need to do to prove that the media isn't honest is show you this picture:

The image on the left is the true image, the cropped version was used by Al-Ahram to portray the protesters as vandals

So what now?

I've given you all the information I could think of off the top of my mind, but there's so much more information it's staggering. It's time now for you to decide : Are you with those doing everything to maintain their power, or those willing to sacrifice their lives for a better tomorrow? 

The choice is yours.

Note: Feel free to copy this post and post it elsewhere, I only ask that you give credit, and let me know where you post it. Thanks. Arabic version translated and available here , thanks to the great efforts in translation by @NouRaouf @YaraSays @DinaOzz @nansy1203 and @MinaNaguib90


  1. Thank you for the clarification. Very well written!

  2. Awesome. Long live a FREE EGYPT!

  3. Not all true
    some things mentioned as facts and it’s not quite right
    CFAF doesn’t completely control media specially privet ones
    Also private press is totally free, and internet (face book and twitter)
    SCAF could not fake the election because of Judiciary supervision on election process
    Pro-SCAF and Anti-SCAF both doesn’t represent the Egyptians
    Having a plan is better than not jumping into unknown

  4. I'm going to assume you're unaware of certain facts:

    Yes SCAF doesn't control private media as much as it does the State tv, however it still DOES maintain control on what can, and cannot be said, and they've stopped entire shows from being aired before. As for all your other claims that the press is totally free, you must be joking that's just like putting your fingers in your ears and crying out "LA LA LA LA LA i'm not listening!" , and facebook and twitter? Didn't Asmaa Mahfouz get questioned for a tweet? Didn't she have to pay a 20,000 l.e bail?

    Also, if you do not understand what "Executive, Legislative, and Judicial" control means, then you don't understand that the SCAF controls the judges; they're not independent.

    As for your last point, you obviously just skimmed through the entire thing, because your comment about "Jumping into the unknown" was disproved ; the Anti-Scaf opposition have a plan. A very good one.

  5. Very clear account of what's going on in Egypt.

  6. Everything will be folded back into the magma. Human strivings will ultimately be less than a glitch in the broad history of the Earth.

  7. I made a comment to the article above, yesterday; but I couldn't post it, because I have no URL.
    I wanted to say that I suppot all what you are doing, because we had a situation just like yours, after the fall of Milosevic, in my country, Serbia, but he has falled without his regim.
    Like by you, and I am sorry that despite to all bad circumstances, the voting is today.
    I read, it is called the "historical" ellectons, why I don't know.
    I read also about party, I don't know if it is translated good, "Masri Horeja", with the leader Rana Geber, she had to, instead making a campagne, to take care of wounded on Tahrir.
    I am really sorry for all the people of Egypt, who will get no adequate people to run your country.
    I hope you have a lot of brave people, like you "Elazul" and my friend Fuad, who will fight for real democracy.
    My friend Fuad will post it to you.
    I wish you all the best in your struggle.