Why the SCAF & Their Speech are Completely Ridiculous

On February 1st 2011, Mubarak gave his second speech, that annoyed the hell out of most Egyptians but somehow managed to touch the heart of some (He spoke of dying in Egypt, his service to Egypt and how much he loves this country, and let’s face it, we are highly emotional people who often show symptoms of the Stockholm Syndrome).

I was one of those people highly annoyed by the speech. In fact I was so annoyed, that as soon as I woke up to find the internet back on Febuary 2nd, I sat and wrote this blog post answering every point in his speech with facts about the ridiculous breaches of our rights that his regime and himself committed.  After that thugs that were hired by the regime attacked the protestors in Tahrir for a continuous 14 hours, leaving Egyptians at home and the entire world in immense shock at the brutality of Mubarak and his minions.

Here we are almost half a year later, Mubarak is gone, and his minions in uniform have taken over ruling the country. On Tuesday July 12th, Lieutenant Mohsen El Fangary, a member of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces and the same man who saluted the martyrs of our revolution the night Mubarak stepped down, gave a statement harshly accusing protestors of causing chaos in the country. It  sounded all-too-familiar to me. In fact, so little has changed in the past months, that here I am, angrily getting ready to write yet another answer to a statement by the ruler of Egypt with facts to show them that we are not idiots and we will not be silenced anymore.

The Statement:

 

Whether you speak Arabic or not, you hear the sharpness, challenging and accusatory tone of his speech. Later in the day the SCAF had a press conference which they attempted to tone it down saying they will do their best to end the sit-ins through non-violent manners by engaging in a conversation with the protestors.

My replies to this statement

He claims that the SCAF stood by the revolution and supported the peoples’ demands from the start

To this I say: Bullshit. They stood by the regime, never the people. If they stood by the people they wouldn’t have given ammunition to the police in Tahrir Square on January 28th, they wouldn’t have stood by and let the thugs attack Tahrir on Feb 2nd and they would have taken a stance any time before the 18 days.  Sure, as soon as Mubarak stepped down they dissolved the forged Parliament and Shura Council and suspended the constitution, which were part of the original demands.

But then they only took some ex-regime members (5 to be exact) into custody and treated them like scape-goats while letting the Mubarak family along with his office manager, the head of parliament and the many ministers and MPs who were responsible for the killing of protesters, the torture and theft to be free to organise their assets and cover their asses. In fact they only started issuing the arrest warrants on these people in April, after several million man marches.

He says that SCAF will not give up their role in ruling the country in this phase of Egypt’s history. He claims that this is what the people wanted and approved according to the March referendum.

Well, actually, our dear SCAF, no one asked you to be the rulers of the country during the transitional phase. In fact, when Omar Suliman, the short-lived Egyptian vice president, announced in 30 seconds that Mubarak would be stepping down he also announced that Mubarak would be leaving the country in your charge. Therefore, you were appointed by your ex-leader Mubarak, not the Egyptian people. The revolution was asking for a civil transitional government, not a military one. Your role as Egypt’s rulers is not, and has never been constitutional. You may run one of the biggest armies in the Middle East, but people are not soldiers, and you were just never raised to engage in conversation or be open to input.

In regards to the referendum, that was only used to trick us into thinking we are in a democracy now. I only have one thing to say: The referendum was not democratic. I’m not questioning the outcome. But in a true democracy, when citizens vote for something they should know what they are voting for. You ran a completely non-transparent, unfair process, in which you gave almost no information on what would happen if we voted No. Thus, leaving political powers the night before still battling on what each think what each vote would lead to. You didn’t give enough time for people to engage in conversation and when the first Sectarian clash broke out before, people focused on that and not the coming referendum.  This left no time to question or understand the process. And actually assuming that the 72% who voted Yes were voting “Yes to the Army” is merely an assumption because the reasons behind the Yes vote were numerous: Some voted yes because of religion thanks to a (false) campaign to keep article 2 of the old constitution. Others voted Yes to make sure your stay in power would be as short lived as possible. While some were just voting Yes because we got used to that (Yes Mubarak!).

Fun Fact: Before the results came out SCAF didn’t even issue a statement explaining that the results of the referendum would lead to these articles being added to a constitutional declaration of 40 articles that are copied from Mubarak’s dismissed, toppled and dismantled constitution.

