Witnessing January 25, 2012…شاهد ٢٥ يناير ٢٠١٢

When discussing the ongoing Egyptian revolution, I’ve intentionally avoided first person narration. As a foreigner, it’s not my revolution and while I certainly empathize with those demanding their dignity in Tahrir Square and desire to assist them in realizing their demands, directly involving myself through acts of popular protests would do more harm than good.

That being said, it is impossible to emotionally detach myself from the ongoing Egyptian revolution. Nor am I certain of the basis for this attachment. Maybe its my Christian faith grounded in a social gospel; perhaps it’s a Jesuit high-school education based on social justice; or maybe its desiring that my Egyptian friends enjoy the same dignity with which I have been blessed thanks to a wining ticket in the global birth lottery. To date,  I’ve satisfied my urges to change the status quo by donating blood (at an Egyptian hospital nonetheless), raising money for field hospital supplies, obsessively analyzing the possible outcomes of the political transition, and attempting to shape the narrative about Egyptian politics consumed by friends and family at home.

Today, I chosen the latter. I’ve chosen the written word as not only a tool for informational dissemination but also a means of intellectual digestion. What follows is my experience on January 25, 2012. Read More…

A Year Removed…بعد سنة من

A little over a year ago liberal Egyptian activists celebrated National Police Day by organizing a series of protests against police brutality. Ultimately, these small protests in Cairo exploded into massive sit-ins and labor strikes across the country prompting the Egyptian military to defect from the Mubarak family and National Democratic Party in order to protect is substantial economic and political interests – specifically a 25-40% ownership of the Egyptian economy, American military aid, and its role as the supreme political power broker. Satisfied with the resignation of Mubarak, the masses left the squares entrusting the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) with the transitional process.

In brief, the so-called ‘revolution’ was little more than a military coup. The generals have not only left the abusive Central Security Forces of the Interior Ministry and the censorship and propaganda apparatus of the state media intact but also used them to destroy civil society and consolidate their political power. Individual rights and liberties are trampled upon on a daily basis and young protestors are killed on a monthly basis. While (relatively) free and fair elections have elected a representative parliament, it wields no constitutionally defined political power outside of the right to select the members of the constitutional assembly drafting the new constitution. Meanwhile, society itself has fractured into a series of competing interests and identities, grown weary of the continued political instability and come to fear an imminent economic collapse.

Unsurprisingly, January 25, 2012 as hundreds of thousands of Egyptians marched to their local ‘Tahrir Squares’ there was considerable tension about whether the day ought to be one of celebration or protest.  Read More…

Link Dump

Burning the midnight oil last night while seeking to soothe my cravings for a return to Egypt by flipping through my GoogleReader, I stumbled over a great collection of links. I figured I post them here rather than on my Facebook wall as the latter is already covered with links and I am in danger of appearing to be a news addict.

Fearing political marginalization in a transition process dictated by the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, liberal protestors have elected to ‘celebrate’ the January 25th Revolution with a protests. Their video announcement is a creative piece of digital media:

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood has continued is pragmatic deliberation and backed down from a confrontation with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces over the formation of a new government and cabinet prior to presidential elections in June. While I remain rather clueless as to the true ideology and political goals of the Muslim Brotherhood, Nathan Brown not only has researched the organization for years but also has sustained a dialogue with its leadership since the January 25 Revolution. His lengthy but has excellent piece that is really worth a read and states that the pragmatic and calculating Brotherhood continues seeks to continue its policy of “participation not domination” in the short-term mobilizing when core long-term interests (the constitution) are threatened.

In the arts, the passing of a year since the January 25 revolution has allowed digital art to begin to process this monumental event. Noise of Cairo is the first of many documentaries I expect to discover (and hope to see.) Its trailer is below:

Lastly, for those interested in the Cairo’s art/architecture scene, Cairo Observer is an excellent blog that I have added to the side bar.