Egyptian Chronicles: #Sohag Sit in : The lessons we should learn

Monday, November 7, 2011

#Sohag Sit in : The lessons we should learn

Last Eid’s eve I was actually terrified when I knew that the people in the city of Sohag were angry and decided to have a sit in at the railway station cutting it in vital time as well as in one of the vital squares there and that the military police arrived to the sit in with vehicles. It did not look so good : Stubborn , stupid and cruel Military police with armed vehicles in Upper Egypt vs. Upper Egyptians in a full armed society can unleash the hell.
I was terrified because it was on the eve of the feast , the heart of the wild wild Upper Egypt and the military police did it before in Maspero , still thank God it ended peacefully with great lessons for everybody.
It is unbelievable how the mainstream media has ignored and belittled the fuel crisis in several governorates outside Cairo like  Qalibyia , Damietta , Alexandria,Mansoura in the North and Delta to Upper Egypt in Asuit and in Sohag. Things erupted in Sohag and evolved in to a sit in at one of its major square “El Thaqafa” in parallel with decision to cut the railways passing through out the governorate to send a powerful message to the centralized government in Cairo. “I hate to use the word {Centralized}”
By Ahmed Anwar 
Not less than 1000 taxi drivers, microbus drivers joined with 500 private cars drivers cut the railways with one demand : To find fuel in fuel stations in the governorate.
Sohag : Cutting the railways
The governor came and failed to solve the problem , the former army general “I think used to be a GIS officer” was kicked out of the sit in with chants demanding him to resign. The big former NDP members and MPs who thought that they still had a word in the town with their connection and fake influence also went and tried to end the sit in but they were not only kicked but their banners for upcoming elections were removed in one of the biggest slaps on the face of the NDP members who still believe they will run for the elections and win, it is the biggest slap on all those who said the people do not understand and will elect those remnants against.
Sohag : Removing the banners of the ex-NDP members running for the parliament
For 8 hours including anti-SCAF chants criticizing field marshal Tantawy and Anan as well the government.
Things were turned scary when the military police besieged the sit in with their damned armed vehicles as well the CSF but thank Goodness not clashes took place.
By David Safwat
According to journalist and writer Omar Taher who was visiting in Sohag and saw the whole issue , some people infiltrated the sit in and tried to hurl rocks at the conscripts but they were stopped by the rest of the protesters. 
The army generals in the South tried to convince the drivers to end the sit in but they insisted on their demand.
After 8 hours the drivers ended the sit in not because of the promises of fuel but for the sakes of the Upper Egyptians who were in their way home to spend the Eid vacation with their families in the South but stuck in the railways because of the sit in.Needless to say the government sent not less than 65 tons of fuel to Sohag to solve the situation somehow.
Now there are important lessons about what happened in Asuit we should undertand :
  • These people are not protest against SCAF for the sake of democracy or against the military trials, they are protesting and angry for their simple daily life problems. Almost all political powers neglected what is beyond Cairo despite they are the real force that can bring change. Nothing bad in this on the contrary.
  • The public political isolation is much more important than political disfranchisement laws and legislations and our people are not naïve . 
  • When to have a sit in and when it ended , the drivers ended that sit in for the sake of other people who should not be punished for the neglect of the centralized government in Cairo. Those simple drivers had better understanding than many of experienced political activists and protesters.
  • Some of political activists or rather teenagers should not cheer and wish for any kind of violent escalation or clash between any kind of protesters and military police because they think it will bring Revolution No.2 that will bring down SCAF and the army as well as the Revolution in January 25th brought down the ministry of interior !!!! Of course these political teenagers think that the Libyan revolution was the catalogue we should follow despising the peacefulness of Egyptian revolution. Insh Allah they will not get what they want.
  • Search for the reason : Outside Cairo is always neglected by the government and the regime , one of our main objectives we should put as a target for our revolution to achieve. The governorates should participate for real in that huge process.
The fuel crisis is not solved as it should , of course one must wonder if it is a made up crisis like the crises that were always made up by the regime.

Sohag Factbox :

  • The biggest govenorate in Upper Egypt , its population is 4 million.
  • Many of its people leave it due to poverty and lack of job, from the top population repellent governorates in Egypt unfortunately.
  • The agricultural land is decreasing day after day due to the urban expansion.
  • Here is a list of Sohag’s black list of NDP members. 


  1. These "teenagers" ad you so disgracefully label young revolutionaries, want a free civilian country. It is quite clear that the military will never willingly give up power so at some stage the people WILL have to fight the military. You must be one of the few people left who actually welcones military government on a permanent basis.
    You speak only for the rich who never suffered under the dictatorship and you will be just fine when the revolution collapses.
    The poor of your country fight for their lives and to have a future for their children, they are already in a state of war, war declared on them by Mubarark's regime and now continued by the army. The reject their roles as slaves.
    If the revolution fails they will be thrown back into poverty, mediocrity, shame and hopelessness!
    Only a fool doesn't fire back when being attacked! I hope they do rise up against the army and purge this country of the rotten selfish and brutal military who you love so much and who are the embodiment of everything that is disgusting and backward in Egypt.

  2. did you watch the Doha Debates by BBC on the SCAF ? The podcast will be available soon.
    watch the article featured videos on this page for after show interviews.

  3. @CivilianRule , clearly you do not follow this blog regular or read its posts for real in order to know my opinion before you speculate that I want military rule and I speak only for rich.