SCAF affirms the following: (I will answer these one by one)

1. Freedom of expression is in everyone’s rights withing legal boundaries

Legal boundaries for freedom? According to whose standards? Egyptian people have been suppressed for generations. We all have a voice now and we all wish to speak.  Only when we all let out what is in us that we will be able to form bodies to help us move forward with our development. Also, reality check, our revolution is far from over in both the political sense and the economic sense. Politically you have failed to reach many of the revolution’s demands such as: a) trying ex-regime officials (and Mubarak) for their crimes in a fast, fair and public manner. b) Starting a real restructing process of the security apparatus that the regime used to torture and silence people so they could stay in power c) Allowing people the freedom to protest without being beaten up, arrested, questioned and subjected to military trials and virginity testing.

As for the media, nothing has changed. Egyptian state TV and newspapers have become your voice to the people instead of Mubarak’s. There is still lies, false facts and propaganda from your side forced upon us. Not to mention calling in for questioning journalists and TV personalities for challenging your leadership.

Freedom of speech, yeah right.

2. SCAF is committed to its action plan of running the country during the transitional phase of having parliament, Shura council then a constitution & a president thus handing the country to an elected civil authority

Not nearly enough. That is a political action plan. But where is the social aspect of it? One of the main demands of the revolution was social justice. You, nor Essam Sharaf’s cabinet, have not taken any steps in ensuring that. Which is why the so called “side protests” have been going on by workers in factories, teachers, doctors, students…etc to try to achieve social justice and overthrow the workplace Mubaraks. People also demand a proper minimum wage, or at least an action plan that is timely to ensure that. Another failure from your side. What’s more, you have taken no steps (without pressure) to take the demands of the revolution that impact people’s lives and jobs.

3. Supporting the Prime Minister Essam Sharaf in his rights & responsibilities according to the constitutional declaration & the law

Supporting Esaam Sharaf or chaining & silencing him? I believe Carlos Latuff’s cartoon below speaks for itself.

SCAF's relationship with Egyptian PM Essam Sharaf

4. Working within legal frame works when dealing with criminals & with laws for the transitional phase

The word “Thug” has been used sporadically lately. Of course there is an increase in crime on Egypt’s streets. After all, you just more slyly have continued keeping police off the streets. You and the police force try to blame the Egyptian people & the revolution for the security problem (very clever, I’ll give you that). But actually, if the police force are not functioning, it is your responsibility as the rulers to bring security to the streets. If you take measures in restructuring the police force, changing its leadership, and training the officers there wouldn’t be issues between people and the police. You are using the absence in security to scare us into halting our revolution. But actually Mubarak used the same tactic and failed. I suggest you try and learn from his mistakes.

Also, when you start using this “Thug Law” (which is the same as Emergency Law which removing was an original demand) you are abusing it to take protesters into military custody. My friend Tarek Shalaby was one of those you decided to take in, and actually he has a one year suspended sentence for protesting and destroying public property (a false claim on your side with zero evidence to support it). Military trials of civilians are completely unacceptable. They are even more so when you use them against protesters. The same way you kept the curfew till June 15th to have an excuse when you attack protests (like you did on April 9th in Tahrir, see video below)

5. Continuing with the conversational & open policy with all political powers & the revolution’s youth to achieve the demands

I seem to recall political powers saying widely that you simply do not engage in open policy conversation with them. Except for the Muslim Brotherhood of course, but you guys have had an on-off relationship for decades. Most political powers are pissed off because you still have not given any real information about when and how Parliamentary elections will take place.

As for the revolution youth, I have a question, who the hell are these revolution youth you engage with? You started with talking to the Youth Coalition, then they realised this was leading no where so they stopped engaging with you and went back to the square. I remember the night after the CNN story about the virginity checks came out and you invited these “revolution youth” in your 60 & 61 statements on Facebook to come 48 hours later to have a discussion with you the current situation. Most of the established youth coalitions signed a statement refusing to meet with you because of the short notice, the box of revolution youth you put them in, the fact that it is a two hour meeting with 1,000 people so they knew it would be a lecture from your side. You still had the meeting with random youth you found somewhere while we had a protest outside against the virginity testing and military trials.

6. Drafting a document establishing the principles of the committee that will be in charge to draft the new Egyptian constitution (this will be added to the constitutional declaration after all political parties agree to it).

