Translated from Arabic by :
I would like to start by extending my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the organizers of Gdansk Blog forum for inviting me to talk about my point of view regarding the ongoing political situation in Egypt after the massive demonstrations and protests back in January 2011 that some people tend to call it, “The Arab spring,” despite of its disastrous consequences and results that Egypt and the whole Middle Eastern region still suffer from up till this moment.
Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time that gives a space for the whole details and events that took place through all the last three years. But I hope that, with the favor of the internet and different international news services, most of you are familiar with or have a background about what is going on in Egypt.
I would like to emphasize that I am not here to get your ears raptured by reciting vibrant and made-up sentences praising the struggle of Egyptians, or attacking and criticizing the dictatorial governments. I am sorry if that would disappoint some of you, but I am not into this kind of superficial talks which might satisfy some people but pushes us far away from what I see and interpret as realism.
Governments are secretions of its people, no matter of the location. No authority in any country around the world, regardless the level of suppression and oppression practiced against its people, can remain in power for a long time if people have no desire to have it. People take part in forming their government, either by the clear approval through the fair elections, or even by sticking to silence and taking no reaction towards the human rights and freedom violations committed by their governments. People might be motivated to do so out of fear or interest. This equally applies to the governments and people of countries like Cuba, North
Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and definitely Egypt.
Fear is an action that has its own results and effects. It’s definitely a negative action that can be destructive. Those who fear should stand for their fear and take the full responsibility of its outcomes without blaming the reasons or causes of their fear and intimidation.
Surely, dictatorships use fear as a weapon to terrorize people, take full control over them, and guarantee their submission and surrender.
But falling under the control of fear and surrender, should not be considered a responsibility of governments, instead it’s mainly a responsibility of individuals who interact with and satisfy their governments’ unpleasant wills.
Those who get terrorized, panicked, and start spreading that among their countrymen stand behind magnifying the impact of such problems, because they fear facing it and inciting the others not to do so.
Since my early ages, I became familiar with recognizing the fear jumping out of people’s eyes. I could see them fearing everything that they even advise others to behave the same way, and if others didn’t, they turn their advice into an order and people become obligated by those who surrounds them to adjust themselves to this public hysterical mood which absolutely makes no sense.
There is a well-known Egyptian proverb says: “Who fears, guarantees safety.”
Safety that is mentioned here means the physical one; the safety of body from getting harmed or violated. On the other hand, the non-physical harm and violations do not concern people and obviously are considered to be kinds of reprehensible welfare that people can make fun of someone who have serious concern about it.
Many Egyptians Believe that fear protects them from being victims of physical violence committed by those who are more powerful, and that the mentioned proverb turned into a doctrine which draw the lifestyle of the majority.
But no one among those who widely use this proverb, believe in it, promote its meaning, and spread its content among people, thought about the major impact of this organized fear process which go viral to reach anything people can imagine.
The most dangerous outcome that is generated by fear is making people afraid of thinking about the reasons behind the major problems to avoid getting involved in what could be undesired consequences.
The fear wastes the energy of human beings and make them more likely to undergo for anything, physically and mentally. That’s why the authorities go for it, it’s a cost and effort saver.
Nothing is actually more easier than spreading a troublesome rumor or annoying story , the governments start that and then they leave the rest to be accomplished by the chronic fear patients who are doing it perfectly and voluntarily .
For example the Egyptian authority don’t fear spreading news or even rumors about the physical torture which committed by some of its security services and trading it among people, but of course they fear if that news get mentioned in media and became known outside its borders so as not exposed to a barrage of condemnations. Then, with good intentions people achieves the regime’s goal , spreading terror and panic by not only spreading the bad news or disturbance rumors but also by adding some details and creating other stories which make everything look very dramatic in the eyes and minds of people , and that the authoritarian regimes gain the benefits and manage to stay in power suppressing and terrorizing people for longer periods.
In the 2005 demonstrations against Mubarak and his plan to inherit the power to his
older son Gamal, we were few protesters, and that was strange for me and for others , there is no clear logic stands behind the reluctance of the majority of the Egyptian people who is oppressed by the regime from participating in the mobility against the repressive authority .
On the other hand, we used to get extreme criticism from those who choose avoiding participation in demonstrations.
