Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Revolution's biggest enemy : Stupidity

We thought that the biggest dangers on the revolution is the old ex-Mubarak regime or the foreign powers that do not want Egypt to advance and restore its position or even those radical powers in the country that only care for their interests . We put a list by all our enemies and forget our biggest enemy is our stupidity ,we are own worst enemies.
Friday April 8th started wonderfully and it ended by a disaster ,a real disaster that is jeopardizing the whole revolution and our whole future actually. We are responsible for this disaster whether SAFC or activists or media.
You probably know that the army ended violently that sit in made by those alleged defected army officers and the activists that supported them. You probably know that the army used excessive force that ended officially in killing 1 person and injuring 71 according the ministry of health. You probably know or may not know that all people are worried now in Egypt from further clashes between us and the army especially the angry youth. Up till now there is a lot of contradicting stories and numbers , what I have mentioned above is the thing I am sure of.
I will start first with the SAFC and its stupid decisions. The SAFC’s decision process speed is too slow for a revolution that achieved a lot in 18 days , too slow for real time media that can turn things up side down in a day . The SAFC is acting in an army way by nature despite now it is playing politics. Old generals deal with younger generations sometimes from parenthood perspective and other times from commandership perspective. I explained my general views regarding the council here. The army is using the curfew law to enforce their side and to defend their actions and I think throughout the day they knew the defected officers were using the revolutionary feelings to get protection. The defected officers were using the civilians as human shields and unfortunately they did turn in to human shields. How could not the army pay attention to this !!?
Why did not the army arrest those defected officers earlier !!? Do not tell me that the army was afraid from media coverage and public reaction !!? Arresting those defected officers earlier at 6 PM for instance would not have not caused such fuss , in fact now it has become an international media circus. The decision to use excusive force regardless of disastrous results is politically stupid.
The SAFC made thing worse when it published this statement regarding the incident at 5.34 AM Cairo Local time
That first FB statement could have played important role in not making things worse than they were already. It was short and was written badly to the level that many Facebookers , tweeps and activists doubted its truth. The 34th MSG. states the SAFC has ordered the arrest of Egyptian businessman and NDP remnant Ibrahim Kamel and his office manager along with some of his followers. The council accused them of sending thugs and elements that turned the people against the army in Tahrir. The statement claims that Kamel’s men ,the remnants of NDP were terrorizing the public during the curfew hours , the thing which led the army use force.
Later the SACF had a press conference that was not aired live but rather edited. The press conference included a report that showed a clear communication problem at the SAFC. The official report announced at the press conference was even worse accusing the protesters at Tahrir last night to be from the counter revolution and that there were threats at the American and Israeli embassies making it hard from the army. The generals denied that the army used live ammunition as the units that stormed the square were unarmed . They underestimated the video clips that took the world by storm today saying that they showed nothing incriminating the army units !! Another stupid decision in time to crisis !!
The PR policies of the army should be changed completely , we are no longer in time of Mubarak so the council has to realize that. General Ismail Etman should realize that he is no longer in time of Mubarak with all due respect to him.
Transparency is what we actually need from the council now more than ever , transparency and accountability are what we seek and we need now to rebuild this trust between the people and the army. 
When you have a situation like that involved accusations to the army and what was considered by many as a coup attempt you do not address in this first in a Facebook short statement especially when there is blood and there are civilian casualties. If Ibrahim Kamel is involved in this attempt to destabilize the country in this way , why not to make a press conference and show all the evidences that incriminate him in this incident to the whole world.
Call me naive but knowing the level and importance of Kamel in time of Mubarak , I will not find some sort of fiction that he would be involved in something like that.  Th businessmen class in Egypt during the Mubarak era especially that A++++ class close to Mubarak himself is too damn dangerous to level you can’t imagine. Of course the fact that Kamel despite his danger has been free till today makes the SAFC in very bad position. Already I wonder if he is in Egypt after all !!
The Egyptian army reputation is already in deep trouble worldwide because of their late reaction and lack of transparency and accountability regarding the attacks of the military police against civilians including the aggression on female protesters and students at Cairo university. Again they have to realize that they are not longer working in the battlefield but rather in the civilian world. The SAFC should learn from its previous mistakes and correct its ways , it should not rely on the fact that the people will take its side over the revolution.
Despite the sensitivity of the topic , the Egyptian media is still scared from covering the matter as it should. If you cover neutrally as you should in a professional way , you will save the day actually. Hiding the truth in this critical times give a golden opportunity to the enemies of the revolution of spreading their lies. There was no journalist interested in knowing the details of those defected officers and who they were or how many people were really injured and killed.
There is still this psychological barrier between the journalists and covering army related issues , ok but I am pretty amazed that those defected officers were not connected by the journalists even for curiosity.  The Egyptian national TV is still proving that it has got a lot of time to become the Egyptian people’s TV.
