Names, events and opinions ARE sometimes gonna be mentioned without restrictions. If you don't like it do quit the internet.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Action Needed NOW!!!

Well, I have come through this video on the internet. I believe some of you might have already seen it.

Please watch it till the end:

Now, I don't know how you feel about this, but this was HEAVILY disturbing for me.
Of course, the brutality, and joy that the guy is having abusing these children is beyond shocking, but that's not what's disturbing me the most;
What is most striking is:
1) The fact that there is actually someone shooting this on camera, with an increasing laughter the more the children are beaten!!
2) The presence of other people (possibly teachers) including one fully veiled (monakaba) woman in the same room. This single women in the room didn't do anything about that and, in fact, she didn't seem to mind what was happening. Neither her motherhood, religion nor humanity pushed her to do anything about that.
3) This video was shot in the 2011!!! AND after a revolution!!!
4) That I'M SURE this is a common practice, everywhere in the country. I'm also sure there are FAR WORSE things that happen everyday, off camera.

I believe there is NOTHING more vital than a rapid, youth lead intervention about this specific case (as a warning for other abusers) and other sadistic people that would think for second this kind of "education" can continue one more DAY on our watch.

I think we need to discuss this and ACT promptly. With the proper intervention and the right media involvement we can send a strong message of "NO MORE, MISTER" to all those who have joined the teaching profession to satisfy their sick needs of violence.

I invite all those who are interested to do something about this, to comment on the post in the blog and, if we manage to get the sufficient leverage on the matter, we can really do something about that and organize using different tools.

A twitter hashtag was also created for this, you can check it out in order to see what other young people are planning to do about this. #ToZefta

Feel free to involve anyone whom you see interested and please share.

Looking forward to your comments.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Son of the Army

I'm not a regular blogger. I can't really describe myself as a "political blogger". I certainly don't know and don't care to know how many people actually read my blog posts. Sometimes I write in English, sometimes in French, rarely in Arabic and most of the times, I write only when a thought or when I have something really specific to get out of my system.

This post is a bit different. Today, the 23rd of May 2011, the "Egyptian Blogosphere" has decided to break a new taboo that the surrounding community is trying to create. I, on my part, being out the country, am making a rather "personal contribution".

We are just waking up from a never-before-seen revolution with absolutely no leaders. The power of determination and communication combined with a set of deeply rooted real life disasters have fueled this public uprising in ways that I can't even believe happened. But, just like everybody else: Nobody really had a specific "plan of action" about what should happen afterwards.

I mean, if our wildest dreams come true and would this revolution succeed, what should happen? how would a transitional period go? who would be in charge? I dare anyone to say he/she even thought about that.

In one of these epic turn of events, the army, lead by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF for short) has decided to "take the side of the people" and "defend the revolution". Good deed? for sure, heroic? I wouldn't go that far.

I believe this intervention was the smart choice, the logic choice and the expected choice.
Now, the army and the SCAF have done something really great and they have made our revolution a success, well and good. Now, we move to another phase of building the country we all believe ourselves worthy of.

And here comes the problem, the army / SCAF may be great at doing their job "protecting the people" but they're certainly not knowledgeable, trained, experienced or ready to do a totally different job: "Leading a country of 85 million people in a pivotal point of its history". It doesn't mean they're bad people, it doesn't mean they're on the "dark side of the force", it's just that you're asking a mechanic to remove your tonsils. Those inflamed, complicated, infected tonsils that have been part of your body for years and that you have to remove now, with a great deal of surgical precision.

Meet my father:

My father was a "surgeon in uniform".
During his long career in the armed forces, he worked both as a real life surgeon (a very skilled one) and in several management jobs in the armed forces as a high ranked officer, in Egypt and abroad.
He also worked for a significant period of time directly with "المشير".

My father was the greatest person on the planet. I have no doubts about that. He created and maintained a loving family, was loved and appreciated by his patients and did ground-breaking achievements everywhere he went in the armed forces. He died while at work.

But, with all his greatness, my father couldn't have possibly managed a country. A country that isn't staffed with soldiers and men in duty. A country that doesn't operate following a strict hierarchy of orders and chains of commands, a country where discipline is science fiction, rules are a suggestions and corruption, part its genome.

Living with him and seeing up close and personal, how the army functions, I can tell you this: You are expecting TOO MUCH from them.

You cannot expect an institution that values absolute obedience to accept criticism. You cannot expect deep-rooted believes in discipline and minute precision in execution, to accept a bombardment of freedom of expression, popular demands, rising critique from blogs, twitter, Facebook comments, media, popular coffee shops chats, housewives phone calls...etc. This is absolutely too much for them to handle. They don't know how to do this and they are not supposed to know.

