Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Counter Revolution Against The Counter Revolution

Honestly I've never heard of the expression "counter revolution" until after the January 25th revolution of Egypt. From what we all understand a counter revolution is a -revolution- or movement by any old toppled regime or monarchy trying  to abort the newly formed system so they could come back to power or try to save whatever could be saved.

A lot of speculations and  allegations about a counter revolution have been ongoing for quite some time, some may be true and have basis of reality other being of mere fiction and evidence-less.
Some two weeks ago, someone -whom i cant remember his name now, from Al Ahram Center for Political & Strategic Studies (ACPSS) was on ONTV and claimed some remnants of the old regime were running the counter revolution from what he said was "a dark room in a villa in Moqatam", others sources claimed the same but from a villa in Zamalek.
Then came the famous episode of Alaa Al Aswany and Belal Fadl (2 prominent Egyptian writers) with Yousri Fouda on the same channel last wednesday discussing the counter revolution's plans to cause nationwide unrest and their list of "100 assassinations" of public figures that may expose the old regime, the subject which Belal Fadl wrote 2 articles about in Almasry Alyoum newspaper last week. In the very same episode, the mysterious ex-police colonel Omar Affifi called from his exile in the US, according to his sources whom he refused to mention by names , there were lots of weapons and heavy arms being smuggled through the western and southern Egyptian borders to certain groups he refused to name.

So what do we have now? only some pieces of news which are mostly without any evidence or backing from other sources, so better call them to this moment as rumors. If according to the ACPSS man, a plan was being in the makes, why wouldn't he simply point out names and give the exact locations? maybe this can't be  told on tv, he could easily have informed the authorities. Same with Belal Fadl's articles, we never saw the list he mentioned. If a real race of armament was taking place inside our country, why didn't Affifi warn us where the weapons were going and to whom and against whom will they be used.

I'm not implying these respectable figures are trying to deceive us, it is just the whole thing might be part of the counter revolution and they are doing it inadvertently. Maybe they too are being fooled as we do, the real counter revolution wants to deviate us from our goals and disperse us from our real dreams. We have the battle of the next parliament elections which until now they still hold control over the masses which if we do not act swiftly we will lose their votes. They want us to be so busy discussing trivial issues -or issues that might be of utmost importance but are not effective at the end- and forget about the real work that ought to be done.

Even reading this blog discussing the counter revolution, acts as a way of diversion from the real issues, but even if the whole "100 assassinations" plot was true, and even if it was carried out, it is not the end of the road. We are 80 million, and from day one the revolution had no leader so no one will ever have control  on the people's will nor their dreams, if they kill even 1000 the rest are still willing to continue the journey till the very last breath.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

قبل ان يفوت الأوان

هذي المقالة هي ترجمة لمقالة سابقا بنفس العنوان بالانجليزية نشرتها يوم 20 مارس.قمت بـكتابتها بالعربية بناءا على نصيحة أحد الأصدقاء.
المقالة الأصلية هي:-

لقد صوت بـ "لا" في الاستفتاء الاخير, وخرجت النتيجة 77.2% في صالح الموافقة على التعديلات. لقد حاربنا كثيرا من اجل حقوقنا ان نحدد مستقبلنا ومصائرنا بـارادتنا الحرة بدون أي تدخل أو املاءات من أي جهة. وجزء من العملية الديمقراطية التي تحملنا الكثير من اجلها هو احترام قرار الاغلبية التي اخترت نعم .

نحن - الذين رفضوا التعديلات - خسرنا المعركة وليس الحرب , والمعركة القادمة هي الانتخابات البرلمانية التي من المزمع إجراؤها خلال 60 يوم بحسب الاعلان الدستوري المتوقع بين ساعة وأخرى. فإذا يجب ان نعرف ماالذي جرى خطأ هذه المرة ؟
الإجابة هي : الكثير

أولا, قامت جماعة الاخوان المسلمين (الذين اثبتوا انهم في بعض الاحيان انهم لا هم "اخونا" و ولا هم بيتصرفوا تصرفات "المسلمين") بـبعض الالعاب اللتي توصف بـالقذرة , من استغلال بعض التفسيرات الخاطئة من اجل مصالحهم الشخصية إلى استغلال حاجة الفقراء إلى المال عن طريق شراء الأصوات و هي الطريقة المحفوظة ملكيتها إلى الحزب الوطني التي كانوا طالما يشتكون منها.
ثانيا, معظم الحملات من اجل اقناع الناس بـ "لا" بدأت متأخرة إلى حد ما, حيث انها لم تصل إلى معظم الناس الا متأخرة جدا قبل الاستفتاء .
ثالثا و الأهم,  لقد ركزت هذه الحملات على الميادين الخاطئة, معظمها تركزت على الانترنت و بخاصة على فسيبوك و توتير, في حين ان الساحة الحقيقية هي الشوارع وهي التي يسيطر عليها إلى درجة كبيرة الجماعات الدينية و فلول الحزب الوطني و ينجحون في اقناع الناس بـايدجولياتهم .