Now moving to the activists and defected army officers whom exactly we do not know their full names or even how many they were. We got contradicting stories in a strange way. Some claimed 3 of them were killed while when I was following the matter in twitter live , I read that 3 of them escaped. The army denied that any of them were killed. Again contradiction with emotional talks makes things worse.
From the beginning as far as I know there were no plans for sit in when the trial Friday was planned. The sit in was brought up by those officers whom vowed not to leave except when their demands were met. Their main demand was forcing the SACF to step down. I hope that our radical activists wake up from their revolutionaries dreams and remember that this is a coup according to all sorts laws and common around the globe. From the start these officers should not have came and participated in the protest in their uniforms. This is a crime , a sign of mutiny all over the world for God sake.
I will not compare this to Ahmed Shoman incident because there is a huge change in time , already I wonder where these officers were at that time !! I know the radical revolutionary activists will not like this but this is the army. Many people in Egypt consider it the last standing organization if it goes down , then it is not the end of revolution but the beginning of real chaos in Egypt. The corruption in army will not be solved like the corruption in the ministry of interior nor the army is the state security buildings we can storm.
Now I am very distributed by some tweeps and activists who made from these unknown officers heroes without knowing anything of them to the level of accusing the rest of the Egyptian officers and soldiers of being cowards and traitors. You want to attack the SAFC , attack it from here to eternity but you do not insult the officers of the army and accuse of treason and dishonor, ironically those tweeps were wondering where the army was when Gaza was bombarded from two days ago !!?
Unfortunately Some of these activists despite bragging of being in the streets all day have lost all the connection to the rest of the Egyptian people who will stand with the Egyptian army despite they know very well that it suffers from corruption just like any other institutions in the country. These activists do not know that they are jeopardizing the revolution by losing the Egyptian people in this way.
Of course these activists believe that the Egyptian people are too damn ignorant and passive as most of them voted for yes in the referendum not to mention most of them did not sleep at Tahrir square , thus they should not have the right to choose. They have the right to choose for millions of Egyptians and so you find now them boldly say the SAFC must step down and a presidential council takes over due to what happened yesterday !!!!!!!!!
I am sorry but last time I checked those activists said that they would accept the results of the first free democratic referendum whose results were crystal clear everybody. I did not choose a Presidential committee in the referendum and so did millions of Egyptians.
The activists have to be angry but their anger should not blind them from truth and reality. They should not forget our main goal which is not the SAFC currently. When we have a parliament , when we have elected president , we can open the files of the army during the Mubarak’s era as we want in the correct way.
Now regarding activists Nawara Negm has been under huge attack and fire because of her position from the defected officers despite she slammed the pathetic press conference of the SAFC. Due to the fact she did what she had promised and reported the defected officers to the MP whose answer was another question mark in that X-File , all people blame for last night attack. I hate to tell you that the army did not wait for Nawara Negm’s phone call to move like that , already the SAFC made it clear that it would not let anyone wearing a military uniform with no right in the country. She did not tell the army units at Tahrir to treat the protesters like that.
The SAFC has made terrible mistakes but Egyptian activists have turned in to their own worst enemies. The Egyptian activists do not want to play politics , they do not want to leave the Tahrir at the right time and return to it at the right time to deliver to get what they want.
Now to the reactions of the world and the political powers in Egypt.The Muslim brotherhood of course supports the SAFC’s statement and its members who participated at the yesterday’s protest said that they did not want the officers to get in to the podium with the uniforms.
Possible presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei was from the early public personalities who addressed the matter, he spoke about the importance of trust between people and the army and that dialogue was the only option.
Possible presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabhi condemned the attack and toughly describing it as a crime that expresses the old ex-regime policies. The man who said once that the army can a role like the Turkish army believes that the confidence between the people and the army depends only on the accountability. Strong words indeed but I wonder if the good intentions of Hamdeen Sahbi but I wonder if he is firing back at ElBaradei.
Egyptian businessman Ibrahim Kamel denied the allegations and claimed that the SAFC was meant another Ibrahim Kamel !! So the man is free and is giving statements to El Masry El Youm !!
A group of political powers gathered in the morning and issued a statement at press conference in an early move at the syndication of journalists and it started good and ended by fights. I found their statement was balanced considering it was made in  a very short time. The statement warns the attempts to turn the people and the army against each are increasing rapidly especially we are getting closer from the prosecution of Mubarak’s inner circle.
Again I will be labeled by every name and every accusation in the diction because of what I see and I think. I do not care , at least one person was killed last night and the country is on the edge of the unknown.Shall we pass it !!? Well insh Allah we will. We changed a powerful 30 years old dictatorship in a peaceful revolution that has not finished yet , we are still have got many battles in our war with the previous regime to win insh Allah . We will can’t make it on our own if we do not have the people and the army in our side. God bless Egypt and help us now.