If we are drafting this document and it will be binding for the future parliament. Then why aren’t we just putting together the committee and drafting the constitution now? The idea behind having the constitution after the parliament is formed is so they can pick the committee. But if we are agreeing on the basis on which the committee will be chosen, then why not start the process now and have a solid constitution before we start electing any new bodies to represent us?

SCAF is aware of the dangers & the plan to harm the country:

1. Protests & strikes that are not peaceful that affect the citizens negatively & are stopping the wheel of production

2. Spreading rumors which lead to splits & destabalization

3. Prioritising private interests over public ones

The danger to the country and the revolution is no one but yourself. You have attacked peaceful protests. Do not pretend otherwise. Starting Feb 25th, March 9th, April 9th, May 15th and most recently your beloved left arm the police attacked protesters continuously on June 28th. Every single month this year. Not to mention that the protests that stop production are well deserved because workers are getting nothing. The government’s concession to make minimum wage at 700 LE (less than 100 Euros) is just ridiculous in comparison to the prices and inflation rates.

SCAF calls on honourable citizens to stand up to all things that stop normal life from returning to the country & stand up to the rumors. SCAF supported by the people will not allow anyone to jump onto power and will take measures to stand up to the threats that affect national security.

So SCAF is trying to turn the public against the people still protesting. What they don’t get, is that this revolution happened because “normal life” was horrible. People are in revolt now. Yes there are those who are still skeptical of the revolution, and those who believe we should aim for stability and economic reform at this stage. But there is certain consensus on the current demands. As for the rumors, Egyptian television Ch1 on Tuesday after your statement was accepting callers who were saying that the people in Tahrir were not the true revolutionaries, not the youth of the revolution and that they were planet there by Israel. These statements were said by Vice President of the Ghad Party El-Dessouki. As usual the presenter accepted this and did not question it. However, when someone was revealing the truth about Tahrir and about the virginity testing, they not only questioned their input but also the facts they shared.

A little History on the SCAF & Egyptian Army

In 1952, the army led by the Free Officers’ movement had a C’oup D’etat that overthrew the king of Egypt, which was supported by the Egyptian people. This movement was promising free and fair elections and a civil democratic state for Egypt in an attempt to rid Egypt of its corrupt king and elites.

However, that is not how the story went. According to Middle East Analyst Omar Ashour on BBC, in December 1952 Gamal AbdelNasser, one of the leaders of the movement and who later became president of Egypt, said in a meeting of army officers and Muslim Brotherhood leaders”If I held elections today, al-Nahas would win, not us. Then our achievement would be nothing,” He was referring to Mostafa El-Nahas, of the secular Wafd Party, the most popular in Egypt at the time. Nasser and the free-officers banned political parties, restricted freedom of expression and made sure even their allies, the Muslim Brotherhood, were banned from taking leadership of the country. They put forward Nasser as president in 1954, and later when he was followed by Sadat then Mubarak, it was all army men.

The NDP and the army are not so far from each other. In fact they are more allies than they like to show. If we say the NDP is the counter revolution then the army is the one facilitating its existence. That is why we have to continue what we started, and the SCAF will just have to make certain concessions to meet our demands.

So here I am, writing a very similar blog post to the one I wrote on Feburary 2nd while there has been a revolution and supposedly a “successful” one.

SCAF say they stand by the revolution, well this is their chance to prove it.

Statement from Sinai Tribes regarding Egyptian revolution – بيان بدو سينا عن الثورة المصرية

Through my involvement in Characters of Egypt, which is a non-profit festival aiming to ounite tribes from all over Egypt and provide them with a platform to share their cultural expressions as well as cooperate for their development and promote sustainable tourism in Egypt, I was sent this statement that the Bedouins of Sinai released yesterday. I urge everyone to share it and for media platforms to air and publish it. In the new Egypt that we are developing now we need to include members of the tribal communities that have been marginalized under the rule of the last government. Below you will find the video with the statement as well as the English translation.

 

From the coalition of the families and tribes of Sinai, after mentioning god. During the Egyptian revolution that removed the head of the corrupt Egyptian regime and under it’s sky and prevalence that we show all respect, loyalty and appreciation to it and all those who have given their effort, time and lives to achieve it. We particularly thank those who ensured its safety, those who participated in the first spark to start it and those who died for it in the square speaking of honesty, change and freedom.