A relative of mine is a cardiologist currently working with the SCAF directly, his sole responsibility is to maintain their health in cases of emergency. Let me tell you this: He didn't sleep for the past 4 months.

So, bottom line, they're trying REALLY hard, but guess what: They're doing an absolutely LOUSY job. And a lousy job in these times give strong feelings of insecurity and doubts about intentions. Next thing you know, you'll be hearing the word "ارحل" (go away) this time in the plural form.

Now what? We're in a bit of a pickle here. 

- The nuance between criticizing the council as a political leader and attacking the army as a institution, poses significant difficulty to disseminate among the people.
- Many (mainly the older population) are concerned more about these scare-crows: "stability", "security", "economy". Pushing a second wave of revolution absolutely depends on bursting these bubbles, in each home for starters.
- The situation CANNOT possibly continue like this: We are seeing everyday our revolution and our country gradually disintegrating in these bits and pieces and growingly foggy "light at the end of the tunnel". The SCAF management is largely responsible for that.

What are our options?

- Option 1: يبقى الوضع كما هو عليه - Status quo
Although it's the easiest option, yet, this revolution, this country, these people deserve SO MUCH more than what the status quo can achieve.

- Option 2: Presidential council
First things first: As far as I'm concerned, this isn't even an option. Why? simply because we had a referendum and the people have spoken. I was (and now more than ever) sure it would have been better if the referendum had ended up with a "No", yet, this revolution was about real democracy, and the result of this referendum does reflect the people's choice. I will defend my unshakable believe in democracy over my leaning towards a different result. If you're still questioning that, you seriously need to learn to move on!

Second, although these words "presidential council" may sound "cute" but, in my opinion, they hide a marked degree of naivety in the reasoning behind them.
A presidential council is supposed to be a group of people "selected" to govern the country for a period of time. These people will not be elected of course and, no matter what is done, there will NEVER be a public satisfaction about them. I dare you to bring me 3 names of potential members of this council that would have sufficient public legitimacy.

Also, the SCAF is a council as well, so in theory, it's the same, in practical however, it is important to consider the fact that 3 people, with different reasonings and agendas, guiding the same boat, will lead to absolutely no where. In addition, in a time that requires swift, attentive measures; this may not be the best way to go. At least the military manage, somehow to work their differences inside the council, any other people won't last together for a month.

Finally, IF we manage to come up with a presidential council with sufficient harmony and public approval, they will forcibly take the country in a direction that the people didn't really chose.

- Option 3: "Down with X then Y then Z"
I don't really believe in that. Some might disagree, but I don't really believe that concentrating bad management in specific physical persons is such a mature thing to do on the long run. I mean, not because it worked with Mubarak and a bunch of his thugs because they were absolutely corrupt, does this mean it will apply on all others.

Sure if the Mosheer steps down, this "might" help, but how do you know if the other members of the council are any better in management (I know for a fact that they're not), and it's practically impossible to ask for a new "military council".

- Option 4: Pressure to reach REAL participation in decision making
This is the option I believe most suitable.
The SCAF needs to understand that we, the people and specifically the YOUNG people are in control now. We say what needs to be done and they do it.
Old people have governed this country for WAY TOO LONG and they have managed to ruin it EXTENSIVELY... If you really wish to see real development in this country, do like the most civilized nations do: Put The Young In Charge. It's mad, it's risky, it's weird, but it does work, it will work and if it doesn't, be sure that it will be better than anything 88 years old people will do.

The SCAF needs to understand that our problem was not Mubarak as a person or Mubarak as a figure, but Mubarak as reasoning, as strategy, priorities, management. Right now, the SCAF are running the show with almost the same mentality, with the same paternalistic attitude, the same media control the same, priorities. This has to change!

So, dear SCAF: Involve the Young, don't take ANY decision without REAL sufficient public participation, respond to the streets, LISTEN and most importantly: Stop being the parent and begin being the public servant.

We have to criticize the management because this is our country. There is no shame in that, and the moment we'll shut up again would be the moment we've decided to go in deep slumber once more.

We need you to listen, to understand and to apply. No more arrogance, No more patronizing.
Our love and belonging to you is deep rooted and unshakable as an institution and as individuals. You are our family. But as managers, it's our job to tell you when you're sucking at it.

Nobody can kill our revolution. Only WE can bury it alive if we shut up or if we talk too much. It works both ways.