22 comments:

  1. Really a lot of good points made to think about. But taking time to think does not seem the motto of the day for many. Though only that can help Egypt from drowning in chaos. You've spoken open and frank. And I fear both sides won't like it. But they have to take up with it. If they would think about what you said, both sides could come to their senses. Then perhaps there would be a good chance to manage all this somehow after all. Let's hope for the best.

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  2. @z
    Like the Egyptian media, you speak out of fear of the army which gave rise to three tyrant presidents.
    The army's job is to protect its people and not to shoot at them.

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  3. Thank you Zeinobia . good article i agree 100% , i hope we all take a long breath and think a bit about the whole situation specially some of our young activists who did not understand the danger of the call of some officers on facebook and on the internet to protest with their uniforms , i have to say i have been so worried about it when i saw those videos and saw how many felt sympathy with the officers without even thinking the danger of a move like that , i hope we can think and reach a solution also i hope we all can learn from that specially the military council

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  4. Some excellent points. The army made many mistakes in how it responded, but this whole incident was entirely avoidable and unnecessary. While I share many of the protester's complaints, they lost my backing once when they goaded the army into a pointless confrontation.
    The army made no attempt to remove the protesters until they camped out in Tahrir beyond the curfew. With this, the generals have been consistent since day one, and protesters could expect it, even without their attempts to get army officers to mutiny.
    Incidentally, from a vantage point over Tahrir, it was clear that the police/army were initially trying to remove the protesters without using excessive force (no tear gas, shots fired over their heads only). The protesters raised the stakes when they started tossing bottles, rocks and molotov cocktails. Shouting "selmiya!" after doesn't make sense.
    Those who stayed in Tahrir that night should accept responsibility for their actions. Too bad they're at it again tonight.
    FYI- I was with you in Tahrir Jan 28, and voted No

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  5. You wrapped it up so well. I am more on your side of the argument, and the only note I would like to leave is that Habib Al-Adly, caught at 00:00 a.m., had a phone interview earlier that day with the same Al-Masry Al-Youm denying he was accused of anything. So, Ibrahim Kamel is on his way to prison, Adly style :))

    By the way, my parents here are taking the side of the Army to end a sit in. I think my parents aren't the only ones who would pity the loss of a soul but find a sit-in unjustifiable.

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  6. the revolution has just began . The US and Israel are trying to derail it . The army still uses the time trying to find the Mubarak alternative person that will follow the Mubarak policies. So why are you surprised ?
    Everything is going according to plan ..
    Look what happened in Libya, what are trying to do in Syria ..
    There is revolution .. but there is counter revolution also.
    When you see Hillary visiting a place .. you must expect troubles .. and she has visited Egypt .. right ?

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  7. I agree that too many people took those infamous videos of the "army officers" ("army heroes") at face value and didn't consider the very dangerous implications.

    The inconsistent and sometimes mysterious actions and decisions of the AFC have created a fertile soil for suspicions and it's very possible that malicious forces are taking advantage of this.

    The AFC is simply not qualified to deal with complex political realities, especially at a sensitive time like this. They need to take advantage of those among the revolutionaries who have offered so many times to cooperate with them in formulating plans and decisions.

    The AFC could at least use them as a sounding board rather than deciding matters in closed rooms and issuing draconian orders and decrees.

    Above all, we need more transparency and two-way communication on POLITICAL matters.

    The revolutionaries' loyalty is to Egypt and so far that has made them loyal to its army. The AFC's actions are making it easy for those who question whether the two loyalties are consistent.

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  8. SAFC is not acting stupid, they are implementing everything in the interests of the nation!

    EVERYTHING in Egypt is undergoing reform and upheaval, the only thing stable is the ARMED FORCES. Any citizen who uses this dangerous period in time to start attacking and discrediting the army is committing high TREASON.

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  9. M. Lynx Qualey4/10/2011 11:13:00 AM

    Zeinobia,
    While I don't always agree with every point, I greatly admire how boldly and clearly you write. Thank you for everything you do.
    M.