On Tuesday the 15th of February, 2011, we had a meeting in Wadi Watir in Nweiba and decided on the following:

  1. To support the demands of the revolution completely. We invite all our men to participate in the revolution next Friday the 18th of February 2011 in Tahrir Square to support the revolution and its demands
  2. To ensure the safety of our country as well as promising to protect its eastern borders and continue the project of building a democratic country
  3. After we were forced aside from all the central points of the revolution and centers of authority for more than 45 years, 15 of those years due to the Israeli occupation of our country and the rest under the rule of the corrupt government. During which we were subjected to the biggest operation of security breach in our history like many incidents similar to these around the world. Due to this there were many arrested and detained, many of them from our tribes. All this happened in the complete lack of any real development projects to support Sinai’s nature and our peoples’ needs. That is why we have been having demands that we made and supported in all meetings, conferences and through various means of struggle and protest that we have done in the past to ensure the end of this corrupt regime

These are the demands of the Sinai tribes:

  1. The prosecution of those who killed our people, who are more than 230 martyrs who were killed by live ammunition by the police force, and providing the victims’ families with the appropriate compensation for their loss
  2. Ending the emergency status and immediate release of all those detained
  3. Canceling all military provisions and exceptions that are put on our sons and daughters and canceling any judgements without trials that are fabricated
  4. Producing official ownership documents for our lands that we own and live in since thousands of years

May peace be upon you and long live the revolution

Why Mubarak’s speech was simply too little too late

Feb 2, 2011

I write this during the first hour that we as Egyptians have had the internet back since last thursday. For that I would like to thank the current regime for being oh-so-generous. You guys are awesome. Thanks.

Nubians ask Mubarak to leave

For the past eight days Egypt has seen an unprecedented uprising. I don’t know if you can call it a revolution if we haven’t overthrown the government yet. But I would personally call it a revolution where the current government is being stubborn and the protestors want to keep it peaceful.

Mubarak has addressed the nation only twice during the past eight days. Once on Friday night at midnight, after lives had been lost, people had been shot and unlimited amounts of expired tear-gas was inhaled by thousands. He did not address the protestors needs, only a fraction of them. The uprising continued for days after that, and we only heard from Mubarak last night at 11 pm.

There are so many things that have been taking place, and so many things that were failed to be addressed with his second address to the nation. With my replies to his speech I wish to shed some light on the situation in Egypt and the challenge we are facing as a nation.

Mubarak’s Speech  (Arabic – Translation in Italics)

“I talk to you during critical times that are testing Egypt and its people which could sweep them into the unknown.The country is passing through difficult times and tough experiences which began with noble youths and citizens who practise their rights to peaceful demonstrations and protests, expressing their concerns and aspirations but they were quickly exploited by those who sought to spread chaos and violence, confrontation and to violate the constitutional legitimacy and to attack it.

  • Interesting. So the “noble youths and citizens” were practicing their rights. Okay. That’s why expired tear gas was thrown at them with unlimited amounts. That’s why they were shot at with rubber bullets that killed hundreds and injured thousands. That’s why they were beaten with sticks. All of this happened before any vandalism or before any violence. The protests from all over the country were chanting “Selmeya” which means peaceful. They were putting their arms up in show of no violence and making peace signs. The violence started from the Policemen, or more specifically the Central Security Forces who are in charge of controlling these kinds of riots. Any rock throwing or violence from the protestors were in self-defence and to defend their right to protest and to have their voices heard.

“Those protests were transformed from a noble and civilised phenomenon of practising freedom of expression to unfortunate clashes, mobilised and controlled by political forces that wanted to escalate and worsen the situation.”

  • All I have to say about this, is that it was the government’s wish to stop those “noble and civilized phenomenon of practicing freedom of expression”. So please stop kidding us. Egyptians have their eyes open and we will not believe these lies anymore. This was a grassroots movement. It may have been started by the youth, but it is no longer just about the youth. All ages, religions, cultures and a range of political beliefs were represented in this revolution. However, none of these sects tried to pass it as their own or even tried to ride the wave to fulfill their own political aspirations. If anyone attempted to do that, the protestors stopped them saying, “This isn’t the time, we have a bigger goal now”.

“They targeted the nation’s security and stability through acts of provocation theft and looting and setting fires and blocking roads and attacking vital installations and public and private properties and storming some diplomatic missions.

