May 12, 2012

Boycott of presidential elections

Boycott, whether it is commercial or political, does not really work but in spite of me being convinced of that,  I will boycott the Egyptian presidential elections. It is not because I think there is no candidates that are worthy of my vote, actually there is one candidate I would vote for wholeheartedly,  But my decision of boycotting is based on two grounds one moral and the other one logic, both sides of my decision being intimately related. On the logic side, my decision is based upon the fact that Egypt is now stuck with a technically freezed and unsupported constitution, the constitution had been declared frozen by the military on February 11, 2011, to convince protesters to leave Tahrir square promising a new constitution within a set period of time, only that promise was rescinded a few days later to be replaced by a referendum about some of the articles, in order to, according to the decision makers,  keep the ball rolling until a new constitution could be written, discussed and then eventually declared. A twisted referendum was hastily organized and the population was sent to the ballot boxes . Although at the time, it did sound like an amazing attendance still 58.5 of the eligible voters abstained, true it was a well attended referendum in a country where in previous elections, voter turnout has run at less than 10 percent, but still nearly 6 out of 10 eligible voters decided out of fatalism or maybe because they were undecided to abstain, which means that the supposedly 77 per cent of the supporters of the amendments are actually 32 per cent which makes the opposition to that amended constitution 68 %. I know this is a twisting of the numbers and that I am not taking many factors into consideration, but I am trying to simplify to get across the point that the existing "constitution" is not really supported or acknowledged by the population. And alternatively to underline that contrary to some claims by some of SCAF members that the referendum was also giving legitimacy to their power hold after all the majority of the population has abstained and it can be argued that nearly 60 per cent have denied support to this allegation. So what about it? Well , here is where my argument hits, if the "working constitution" is not supported or acknowledged by most then we are missing laws that organize the relationship between the State and the Population therefore any elections or political argument should be put aside until we do have this law that will regulate it all. That's about the logical argument and I doubt it is convincing enough to have many supporters. There are also other logical arguments but then I am not trying to convince anyone.
What about the moral side? To make it short it has to do with my refusal to take part into something senseless, as within the actual context a president will only have a mostly illogical role to fulfill , and that is to preside the writing of a new constitution that would make of him an unconstitutional President and the Parliament will then have to ask for his resignation as his presidency will have become unconstitutional. Sounds to me far too complicated and definitely lacking of any guarantees. I refuse to go and do something as irrelevant as voting for an unconstitutional president.
So what will I do? I will boycott and I hope that "boycotters" or "abstentionists"  will take to the streets on election day and just declare that their choice is not out of laziness but out of a refusal to take part in such a loss of time, and therefore denying any legitimization of any of the results and promoting in the medias such illegitimacy.
In my view the alternative is deciding and declaring a constitution that has real popular support.

May 2, 2012

Personal reading of the Egyptian context

When the social unrest started on January 25th in Egypt the plan was to have big protests. Some by optimism or for propaganda were calling it a revolution. Very few if any, actually expected a big mobilization and I believe sincerely that the mass movement took by surprise friends and foes alike. The violence that took place on that day actually started a snowball effect. Many more joined protesting against the excessive violence used by the Ministry of Interior forces all over Egypt reaching critical mass already by the next day. Ministry of Interior forces were under pressure to keep things under control. After a couple of days on high alert and with all forces of the Ministry of Interior fighting and standing their ground, exhaustion took its toll and somehow they asked for the Military to step in. My theory is that the Military refused to step in  unless they had full control of the situation  refusing to work under an umbrella managed by the Ministry of Interior. Somehow army generals decided it was time for a coup and some agents provocateurs were sent on the 28th organizing and managing the attacks against Police stations changing the "peaceful" protests into violent ones and a lot of the police stations were attacked and burnt down. By the afternoon of the 28th the building of the National Democratic Party was torched down and the control was given to the Military by the then president Moubarak, in the communique it was stated that the Ministry of Interior forces should follow the lead of the Army, and that the Army was now the institution in charge and in control of the situation. The "coup" had succeeded. There was probably a deal brokered that involved keeping Moubarak promising him a seemingly "honorable" exit. Somehow the genuine "protesters" did not buy into that deal and somehow the unrest kept growing. This is when things started to turn sour the opened Pandora box refusing to close. The next logical step was to try and break the protesters and  in order to do that "agents provocateurs" were sent to the streets heralding a campaign of xenophobic propaganda supported by the official media in preparation of what was to become known as the "battle of the Camel",  and that provided a picture that still lingers in the world global consciousness . At the same time the rest of Egypt was also continuing to demand  "Change" and the departure of the "tyrant". Eventually the situation became unsustainable and the president had to step down without any "honorability", in an attempt to return the situation. By then, the majority saw the military as the "savior" and the "safeguard" of the "revolution" following cues by the media that had turned their vest and started to herald the new order. Slowly but surely, the military showed that they were not ready to allow any changes but for the most cosmetic ones. The first promise by the military was to freeze and rewrite the constitution and asked people to leave the square on February 12, by the 13 they cleaned the square by force from those who still hanged on and by the 14th there was talk of a referendum about some of the constitution articles. The result of the referendum was used to claim the legitimacy of the military council as rulers of Egypt. "Protesters" started noticing that there was something wrong about the interpretation  and restarted "protesting". And that has been the situation since April 2011, by the end of November those who believe that the military should go have become a majority and since the military are trying all the tricks in the bag to regain their popularity but with very mitigated success. On the other hand though, "protesters" are still "leaderless" and therefore are still a collection of individuals none of which can reclaim power.