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  10. I don't understand why everyone is making a big deal for, I really don't think that the army is collapsing as you say. I think the whole thing was an internal issue in the army and small-minded people got dragged into it, its the soldiers fault for asking protection from civilians.
    If the army can't control is supposedly well-disciplined minions then that's their problem not ours. Yes! the army is the as a corrupt institution as any another in Egypt but their all we have now, but I still think that the armed forces don't know shit about politics and should hand power to a civilian council constituting of people well-know and respected and can be agreed on, like Assam Sharif.

    I think now the time has come(actually 2 weeks ago)to lay down the placards and start thinking about the future. If they spend less time as they do thinking about what they're gonna name a Friday and more time campaigning, well we might actually have a chance.

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  11. stupidpeoplearestupid4/10/2011 02:24:00 PM

    Haha!

    First rule of Project Mayhem is....

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  12. http://www.slate.com/id/2278044/

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  13. Revolution is a process of change and not a single event. This process requires a vision and the ability to navigate between the present we reject the future we want. In this process, wisdom & maturity should be coupled with the ability to compromise. You compromise in the means in order to reach the ultimate objective.

    It was un-wise to get military officers entangled with the events in Tahrir. This is a political infancy by those who are ignorant about the rules of the military system. A fine line has been crossed. Yet, mistakes do happen which is the only way to get lessons learned and apply a correction.

    I think there is a potential to benefit from this stumble more than the price paid. This depends on the change and correction you apply on your team, the military team will take care of themselves. Army is not angles (there is a lot in their closet), yet it is the only institution available to lead the process.

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  14. The reader-provided link is to this Dec. 15, 2010 Slate article: Egypt's Command Economy
    A WikiLeaks cable shows how the regime has bought off the military.
    First paragraph: "CAIRO—The lavish headquarters of Egypt's Ministry of Military Production is a far cry from the rundown buildings that surround it in central Cairo. From the golden handrails of the sweeping central staircase to the ministry's fancy custom-made drink coasters—the place is awash with cash..."

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  15. Both you and Sandmonkey figure that the protesters acted not in their best interests. Concede that at this time it is hard to know who are your enemies and who are your friends - so you have to be loyal to ideals. One of these ideals is that it is as wrong to torture people you dislike and distrust as it is people you like and trust - and if these AWOL soldiers are not being detained or tortured, that would also be important info.

    And as we say in the west, a week is a long time in politics.

    “kanaafa .@Sandmonkey nobody has the guerrilla outlook - it's all head-on or that's enough. And that is because no strategy”

    That is because people were saying that they were glad that Football/Soccer was over because they saw sports and politics as distinct entities rather than two entities which use the same strategies, like Canadians do. Trying to draw a penalty works the same way in the world of politics as it does in the world of hockey. When the goalie carves up the rightwinger’s family jewels when the ref is not looking and the rightwinger ends up in the penalty box because he retaliates, the goalie’s team plays with a man advantage.

    Even when talking about Libya, Bouchard (who is in charge of the NATO mission) said “stepping up to the plate” (a baseball analogy) in his latest interview and “a coach doesn’t show you his play book” in his previous interview.

    “But now, we have other options: we can protest, we can pressure, we can organize & win elections & write the rules of the game.”

    It is a balancing act between playing the game and changing the game.

    “Now, u want a real assessment of strengths? You know why the ARMY is lying & doing this shit? Because its scared shitless of you!”

    Yes and no. Any effort to push the Army out more quickly increases the odds of maintaining the status quo – which suits the Army just fine. They are trying to piss you guys off so that you take the bait, that the elections happen even sooner – and people who will let them do what they want are more apt to get power because they are better organized. The Army is playing hockey – your team just got a five minute major, so lets see how good their power play is – and let’s please score a short-handed goal!

    The West is good at having strategies for when the politician looks like he is down for the count – but most take a lot of money for PR to be effective. Whether it is a Teflon John or a Teflon Jean or a Teflon Juan – there are politicians facing a series of scandals but it looks like nothing is sticking to them. Eventually something sticks, though, but, with term limits, they will probably be gone before it does.

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  16. Zeinab,

    I think that the army has been playing for time since all this started.

    If the MB win the elction i can see the army staging a proper coup. They would be in Benjamins' and hillary's good books for having stopped the creation of an islamic state no matter how many people they may kill.

    I don't trust the army and i think egypt is between a rock and a hard place ie a military dictatorship or a state run by mislim brotherhood.

    Regards,

    Riccardo

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  17. Hi Zeinobia, I'm one of those radicals whom you don't like very much. I'm watching from the US in awe of what is happening in your ancient, sacred country and, like billions around the world, have been inspired by the daring and resolve of the Egyptian protesters. I've even written about it (Google Counterrevolution 101 if you are interested). I'm writing to tell you how much I like your blog, and to tell all Egyptian revolutionaries, the radical and conservative alike, that around the world there are people who love you and are following closely your struggles. You are not alone; your fight is our fight. Best wishes to our brothers and sisters in Egypt, and, inshAllah, may you succeed. In solidarity.