  • “They” are the government, and the ministry of interior. After the initial acts of looting and vandalism, citizens all over Cairo formed check points and acted like citizen police. Since the actual police force as a whole was off the street. What kind of government does that? There was only one element of the police force that people had clashed with on Friday, the Central Security Forces. But to take the entire police force off the streets is a crime, and the ministry of interior and the president should be punished and prosecuted for this. In the citizen check points, many of the thugs and looters they caught turned out to be with the police force and begged the citizens not to kill them saying  “We were just following orders”. I got this information from an eye-witness.
  • Not only that, they also released many prisoners from different prisons to terrorise the Egyptian people. This was all it is. Since of course if someone is in prison for years they first thing they do won’t be to go loot or attack homes. It will be to hide and see their loved ones. So this was simply a tactic to frighten people. And it is not being run by protestors or opposition movements.

“We are living together painful days and the most painful thing is the fear that affected the huge majority of Eyptians and caused concern and anxiety over what tomorrow could bring them and their families and the future of their country. The events of the last few days require us all as a people and as a leadership to chose between chaos and stability and to set in front of us new circumstances and a new Egyptian reality which our people and armed forces must work with wisely and in the interest of Egypt and its citizens.

  • The fear and instability was a product of the current regime to get people to stop protesting to maintain the status-quo. He is giving us a choice to chose between chaos and stability. If you read between the lines what he is saying is that stability can only come with him and his regime. He is acting like this is our only option for stability and that is not true. How can we be stable and safe knowing that the people running our country are the same people who took food off the shelves, who terrorised people by sending forces to loot their homes and businesses. Mubarak and his regime have proven to be unfit to lead a great nation like Egypt, or even a children’s football game for that matter.

“Dear brothers and citizens, I took the initiative of forming a new government with new priorities and duties that respond to the demand of our youth and their mission. I entrusted the vice-president with the task of holding dialogue with all the political forces and factions about all the issues that have been raised concerning political and democratic reform and the constitutional and legislative amendments required to realise these legitimate demands and to restore law and order. But there are some political forces who have refused this call to dialogue, sticking to their particular agendas without concern for the current delicate circumstances of Egypt and its people. In light of this refusal to the call for dialogue and this is a call which remains standing, I direct my speech today directly to the people, its Muslims and Christians, old and young, peasants and workers, and all Egyptian men and women in the countryside and city over the whole country.”

  • This was definitely my favourite part. He formed a new government. So what? The people have spoken that he is illegitimate, so any government he brings in is illegitimate as well. Why should we now accept a government formed by Mubarak when the governments he brought in brought us corruption, oppressions, brutality and unfairness? It’s completely ridiculous to even bring that up.
  • As for the opposition movements part. This is just brilliant and hilarious. He is actually trying to pin the current situation on the opposition movements, and trying to call on Egyptians to pressure them to cooperate with his bullshit government. If the people do not accept you and your government, then why should the opposition even bother to interact with you. The Egyptian people have spoken and the opposition are supporting the uprising. The “delicate situation” Egypt is in, is Mubarak and his government’s fault, and the fact that he is trying to pin it on other people is downright pathetic.

Graffiti on Tanks

“I have never, ever been seeking power and the people know the difficult circumstances that I shouldered my responsibility and what I offered this country in war and peace, just as I am a man from the armed forces and it is not in my nature to betray the trust or give up my responsibilities and duties. My primary responsibility now is security and independence of the nation to ensure a peaceful transfer of power in circumstances that protect Egypt and the Egyptians and allow handing over responsibility to whoever the people choose in the coming presidential election.”
  • This one is also hilarious. Never been seeking power? Then why the hell did you stay on for thirty years? Why are you clinging to your position when it is clear that millions of your people no longer want you? Doesn’t he see that people have died so that he would leave and that millions of others risked their lives so that he would leave? He has already lost our trust and betrayed us all. The owth he took as president to the people is no longer valid when you betray the country. And he should not only leave, but he should be prosecuted for his actions against the Egyptian people.

“I say in all honesty and regardless of the current situation that I did not intend to nominate myself for a new presidential term. I have spent enough years of my life in the service of Egypt and its people. I am now absolutely determined to finish my work for the nation in a way that ensures handing over its safe-keeping and banner … preserving its legitimacy and respecting the constitution. I will work in the remaining months of my term to take the steps to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.”