الخلاصة: المعركة القادمة هي الحاسمة ,البرلمان القادم هو الذي سوف يصوغ دستور جديد لذا فـيجب ان يعبر عنا و عن مطالبنا و امالنا. لذا فـيجب علينا ان نحاول الوصول إلى عدد أكبر من الناس, يجب علينا ترك كراسينا و كناباتنا و مكاتبنا و ننزل إلى الشارع من اجل الوصول إلى رَجل الشارع العادي.
المجتمع الالكتروني لا يمثل إلى نسبة صغيرة من الشعب, حيث ان معظم الشعب على غير دراية بـافكارنا و طموحاتنا لذا يجب العمل على تَغيير ثقافته و العمل على زيادة الوعي العام من ان أصواتهم ليست للبيع إلى ان رَجل الدين ليس بالضرورة أنه اكثرهم معرفة في الأمور الحياتية وانهم لابد ان يكونوا على دراية و فهم كامل لحقوقهم و واجباتهم .

وهذه النقطة بالاخص تنطبق على حملة البرادعي اللتي اراها في خطر. البرادعي يكتسح معظم الاستطلاعات على الإنترنت لكن في الشارع ليس له الشعبية أو القبول الكافي وهذا يعود إلى ماجرى من حملات التشهير وتلويث سمعة من قبل الحزب الوطني واعلموا القومي أثناء النظام الاسبق. فما حدث في المقطم هو ناقوس خطر وانذار مبكر لكي تبدأ حملته ترك توتير و النزول إلى الصوان.

الوقت ليس في صالحنا لكنه مازال ليس عامل ضدنا , فيجب التحرك فورا, 60 يوم ليست فترة كبيرة لكن يجب ان نتذكر دائما أنا مبارك رحل في 18 يوم فقط .

 ** عندما حصلت مصر على صفر المونديال الشهير كان بـسبب التقصير في الدعاية الخارجية و التركيز على الدعاية الداخلية اللتي لم تكون لتأتي لنا بالتنظيم بـأي حال من الأحوال, أي ان تمت الدعاية و البروباجندا في الوجهة الخاطئة , هذا هو الخطأ الذي يجب علينا ألا  نقع فيه مجددا.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Political Awareness Road Map

When the referendum outcome resulted in what seemed a shocking result for many -the fact of the big gap between Yes and No and the 60% of voting force who did not bother to participate-, many observers seemed to have detected the major fault which is the lack of communication between the internet and social media community and the average citizen in the street.

The whole idea of this campaign is not to convince people of a certain candidate,party or ideology, but simply informing them of their duties and their rights, as well as the basic principals of not being manipulated by false religious teachings or selling their voices and entrenching the notion that their voice counts.

Simply, the basic tactics of Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) or Network Marketing can be applied. Each one of us, the internet people or better say the better aware people will have to teach at least 2 people of these simple basics. By saying 2 people here we are mainly targeting the less privileged who are supposedly less politically aware due to lots of reason, like your housemaid, janitor, driver, doorman...etc
We all agree that we have to take it down to the streets at this stage, so try to engage in these conversations with random people in local coffee shops. public transport, cabs, work place..etc and do not waste time in debating with people who are already aware of this just to impose your opinion.

And after you finish your talk you will ask them to do the same with more people and etc... ("pay it forward" principle) so the numbers can increase exponentially in a short time.

We do not have time in our side, but it is still not too late.
We can hopefully have a snowball effect at the end.

A Personal Stance On Religious Groups

Ok, I've been heavily criticized for my last entry, some thought I was throwing responsibility on the religious groups for swinging the vote towards a Yes and passing the amendments. Well, I did and I didn't.

Of course I do not believe all who voted pro the amendments were under influence of these groups, nor do I ever accuse them of being ignorant or traitors; they had their own reasons which I totally respect and for the sake of the democracy I've always wanted to live in and I have to respect the outcome of the voting process.

Then whom am i against? I'm against everyone who happens to use people's weaknesses and needs for his own need and interests, like the Muslim Brotherhood who were always playing the victims's role during the last regime's reign and are now using the very same tactics they suffered from (200 LE were being distributed in certain areas to encourage people to vote for Yes, eyewitnesses reported).

I'm against intimidation tactics and using people's soft spot towards religion to lure them to a certain vote, though Mr.Essam El Eryan claimed on tv the infamous "voting for yes is a religious duty" wasn't from the MB, there were lots of them all over, i saw some of them in Nasr City and some acquaintances in Alexandria claim there were minivans circulating some areas of the city and playing out the same message from recorders.
So if you were so jealous for you religion, why didn't we ever see a poster encouraging people to pray or fast as they are religious duties too? why wasn't it a religious duty to vote Yes for Mubarak?

I'm against deliberately misinforming people and taking advantage of their ignorance, Mohamed Hussein Yaqoub (a Salafi imam) appeared on a video on youtube today congratulating the masses attending his sermon of a "victory for the people who voted for religion", to a vote that was about 9 articles of a constitution that did not even include the debatable Article 2 of the constitution.