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  18. This blog is entirely rubbish

    The referendum wasn't free or democratic. If people are manipulated to vote in a certain way then it wasn't democratic, if activists who tru to campaign for a NO vite get intimitaded and terrorised- and you know exactly what I mean and what happened -then it wasn't a fair referendum. If referendum's date is pushed ahead instead of time previously planned especially so activists don't have time to educate people then it wasn't free. If religion is used to push people to vote YES otherwise they become infidels then it certainly wasn't democratic.

    It's not 30 years of Mubarak dictatorship, it's 60 years of Military dictatorship disguised in a civil-state-charade. We haven't changed anything.

    You have to get this in your head, the army is not the divine, it's not beyond questioning or accountability and when it comes to corruption the military establishment is the worst and you know that very well.. as for that bullshit 'powerful businessmen and what they can do', more powerful than the army? what fucking rubiish is that?? besides, they aren't doing anything as you brainwashed simpletons seem to believe state-tv all over again. Thos "powerful" businessmen are 2 types.... the big ones are protected by the army itself because they have freaking deals with army businesses and you know exactly what I mean or should I upload documents and blow it all up but ofcourse you will not publish my comment if I expose your beloved army links with the biggest corrupted businessmen! the second type are small fat cats, those are not doing anything either and are too scared to attract attention or come in the spotlight and quietly sending their money abroad.

    wake up and grow up and see the reality as it is instead of sugar-coating it and making excuses for the army.

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  19. Where peaceful protesters were assembled, demanding the departure of the nation’s ruler, who they say is a tyrant. The soldiers fired bullets into the crowd and beat the protesters, dragging some away into trucks going to unknown destinations. Protesters courageously remain in the square, however, and are repeating their demands.

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  20. Hello,

    Those are turbulent times and, indeed, in many ways your revolution has just started.

    Out of the many plagues humanity has to face there are two every democracy must be very aware of. First is corruption which is endemic even in reputed stable old democracies (e.g. through the process of substitution of the interests of the people by private interests endorsed by lobbies as exemplified by the western democraties across Europe and the U.S. case).
    The second plague is the all too human habit to structure a social group in a pyramidal hierarchy and the ensuring struggle for power.

    The legitimate means to alleviate those plagues is more transparency and a very well planned constitution provisioning for potential abuses.

    It takes time and very bright people for making an enduring constitution. I think you should concentrate on this and accept in the mean time your army as a not too bad if not optimal garant of order before organized political parties can present a coherent program Egyptian citizens could adhere to.

    Of course Mubarak should be judged for his crimes when ruling the country but consider that many of his suitors are the generals and subservant officiers still in place in the army. Those people have to be given a chance to be recycled otherwise, out of fear and greed they will unite behind a new tyran. So, please, don't be merciless and have some patience, a patience most useful in the preparation of your new constitution.

    Peace, Mel (melajara@yahoo.com)

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  21. What on earth are you talking about? your observation above goes like this:

    "ACCEPT in the mean time your army as a NOT TOO BAD if not optimal garant of order before organized political parties can present a coherent program Egyptian citizens could adhere to."

    How can you just accept? you have to supervise, monitor and question the army then reach agreement with the army as to how the army should conduct itself in a true democratic spirit not just ACCEPT its current role. Democracy is about a dialog. Beside how do you make sure you get organized political parties that can present coherent programs on the citizens behalf if you do not make it plain that the citizens will participate in every aspect with freedom of expression without fear, including in the creation of these parties manifestos, then monitor not just ACCEPT. The various Egyptian parties do not exist in a form reflecting the reform aspirations of the masses now. Corruption by the elite is rife, the army stood still when Egyptians were been killed in Tahrir, and now they cannot accept criticism in a so called democracy, and more they are now shooting at the citizens, how can you just ACCEPT? you have to get involved in the debate then agree to a strict agenda to follow through.

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  22. @anonymous

    You are right as "accept" has not to be taken in a passive sense. Indeed, everybody must participate, question, monitor and when mandatory denounce inappropriate behaviour from others or the army.

    However, each revolution is a process of transformation from an ancient state of affairs to a new one, hopefully better.

    Dangers for a revolution is 1, chaos, if the transition is not managed and here come the Egyptian army (as transitional regulator) and 2, radicalization (remember the French Revolution of 1789) which is just replacing a tyranny by another one, even more fearsome.

    This is why I'm recommending some patience and even forgiveness.

    Mel

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