February 10, 2012

A day not forgotten

 Tomorrow morning will be the first anniversary of the resignation of Moubarak, the revolutionary forces in Egypt are still not at rest and the all powerful military are still trying to keep their own losses to a minimum but they seem to be losing both momentum and support. Even the state (read military) sponsored media let discordant notes go through. The temple seems to be shaken. But somehow my thoughts are back into

a year ago, Feb 10th 2011 at 19.15 I wrote a note on Facebook describing the mood in the Square  "
Tahrir Square  has been celebrating for a long time. Actually celebrations started since the morning, but by now even the most politicized are also celebrating. Although actually nothing happened. The whole thing continues to be surrealistic.
The Square though is bubbling with the sweet taste of victory.

Even if all the news are real, which I still doubt we had too many moments when the Victory seemed so clear. And then some new person would come and say that everything was fine and they will send us bonbons, or other really unbelievable bullshit.

I personally still demand the disbanding of the NDP, National Democratic Party. And immediately. Again this is my personal opinion for a chance to build an Egypt that I would be happy to live in and proud of being Egyptian for ever after.

 With Love to all from Midan El Tahrir. :)"  Then a bit later I added a second note at 20.27 continuing to describing the atmosphere the way I perceived it
"There are millions in the Square. and the news from and around  the Square are getting more and more worrying. I believe that many of the celebrators are getting ugly. Some of the women already are leaving the square . The situation is electrical and some use the crowd for behaviors that can only be described as sexual harassment. There are too many people in the Square right now. Maybe is there some who will be trying for a last gap for the regime trying to turn the celebrations into some kind of blood bath. On the other hand, there is also a wedding ceremony going on somewhere else on the Square.

Incertainty continues and nothing is really clear. Some Rumors say that Mr. Sillysillyman will stay on which is also completely rejected by the kids of Tahrir Square. I really wonder what is going on. I also do not want any more "Free officers" and the such"  By 21.30, I stressed  my pessimistic tendencies writing 

 
"Everyone is here around either a radio or a television waiting for the victory however some of the signs are kind of disappointing. It can be a technique so that if the victory is done then the Egyptian people will be fine and celebrations must occur.
But for some reason I am still quite pessimistic  as the way I read the news, I kind of feel the same as in 1967 when the information ministry back then was controlled by the Army and made an amazing brain wash while hiding the shameful defeat until when they announced the truth ... people came out  chanting "A7a A7a La Tatanaha"

I am so afraid that we are getting Mr Sillyman as a goodbye present.

let's hope it is only my worrying ."

By 22.00 hours, the TV room being completely  stuffed I listened to Moubarak on line and while he was talking I typed away my feelings and reactions to his what turned out to be his last speech as president and I uploaded it instantaneously at the moment he finished that speech. it went that way: 