In the meantime, Some of them were expressing an indignation of the regime, but they thought that this dictatorial corrupted regime would be better than an unknown alternative that they believed might be more suppressive and corrupt.
Here I quote some of what they said: “Mubarak already stole enough and he don't need to steal more of the country’s wealth but his successor will start steal from the beginning, so we don't see any better alternative than the corrupt Mubarak!”
The mentality of the fearful paranoid citizen who accept just the crumbs leaded him to think that the power is not more than a gateway to corruption and looting, no more no less , The same citizen who goes to the governmental sectors and pays a lot of bribes willingly to finish necessary documents or get any other benefits , not conditionally the ones who are really worth to get , some pay a lot of money to get what they have no right to get , like those who pay to get a driving license without taking courses or passing driving exams .
So the corruption here is not attached only to those who are in power , but it’s extended to reach those who are supposed to be stolen and oppressed. It’s deeply rooted in the society ,
and the corrupt members of the governments do nothing much more than what the average citizen do.
since it does not come from another galaxy to rule them , it came from among those who have had many of them also justify the security repression, torture and even murder committed by the police or military forces, and they themselves do not hesitate to practice
similar things with those who show some differences from the majority or those who thought to be weak helpless. Just take a quick look on the Egyptian reality and you will easily see the incidents of harassment and rape which are scattered in the Egyptian streets and many Justify it, and do not ignore the abuse committed against children at homes,
schools, orphanages and reformatories with no guaranteed protection despite of the existence of law criminalizing such behaviors.
Also try to refresh your memory and recall the incidents of attacking and killing religious minorities by the vast Muslim majority, and destruction and burning of churches which are widely spread and repeated incidents happen all the time without interruption.
I won’t go further speaking about what some people may consider as changes in the political map in Egypt, because I cannot see any real or core change. What really happened is that some people uncovered a cesspool to let its sop smell block our noses and to allow insects and mice, that people never expected they exist and they are that dangerous, come out and attack us.
Some of those insects and mice used to be intentionally released every back and then as a strategy of terrorizing people. Despite their ability to destroy those cesspools, the old regime intentionally allowed them to exist in order to use them as weapons whenever the regime starts to fall down, and that is exactly what happened.
The problem lies behind the Egyptian society’s predominant culture and its sources. That culture that is supported by people’s religion, heritage, and folklore, which freeze time and disable minds. That culture that criminalize critical thinking, to convert ingenuity into undesired action and discard and threaten creative people not only by the government but also by people. The authority does this actually to let people praise it, and that is the same reason why the Egyptian government imprisoned me for my writings. Actually without the will of the religious institute, El-Azhar, that is supported by people, the government wouldn’t have taken any steps against me and arrested me.
From my point of view, the only solution is uprooting the problem. I do not believe in political compromises, social maneuvers, and semi-solutions. That’s why I do not care about what politics’ polls in Egypt say, because they are fundamentally far away of the problem’s root and they keep deceiving their unaware people. Uprooting the problem means marginalization the religion, old traditions, and everything that can take us many years backward or freeze us in our places without any hope in moving forward.
In conclusion , changing governments and rulers is a useless shallow action. What really needs to be done is changing people’s mentality and the way they think, and what is even more important is recognizing how big the issue is and how to deal with it as an obvious fact.
I cannot see any hope in the near future through those suppressed and threatened generations that have accepted and got adapted to their situation. Those generations that got used to be pets and decided to go on with their lives the way it is. Human’s personality gets formed in his or her early ages, and after specific amount of years you can actually expect his or her attitudes, ethics, and reactions that are actually harmonic with the way he or she was raised in suppression, and unawareness.
The true hope that I can see is in the children that have not been tamed or subjected yet. We need to invest in educating those children as much as we invest in weapons and killing. They need to be separated from everything that can prevent them from being an open-minded, aware, and mentally-independent generation, to convert them into identical templates of their ancestors. And only later on when those children grow up and take the responsibility of the country, there would be a great hope of a real change to occur.
I’ve tried to stick to the topic and title of my speech but I found out that it’s more important to state the real causes of opposition’s failure in Egypt instead of just restating the repeated and identical non-stopping political events that all of you can follow through any form of multimedia, and it’s more important also than adopting unrealistic optimistic vision of the future that is unfortunately not related anyhow to our reality.
Finally, I would like to thank you all for listening and for your attention, and I apologize if I took too much of your time.