‘Wishing the ideal Egypt is no substitute for understanding the real one.’ , a tweet by a gray eminence from Egypt I saw today, which reflects an attitude one would wish revolutionary romanticists to adopt..
Last night I had been taken by surprise with a random poll on social media that gained 97% with clearly “Yes, I do” answers to “Does Human Rights law apply to terrorists? – Questioner and participants suggest coming from a sound intellectual environment and having an economically middle class and up background. Hardly any of the 84 comments saw a conflict. The argument goes ‘Yes. Not easy to accept this emotionally, but the only way to break this eternal circle of tit for tat.’
It sure feels good ‘to believe in humanity’ as long as you’re not personally exposed to its menace.
I find it frivolous to promote ideals while Egypt is confronted with threats jeopardizing the nation’s presence and threatening the future. “The Square” director refers to the Muslim Brotherhood as an “organized fascist movement”.
The referendum poll is concluded. Estimations suggest that the ones, who took to the stations voted in favor of the constitution with app. 95% ‘yes’ votes.
As well known prior to the vote, this constitution is far from perfect. It gained much criticism, especially since the army has been granted its traditional rights, most disappointingly to all: the military trials for civilians. Yet this constitution, unlike the one from 2012 enforced by Morsi regime, goes much further in recognizing the rights of women, youth and the Christian minority in Egypt.
As it is normal to rant at popular votes and badmouth governmental activities it sure is not normal to try to keep fellow co-citizens from voting by random shooting – as has been the case in various locations – or even put bombs and Molotov-cocktails or burn tires and block roads.
Only talking with the people and judging the referendum by the light air and happiness that could be found again in the streets of Egypt during the days of voting would’ve lead to assume, Egypt has a good future again SOON! Considering that the people have to defend themselves against an obstinate minority which shows no intention to participate in the construction of a democratic state of Egypt and that their threats to violently hindering the referendum to be carried out so it had to be secured with heavy security measures. I have been surprised so many people went to participate! However it is becoming clear, that Egyptians won’t tolerate the Muslim brotherhood ever again. It even seems that this time the people decided to support the government in disbanding the brotherhood, since the referendum is widely been seen as an instrument to measure approval.
Advising the Egyptian government “to create a “level playing field and secure impartiality” and “secure access to media for all views” in order to ensure a free and fair voting process.” as did the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) is giving highly theoretical advice from a very low level of practical involvement.
It has become common that reports and assessments have become an issue of ‘the politics of omission’. One can read plenty of articles pointing out the flaws of handling the referendum process while putting a blind eye to the intimidation and violence spread from the opposition camps. Western attention has pointed to the fact that the political opponents were denied the freedom to openly advocate a no vote among the people and were subjected to police harassment. One can argue whether such violence justifies the security from the unrestrained force that they use against the opposition, but looking at what really happens to the people, who understand how to respond with constructive opposition should challenge the image of a brute police state ‘systematically cracking down at a peaceful group of protesters.’
Most of the articles have failed to mention with an almost abusive compliance the conditions under which the referendum had to be carried out.
Did anyone mention the physically unable who had to be carried, the cancer patient who left his bed at the hospital to vote in the referendum, the old Coptic priest who is helped by a soldier to get to the polling station to cast his ballot? These are just few of numerous examples. This is telling us about the human depth of what’s happening in Egypt.
It seems the people who went to ballot-box despite the potential dangers they might face did so to demonstrate the decisiveness to show support for the government, a plea to move on.
I find it very telling as well that mostly the ‘parents’ could be seen in the polling station, not so overwhelmingly many youth. No wonder though, it’s the parents who have to provide for the living and are expected to settle the bills..