"
He doesn't understand at all. WE need to be 80 millions in the streets. This is just crazy, he does not understand. And I was kind of right worrying. THE HARDHEADEDNESS IS JUST INCREDIBLE I THINK HE SHOULD JUST UNDERSTAND THAT 60 Years are maybe too much , he should get his pension and go.
What he said today is the most incredible bullshit I've ever heard in my life. As I expecte4d it is still another 1967.
 I believe the fight will be going on .
I believe that Mr President just can not understand that he is one of the main problem , but on the other hand I thank him because this is maybe the only way we will be able to topple all the dirty rests of a regime that corrupted us all.
 Is it so difficult to understand that the Egyptian people want now to try and be proud of themselves and free of this brain wash they had been using for the last 70 years,
  The dissolution and disbandment of the NDP, I believe it is them who call him and tell him not to go. We are all behind you. Please don't go we will defend you. I wonder though how can he believe that unless he listens to news that are different that to those we hear. He still believes that he is important to keep the peace of the region.
 I want to warn all those who think that his keeping might keep the region in hand are really wrong. This is a disaster.
  In any case, we want to thank Mr President for his lovely career but why can't he understand that the people have decided that he must go. And the people is the boss of the president. Do they have a syndicate for presidents to defend him?
 We also have to remember that Hosni Moubarak has acted in a movie... Maybe he believes he is a good actor or a convincing one. Why isn't the Oscar given to him ?"

A Day later he was forced to hand in his resignation. A Year later, the Egyptians now demand an end to the military hold on power . Since the 1952 coup, renamed "revolution",  the whole of Egypt has become Military possessions and has been completely mismanaged, throwing Education and Health on a slide that has never stopped. Economy is also destroyed with not much hope of recovery as the successful at the time agricultural based economy into a badly organized and shaky at the best "Industrial" economy , actually it has become a Service Based economy as the Industries were more political than actual. 
The way some Egyptians think it is possible to get rid of the hold on power by those who have armaments is by trying to boycott military companies and their products .  Another strategy that has followers would be a Civil disobedience movement. Both these strategies will take time until it gathers momentum and starts having an effect on those who will not relinquish power without a vicious fight.

February 5, 2012

Politics and Football in Egypt Historically

I haven't been much of a Football fan for years. I actually got disinterested last time Egypt qualified for the World cup after a dismal performance on the pitch that many considered as an historic achievement. My expectations, heightened by a good game against the Netherlands, were completely bashed . I could have recovered and maybe keep watching or even supporting Football but for the rise of Al Gohary to absolute Stardom and even as a regime symbol. That probably gave me a stroke that closed down my brain towards Football. All that is left is a heavy dislike of media that portrayed a lost campaign as a great achievement to be proud of and pity for those who fell for this brainwash. The regime has been using Football as leverage to keep crowds under control the last year of the Royal regime the league championship was not held. After all, stadiums are a crowd attracting magnet  out of which demonstrations can erupt uncontrolled.
Since the beginning of the military coup later renamed 1952 revolution, Football was used as a symbol of return to normality. Then in the coup within the coup of 1954 , the regime cancelled the Championship while it had started. Probably again out of fear from anti-regime and anti-military protests, the league championship was cancelled in 1967 and kept being cancelled till 1970 when a trial of restarting it failed and had to be discontinued, in 1972 though the Championship was played and the title went To Ghazl El Mehalla - in a trial to keep the workers happy and ready for a war effort I suppose. In 1973, it was once more unfinished, having been halted in October for the war. Since then though it went on a nearly uninterrupted run but for the 1990 season when again it was halted officially on Al Gohary's request  for preparing for the above mentioned World Cup. Once again, however, I suspect it was out of fear of anti Gulf War demonstrations erupting in the stadiums, as the Egyptian military had excellent relations with he US and probably knew for a fact that the War was going to be launched.
In another obvious marriage between Football and politics, the regime tried to use the seemingly easy game against Algeria in 2009 as a PR operation, sending along with the team a delegation headed by Gamal and Alaa Moubarak. Unfortunately, the Egyptian team was not up to the task and the whole lift-up operation went in complete disarray when, adding insult to injury, the Algerian supporters beat up the Egyptian delegation after their team won the game. It was then that for the first time Alaa Moubarak got out of the shade and was interviewed in many a media outlet .  The unrest that followed took a couple of weeks to calm down.
A small History of the Ultras The Telegraph  

 The Ultras whose demands since they were organized was mainly the right of  supporting their teams the way they saw fit. The refusal by the authorities to yield to their demands and the use of undue force against them  has developed a blood feud between ultras and regime forces. At the beginning of the events in January 2011, the  Ultras joined the protesters and were the main reason why the people succeeded in breaking the police cordons and finally on Jan 28 to overtake the Square for good. As shown in the linked article, Some now believe that this was the reason of the Port Said massacre and claim that the police looked the other way and did not interfere because of that feud. Some even claim that the Police and their informers were instrumental in the heating up of issues and that they had a dirty hand into the matter. If proven, I would not be surprised.

Football in Egypt is the secret but tumultuous lover of  Bolitics.