Monday, April 18, 2011

Hot Days in Qena indeed !!

Things are hot and it is not about weather but about the new governor. When the new governors list was announced last week in Egypt some governorates objected some of the names in the list due to their past affiliation with the NDP and state security.
Among these names was the governor of Qena police general Emad Mikhail who used to be a general in the ministry of interior . It started simply with a sit in in front of the governorate HQ , normal Muslims and Christians refusing the new governor because he is accused of participating in the shooting of protesters during the revolution in Giza . Already one should wonder why someone like that is appointed as a governor and not being investigated for his role in the revolution !!? Again we would not have all this if there is better political decision making process.

Everything was fine and civil , people had demands and the government should have listened to them but suddenly with no introduction we found the radical Salafists jumping to the scene , in fact occupying the scene forcing the rest of the people whether Christians or Muslims to leave it. They reject the new governor because he is Christian , they do not want him because of that only as far as I see !!
The scene became ugly when we find the people in Qena cutting the railways and highways and isolating the governorate from the rest of the country. Not than LE 1 million are lost on daily basis because of this sit in !! In the past 48 hours I have read angry and dangerous threats allegedly from starting from cutting water and electricity to the red sea factories to having some Islamic state in the city !!!! Things even went frenzy when someone raised the flag of Saudi Arabia in yesterday’s protest , of course this flag was referring to Saudi Arabia or Saudi sponsorship but referring to the religious identity of Islam.
Saudi flag or rather the banner of Islam
Needless to say Saudi Arabia and its ambassador are accused of trying to create sectarian division now because of this !! The new Saudi ambassador has hard job without doubt in Egypt post revolution.
Of course some activists from Qena are disturbed by this and try to convince us that it is not a sectarian thing as even Christians refuse the appointed governor. I believe them but unfortunately the videos coming from Qena shows another thing. This is just a clip from series of video clips showing something terribly bad there.

To be honest I wonder why those people did not do such thing on January 28th in solidarity with their brothers in Cairo , Alexandria and Suez !!?
Now without any doubt here is another episode from the counter revolution soap opera and I am not being sarcastic in any way. Bloggers and activists from Qena are speaking meeting between former state security officers and some Salafists who used to work with the SS last Thursday , they also reported some ugly NDP faces were seen in the Salafist protests like Abdel Raheem El-Gol and Abdel Fatah Omar. I believe them. 
It is a new set up for the army now , I was calling the army to interfere and end this circus on twitter as it ended the strikes in Tahrir square “tough on Tahrir but soft on Qena” yet thankfully people reminded me with the nature of Upper Egypt. We are speaking about Qena , the deep down of Upper Egypt and if the army interferes like What happened in Tahrir square April 8th , we can have a civil war there technically considering the facts that everybody is armed there and tribal values are over everything else. This is an original set up because now you are sending message to the rest of Egyptians and also to the world that democracy will bring out the bogyman : THE ISLAMISTS !!
It is a set up for the army , it is a set up for the government , it is set up for the new presidential candidates who seem to be afraid to go to Qena. For the record the previous governor of Qena was Christian and Christians hated him more than Muslims because they believed he favored Muslims over them for fear he would be accused of taking their side because of his religion. He was also police general , most of the governors in Upper Egypt come from the police in the previous era due to the special nature of area there. You got fully armed society , you got powerful and armed families that are more powerful than the state itself , you also have the 1990s terrorism years thus the regime believed Police generals will be better in dealing with these governorates.
By the way some people believe that it is a set up by the army itself to make us accept any governors the Salafists want !! There is no doubt that there is a huge trust issue between people especially young people and the army.
Knowing the nature of Upper Egypt , I would say that the governor position there is not like in Delta or the rest of Egypt , the families and tribes play important role here in shaping the policies of the governorate. This is why I insist that the army push on the families to end this circus in a reasonable way , people say that the families’ powers are outside the city but all those protesting follow the orders of their families by the end of the day.The families of Qena are silent because according to those from Upper Egypt they do not consider the Salafists as danger yet.
It is no wonder that the PM sent the minister of interior along with a delegation to speak with the Salafists.  Mansour El-Eissawy is already from Qena and he went there with delegation from the revolution activists like Mustafa Al Nagar but unfortunately the negotiations have failed. Now people are speaking of sending Sheikh Mohamed Hassan there and actually I am not comfortable with that role giving to him.
Of course the people should choose their governors freely in democratic elections and hopefully this will be put in our priorities after having a new parliament and constitution.Qena just like the rest of Upper Egypt governorates suffer from a lot of problem especially poverty , I hope that the civil society pay attention to Upper Egypt now because there is no excuse after the fall of the Mubarak regime.


  1. thank you for the quick reply to my tweet. I appreciate your work very much.

  2. This is dangerous and needs to be solved as soon as possible. This will make the revolution look bad in the western world as you know how the media is when it comes to things like that.

  3. This is absolutely disgusting, watching these videos it looks like Egypt has gone back to the 7th century.
    I think it would be a BIG mistake if the governor was replaced, it would only benefit the Salafists and the Ikhwan like the army and the government work to please them because they're scary breaded men and we don't wanna agitate the breaded men. HA!
    I also don't know why the army hasn't stepped in to enforce the curfew or does the curfew only apply in Tahrir, they're disrupting transportation for God's sake this is anything but peaceful.
    No wonder the economy is in the shit, if I was an investor and saw this I would take the money and run.