  • Thanks for not running again at 85. That’s super generous. Why does he think he has the right to ensure the transition of power? It is no longer his role when the people of Egypt called on him to step down. Then it is a job of a transitional government. The people have expressed through eight days of protests so far that they don’t want him nor trust him.

“According to my constitutional powers, I call on parliament in both its houses to discuss amending Article 76 and 77 of the constitution concerning the conditions on running for presidency of the republic and it sets specific a period for the presidential term. In order for the current parliament in both houses to be able to discuss these constitutional amendments and the legislative amendments linked to it for laws that complement the constitution and to ensure the participation of all the political forces in these discussions, I demand parliament to adhere to the word of the judiciary and its verdicts concerning the latest cases which have been legally challenged.”

  • The funny thing is, both the Parliament and Shura council had an unfair and rigged election, so why should they be discussing our constitutional change when they are not democratically or fairly elected. Why should the old regime with its bodies that made the country reach where it is now be the ones working towards our future?  I believe the Egyptian people have proven they do not need anyone to take care of them, and they can take action and initiative no matter what. No garbage men? No problem, we will clean our streets. No police men? No problem, we will protect our streets. We are at a point where we are empowered and ready for anything. We do not need an illegitimate government to help us through a transition, we will take care of it ourselves.

We clean our streets

“I will entrust the new government to perform in ways that will achieve the legitimate rights of the people and that its performance should express the people and their aspirations of political, social and economic reform and to allow job opportunities and combating poverty, realising social justice. In this context, I charge the police apparatus to carry out its duty in serving the people, protecting the citizens with integrity and honour with complete respect for their rights, freedom and dignity. I also demand the judicial and supervisory authorities to take immediately the necessary measures to continue pursuing outlaws and to investigate those who caused the security disarray and those who undertook acts of theft, looting and setting fires and terrorising citizens.”
  • Maybe Mubarak entrusts the new government with certain duties, but the people of Egypt do not trust them to carry them out. Why should they trust them now? When they lied and corrupted our country for so long? The judges were out there protesting and chanting with the people who want to change the entire regime. The people they need to investigate are the ministry of interior. They need to be asked why the entire police force was off the streets in one second, and why they were given orders to attack houses.

“This is my pledge to the people during the last remaining  months of my current term. I ask God to help me to honour this pledge to complete my vocation to Egypt and its people in what satisfies God, the nation and its people. Dear citizens, Egypt will emerge from these current circumstances stronger, more confident and unified and stable. And our people will emerge with more awareness of how to achieve reconciliation and be more determined not to undermine its future and destiny. Hosni Mubarak who speaks to you today is proud of the long years he spent in the service of Egypt and its people. This dear nation is my country, it is the country of all Egyptians, here I have lived and fought for its sake and I defended its land, its sovereignty and interests and on this land I will die and history will judge me and others for our merits and faults. The nation remains. Visitors come and go but ancient Egypt will remain eternal, its banner and safekeeping will pass from one generation to the next. It is up to us to ensure this in pride and dignity.”

"Control your thugs Mubarak"

I won’t even comment on this last paragraph since it is just insulting to our intelligence. Here are some of the points Mubarak’s speech failed to address:

  • What about freedom of expression? The internet and sms services have been off for days. SMS services are still off and last Friday mobile phones were off. The Egyptian media channels are not portraying the truth behind what is happening, and channels who were portraying the truth (to a large extent anyway) like AlJazeerah were shut down. He did not even address this issue which not only weakens his position but also makes people wonder.
  • What about political freedom? There is so much restrictions on forming political organiations and parties. Actually you need the government’s permission to do that. Is that really a democracy? How is this not part of the reform he mentioned?
  • What about Emergency law? Egypt has been under a state of emergency for thirty years since Anwar El Saddat was murdered and he took over as president. He made no comments of lifting the state of emergency or even plans to take care of it in the future.
  • What about the fact that the thugs turned out to be police affiliates? The looting and thugs that have been roaming the streets the past days, many of them turned out to be policemen. One eye witness I talked to in Tahrir two days ago told me they caught one under their house and he told them he was “following orders”.

The Waving Flag

This man took no responsibility for any of the events taking place the past days, and pinned it all on opposition and protestors. He did not even take responsibility for being the head of such a corrupt government that caused the first real Egyptian grassroots movement.