I wont be considering some of the Islamic groups past doctrines of violence as they declared they revised their ideologies and now it is a new page. I believe them in this one and I wont be judging them depending on their past.

We've always been annoyed by what we hear that the Church directs its followers to certain political opinions, which might all be rumors afterall.

So, I do not want religion to interfere in scenes it does not fit to intervene in, as much as I do not want politics to harm religion by any means.

A famous saying  : Religion spoils politics and politics spoils religion.

**to this point I finished writing the original text, then i found some further interesting stuff so I felt obliged to add :

And here's a flyer asking to vote Yes lest a non-muslim president can rule us one day under a secular state that can come through a new constitution.
Just for the knowledge, the neither the constitution nor its amended version state that the president must be a muslim.

And here is a very moderate Imam (Sheikh Osama Al Qousy) who shows the true side of the religion, and in a way sums up some of what I wanted to say

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Before It Is Too Late

I voted against the amendments , yet most reports show the result would be between a 65-75% "Yes" vote. We fought for our rights to choose and decide our own future without intervention or dictation from any party what so ever, and part of that democratic process we endured a lot to achieve is to accept the majority's decision, so yes we have to live with that "temporary constitutional announcement" that is due to be announced by Tuesday.

We -the No voters- lost the battle but not the war, the next battle will be the parliament elections which will probably be within 60 days of the announcement. What went wrong this time? A lot.
 First,the Muslim Brotherhood (who proved they deviate miles away from the doctrine of Islam and they are not our "brothers" at the end of the day), played some dirty tactics, from deliberately rephrasing certain interpretations of the religion for their own interest to bribing the needy, a practice copyrighted to their long time rival and superior the National Democratic Party.
Second, most of the No campaigning started late,quite late actually, or at least it started reaching the mainstream at a late stage.
Third and the most important, the battle field was the wrong one, most "No" campaigning took place online through social media and forums,whereas the real battlefield was the street where the NDP remnants and MB succeeded in luring people to their ideologies.

Bottom line: next battle is a decisive one, the parliament to be will phrase a new constitution, so it has to reflect our needs and demands, so we have to reach to more people.We all have to leave our sofas and cubicles and talk to real people -average Mo's- , the online community represents only a small portion of the population, most illiterates and uneducated are unaware of our ideas, we need to change their culture. We have to spread awareness; that their vote is not for sale, that the cleric and the devout do not always know best and they have to be aware of their duties as well as their rights.

The last point applies to ElBaradei campaigners too, he is sweeping most online polls and gained lots of support and endorsement from the intellects , but what happened today in Mokatam is a very strong alarm, the average citizen still hasn't changed his perception of him drawn by the NDP and the state media.
Its never too late for them though, but everything should start now before its too late.

Fight fire with fire, thats what they say for situations like these.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our only hope: The Army

First thing that pops up in every Egyptian's mind when hearing this word is the 6 of October (Yum Kippur) war and the Egyptian army's heroics in 1973.But ever since that date we haven't really seen the army that much except for building a bridge or stadium every now and then here or there or helping helpless governments over the course of the last 38 years in some bread distribution problems.

But where was the army when we needed them most? On Thursday 10th of February, they held an urgent session of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces and announced the council will be in continuous session.What was different this time that the council was in session without the country's president who by law is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, this was a sign that a minor coup was taking places or they were trying to pressure Mubarak to the hilts to step aside.On that particular day rumors were very wide spread across the nation that a coup was on its way, these rumors were fed by some claims that foreign embassies called for their nationals to leave immediately for fear of a coup and what instability that may follow.

However, next day Omar Suleiman-then VP- announced Mubarak's resignation and handing his powers to the supreme council, to this date no one is sure if he has done so by his on will or under pressure.My main point is not why or how it happened as this matter will be the subject of lots of debate for years to come and only history will tell one day.

What and how the army has been ruling and dealing with things ever since is a subject to lots of questions.Why is the army slow in decisions, why are they always some steps behind just like the old regime?why were they slow in the decisions of freezing the accounts of notoriously corrupt officials after most of the assets were already transferred?why are they keeping most of the public media administration still in its place?
Do they want people to still be fed lies? Why did they play a spectator's role at the storming of the State Security (SS) buildings and left people to leave with valuable and top secret and confidential documents and then demanded people to hand them over to them after they've already been leaked to the internet?

Most of the army's highest echelons were part of the toppled regime, maybe not literally part of it but at least they benefited from that regime's corruption and policies.So a guess is that they wanted these SS documents burnt and shredded and vanished forever lest they too get exposed.

I'm not saying there is a collusion here between the army and the regime, but the army too are looking for their best interest-and the country's best interest at the same time, people can not lose the faith and trust they gave the army, it is their last hope.And in my humble opinion, we can not make it to democracy or any other system without the army in our side.