  4. مينفعش يتقال ان ده صعيد والتعامل معاه صعب..الجيش لو عايز يلم الموضوع وبتعامل كان عمل كده فعلا,..دول بيهتفوا اسلامية ولا اله الا الله هما داخلين حرب مع الكفار ؟
    الجيش مش بيعترض على توجهات السلفيين والاسلاميين المتشددة حتى مع دول اللى قطعوا السكة الحديد وبيهددوا امن البلد لكن بيعترض ويعتدى على المسالمين اللى بيقولوا رأيهم بتحضر

  5. So when are people gonna realize that the Salafists and Ikhwan are more than an imaginary bogeyman, and actually pose a real threat. Remember they both have Saudi funding so don't underestimate their power.

  6. They certainly need to enforce power in this protest because he can't be replaced because if he got replaced then same thing would happen all over Egypt and we would end up like another Lebanon.

  7. The Armed Forces Council has bungled this whole affair so stupidly: yet more proof (if any was needed) that they are totally unsuited for the presidential responsibilities they've taken on.

    There are so many ways this could have been defused or even prevented. For one thing, the unilateral way the AFC made and announced this decision seemed irresponsibly provocative, and their failure to respond with any transparency, even to explain why they chose this particular man as the governor of Qena, has caused the crisis to escalate out of control. For days they just ignored the mounting rage of the people of Qena, giving the salafists ample opportunity to exploit and manipulate it to their advantage.

    Bringing a salafist sheikh to "help" makes things even worse by implying that the salafists are not citizens of Egypt like the others, but subject only to their own laws and the authority of their salafist leaders. In other words, the AFC is giving de facto legitimacy to the "state within a state" of the salafists and extremists.

    If the AFC can't clean up its own messes and resolve its conflicts with citizens, its members should resign and allow more competent leaders to take their place.

    On the other side, my own relatives are becoming quite hysterical. Even some who strongly supported the revolution are now saying, "Yel'an abou el thawra welle gabouha." I suspect that the same thing is being said in most Coptic households.

    Great. Before, Israelis boasted that Egypt was their playground. Now Egypt has become Saudi Arabia's playground and if we let them, they will poison the revolution and transform Egypt into yet another weapon pointed at the heart of the Arab world. As long as Egypt was a neoliberal and zionist puppet state, it was allowed to stay united. Now that this status is endangered, it seems the Saudis and their Masters have decided to set it on fire so that first Libya and then Egypt will serve as a warning to others seeking their "freedom". Once again, the zionists will smugly point out to their Western audiences this "proof" that Arabs are not capable of handling democracy and can only be ruled with an iron fist.

    Until now, I've been saying that the Egyptian heroes who brought down the Mubarak regime are more than capable of dealing with the sectarian maniacs. Suddenly, based on what I'm seeing, I'm not so sure.

    Qena has become a battleground for Egypt's future, and it looks from here like the salafists and their puppet-masters are winning, and that it's the democratic and progressive Egyptians who have "trembling hands". The salafists think so too, based on their smug and self-satisfied reactions.

    I used to be angry at those who insisted that the revolution would hand Egypt over on a silver platter to the religious fanatics. But this is exactly what's happening. I hope to God (our ONE God) that I'm wrong.

  8. Now there's news the governor will be replaced within hours, absolutely disgraceful!! It seems no one has any real authority in this country.

    Alice you're absolutely correct, the revolution hasn't changed the fact that the majority of Egyptians are as submissive and docile as ever. They're easy manipulated, Saudi Arabia is trying to send a message to the West (to punish them for abandoning Mubarak) and it's using Egypt to do it.

    Canada here I come!!

  9. I share the concerns of Alice and Jasmine but not the bleak conclusions. Jan 25 revolution is successful in achieving a change in the top. But this will not erase ills accumulated in decades. These ills are inflicted either intentional or accidental. You can't mitigate ignorance and fanaticism by a decree.

    A real effort should be exercised to illuminate and educate the docile masses to reach a viable alternative. This will be tough since there are reactionary forces (real, not imaginary) feeding the feud. National and non-official media can play a role to establish communication and debate . You loose this round in Qna, but you win the next two. There will be some setbacks and losses, yet better future will come.

    Cairo here I come!!

  10. @Jasmine: don't be misled by my outburst. Like many others, I may occasionally feel overwhelmed by frustration and sorrow, but I am very, very far from willing to give up on Egypt.

    Egypt is like a magnificent, ancient palace that has been neglected for years so that the paint has peeled, windows have cracked and broken and rats have had free rein, etc. Its foundations are very solid, however, and the palace is brilliantly designed and built and full of precious and irreplaceable antiques and the land is fertile and rich. With some commitment and hard work, it can become once again an incredibly comfortable, secure and prosperous home for its owners and a welcoming refuge for others.

    Think of Egypt's enemies as prospective buyers, who want the owners to think that it's worthless so that they'll be willing to sell it, and sell it cheaply (or better yet, abandon it for nothing).

    Imagine that they're so desperate to make the owners leave that they've hired mercenaries to make ghostly noises and terrify the owners into giving up.

    Egypt is ours, Jasmine, and if we don't appreciate the incredible heritage with which God has blessed us, you can be sure that our enemies do appreciate it, very much, and want it for themselves. If they can't have it, they're willing to see it destroyed rather than see it, and us, fulfill our true potential.

    Whether we realize it or not, we're in a life and death struggle, not only for Egypt, but for our heritage and for our future and even the future of the region. Think of the Palestinians who pine and dream of Palestine decades after it was lost. How many Egyptians will abandon Egypt of their own free will? And will they only understand what they have done when it's too late?


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