He is now trying to cause chaos in the country, trying to divide us. We cannot let him manipulate us. We cannot let him win. If we want change this man needs to not only leave his position, but he and his corrupt government need to be prosecuted for their crimes.

Only we can make the change

Jan 27, 2011

Jan 25th saw an unprecedented change. The definition of a grassroots movement was witnessed by Egyptian streets. Diverse groups of citizens across age groups, social classes and religious beliefs walked the streets as one. With one voice and one message. Down with the current government. It was not about one issue of the many that Egypt is facing. It was about the overall state of unfairness and poverty. It was about the fact that the current government had 29 years to do something about our state and failed.

#Jan25

Now is the time for change. It is the time for us to stand up for ourselves as one. It is not about who will take over or what will happen. If we make this happen, it will be up to us to decide. For real.

It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be skeptical. We must, however, rise above those feelings and take the streets on Friday. We must be prepared and we must be safe. There is a very big chance it will get violent.

Like Ghandi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world”. If we want change, then as individuals we have to make it happen. We can’t stand idly and hope other people will take the initiative for us. That’s how we ended up here.

Below you can find some demonstration tips a French friend sent out. Let’s be safe. Let’s be prepared. Let’s take back our lives and our home.

Share these tips. Share my note. Share my photos. Feel free to use them and build on them to get people to the streets this Friday.

Demonstration tips


What to wear :

-Long sleeves and legs, sportswear, non-bright colors clothes. Hoodies are not advised, as you might be dragged by it. Long hair tied and put under collar.

Multiple layers might soften shocks.

-Sportshoes, no flipflops or any opened shoes.

-Scarf to cover mouth and nose and should be wet with vinegar or lemon juice to prevent teargas.

-Good tip for the head : get a small bike/scooter helmet, and cover it under a keffieh to make it less obvious.

-If you plan to throw teargas canisters back, gloves are a good idea.

What to bring :

Everyone should have a backpack with :

-Water (1,5L), snacks, tissues, medicine you might need, saline solution (is excellent to clear teargas from eyes, and super cheap in any pharmacy).

-Bring money, metro tickets, notebook, pen, but not your entire wallet. Stay light.

-Bandages and disinfectant could come in handy.

-Swimming goggles, even scuba masks, are excellent to protect your eyes from teargas.

-If you can bring some vinegar or lemon juice in plastic bottle to re-wet your scarf, yalla.

– Don’t bring anything illegal incase you get arrested

About IDs : best thing is to bring a COPY of your ID with you, and leave another copy to someone staying home.

About phones : Make sure you have credit and battery, and behave like you’re gonna use it a lot for a long time (ie disable bluetooth, 3G, …).

Legal aid numbers : Get the latest legal aid numbers from http://egyprotest-defense.blogspot.com/, save them in speed-dial, and write them on your forearm in case you loose your phone.

Find also someone staying home, write his/her number, and have him/her ready to help in case of problems. Have him/her follow twitter and fb to keep you updated.

#Jan25

Behaviour :

Well that is common sense : stay with friends, be ready to run fast but don’t overpanic at the first mass movement, help people around in need, try to watch for plain-clothes cops.

Setting up a meeting point is tricky as scene moves fast. Horreya is a good one though :-D

Don’t throw rocks or anything real solid, as they’re gonna throw them back. If you run into empty bottles, well, that would be smarter as they will crash upon arrival.

What to do in case of teargas :

Put your scarf on your nose and mouth, don’t open your mouth, run away from it as fast as you can.

Don’t wear lenses ; in case you still do, have them removed asap.

Spit, cough, rinse with water, don’t swallow (Twss), keep running, it fades quickly.

Rinse your eyes with saline solution (or water if you don’t have saline), but DON’T TOUCH THEM with your hands, which are covered as well with tearshit.

Then rinse other people’s eyes, you’ll make new friends !

If you’re close from being arrested :

RUN the frack away, try sidestreets, and keep running ! They want you more like away from the scene than actually detained.

If you’re arrested :

DO NOT give them your IDs, phones or anything unless they demand you. Say as less as possible, and if there’s an opening, as it often happens in Egypt (personal experience), RUN ! Discreetly text emergency contact as soon as you can, send your names to legal aids, try to call them. Let people know where you’ve been taken. And keep looking for openings.

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