  4. I stopped reading your blog because of your sentimental attachment to the army, your compulsive nationalism and because of your denouncements of the revolutionary youth. It's clear you are from a rich family, therefore you speak for the rich.
    You always counsel moderation because your situation is moderate and your suffering at the hands of the regime is slight. Mildness and moderation in the face of the brutal military dictatorship that is now starngling the country is tantamount to collaboration!
    The poor and the desperate who advocate violence against the old regime are labelled as thugs and extremists but only THEIR suffering has been extreme so no-one can judge them. And there are many good and fine people who advocate armed resistance not becasue they are violent or murderous at heart but becasue they see that peaceful techniques have totally failed, and they know that the army are totally against the revolution!
    And you insult them!
    You won't fight because you have nothing to fight for, you don't suffer like they do, you never did and democracy or dictatorship, your class never will!
    You talk about "we Egyptians" as if there were one people suffering together, and one consensus. This is a lie, what do the poor of the villages have in common with the rich thieves of Helipolis, what does the poor son sentenced to 3 years in prison because some army officer didn't like his face have in common with the vicious military prosecutor who condemns him?!
    SCAF have used nationalism as a weapon against the revoultion, hidden their treachery behind the cloak of loving Egypt. Until freedom is loved in Egypt more than nation, until rulers are admired for their honesty and dedication rather than for how often they kiss the flag, there will be no freedom in Egypt.

  5. @Zeinobia: all the violence and suffering you fear is already being inflicted, but only on one side. The 50-70% of Egyptians who live under the Egyptian poverty line (which is much lower than the international poverty line) are already being mercilessly assaulted in every way possible. This is not just a class war, it's a class war of annihilation, in which a few lucky ones live comfortably at the expense of the majority, who are systematically denied their human dignity, physical security, health, the opportunity to have a decent education, and even hope.

    There are many among the privileged minority who are straightforward and don't even pretend to care, as long as their lives remain undisturbed, as long as all the suffering remains on one side. At least they're honest, with themselves and others.

    Then, there are those who prefer to see themselves as compassionate, who say they want to alleviate the misery of the poor and disenfranchized, but only as long as this doesn't trouble and inconvenience "us" in any way.

    Thus, in order to earn that valuable sympathy from the privileged minority, the poor and disenfranchized majority must respond to violence with non-violence, to humiliation, bullying and injustice with civility, should avoid selfishness as their children succumb to malnutrition, disease and hopelessness, and quietly withdraw to their squalid shanty towns so the rest of us can enjoy our holiday in peace.

    Above all, they need to recognize that we, who enjoy advantages that they cannot begin to imagine, know best, that our priorities are more important than theirs, and that we will solve their problems for them, when we get around to it.

  6. @Civilian Rule , ok I am quite surprised that if you stop reading my blog and yet you read this post and leave these comments , if you see that I am so bad and actually an enemy of the revolution in your view
    And dear I will not even debate you because if anything these comments proves my point.

    @Alice , Violence will lead in to the hell in this country regardless of how we suffer.Our society is not suffering from poverty like India for example when we speak about social systems and so on yet we aspire to have half the democracy they have.

  7. Beautiful Alice, you've exposed them completely!
    And Zenobia, you are not an enemy of the revolution, you are just not part of it!

  8. @Civilian Rule , you do not own the right to say that I am part of the revolution or not coz it is not your revolution alone or your group.

  9. If I don't have the right to say it then why do you publish what I say? Clearly you do recognise my right to say it.
    I have no feeling about you personally, I care only for the success of the revolution.
    I recognise that you do some good, you publish comments that are critical of your position, which shows that you respect freedom of speech (partially) and that you are willing to take criticism. And I remember how you covered stories about police brutatlity and political corruption.
    But the real revolution is when the working class refuse to be slaves any longer, nothing is more revolutionary than that.

  10. Well dear it is your view on how the revolution will make , I do have my own view on how the revolution will make it
    It is my right

  11. @Zeinobia: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable."

  12. I totally agree with Zeinobia that our revolution shall keep its peaceful course and avoid the desperate voices that, no matter it is out of good or evil intention, push us into violence that could lead to a civil war. Egyptians will refuse a future without a complete democratic country. They inspired the world thru their approach of non-violent protest and notion of justice. We revived the history of Gandhi and his aspiration for justice an freedom. Why don't our brethren in Yemen face the regime's dictatorship with the heavy arsenal of weapons they have? Because, as Yemeni Noble Peace Prize winner Kerman put it, the Yemeni revolution has stunned the observers with its peaceful nature and this peaceful nature alone disclosed the brutality of President Saleh's regime against the revolutionaries

  13. Please don't get me wrong, I hate violence and fear it and would certainly not advocate it in Egypt.

    My point is that the violence is already being committed, but in the form of hunger and malnutrition, sewage-infested drinking water, cancer-causing pesticides, sadistically low wages, inhumane shanty towns, denial of human and civil rights, an education system that promotes ignorance, and a health system that promotes disease and suffering and unnecessary deaths.

    So, the violence is already being perpetrated against the majority of Egyptians, but to the privileged minority this doesn't really count, because it is not directed at them.

    No, when the privileged minority speak of "violence" they refer only to anything that inconveniences them or threatens their comfort, or that forces them to contribute anything other than pretty words, which cost them nothing but on the contrary, confirm their belief that they are morally, as well as financially superior.

    So, it's not violence that I'm advocating, it's the END of the vicious, murderous ongoing war that has been waged against most Egyptians for at least the past 40 years.

    It's not the poor who have made survival in this country into a zero-sum game, in which the majority are only given two choices: either continuing to suffer and die in silence, or rising up violently. You can't condemn them should they choose the second option.

    So again, I'm not at all advocating violence, but am just pointing out that the privileged minority also faces a choice: either do whatever it takes to change the system so that a third, humane choice is possible, or take responsibility for the logical consequences of doing nothing.


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