Friday 25 May 2012

The Myth of "The Revolutionary Candidate"

Many revolutionaries blamed Hamdeen Sabbahi for taking his chances and nominating himself for the presidency and thus supposedly stealing away AbulFotouh's votes. These people saw that all revolutionaries had to unite behind one 'revolutionary candidate' to face the 'felool'. A similar fate awaited Khaled Ali, although in light of the small amount of votes he got, his running for office didn't affect the final results much as opposed to Hamdeen Sabbahi.

In any case, this post is not written to argue about who is more worthy for the title of "the revolutionary candidate", but rather to argue against the concept itself. Yes, the people stood together and screamed "the people want the downfall of the regime" and "bread, freedom, social justice". Yes, right after the fall of  Mubarak, many decried the terrible polarization that occurred between people who formerly stood hand in hand to revolt against a dictator even unto death. The truth, however - and this shouldn't be considered as  something negative per se - is that the revolutionaries are different individuals with different ideologies.

Lessons we will soon forget

As the final results of the first round of Egypt's presidential elections are revealed, some tendencies in the voting behavior & thinking of Egyptians become clear. As usual, we will not take that into account & will not try to learn from our mistakes in order to rectify what has gone wrong, but here are my two cents:

Most importantly, candidates with a clear program and who've spoken without vagueness about their goals and ideology, seem to be scoring much better. Morsy was the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, a vote for him was a vote for the "Renaissance" project, which didn't really belong to him, but to the Muslim Brotherhood as a whole (some would argue to the Islamists in general). An Islamist who wishes for a greater role for religion in the state and who has said that clearly, Morsy has succeeded, together with the organizational force and weight of the Brotherhood to take the majority of the votes.

Wednesday 23 May 2012


كتبت هذا المقال و انا اتابع الأحداث الأخيرة فى العباسية و اتحسّر على حال بلدى مثل الكثيرين و لم انشره آنذاك، لكن يبدو لى ان الآن وقت مناسب لنشره.

كل ما اراه فى الآونة الأخيرة هو تخوين و مزايدة و شتائم بذيئة و حقد و عدم ثقة و اتسآل - بعيداً عن المشهد السياسى - كيف سنحيا نحن المصريون معاً فى هذا البلد؟ كيف سنجعل من مصرنا الجنة المنشودة و نحن نفرح لمصائب اهلنا و نشمت فى ما يلاقيه البعض فى بلادنا من مشاكل و احزان؟ لماذا نحاول انقاذ وطن اصبح من سماته كراهية اهله بعضهم البعض، لماذا نناضل و نكافح؟ الم نقل ان كل شئ نفعله هو من اجل المواطن المصرى؟ كيف نقول اننا نحارب من اجل كرامة و عزة هذا المواطن و نحن نشتمه بأقذر الألفاظ؟ كيف نغنى اغانى حب فى الوطن و نحن نبغض اهله و اصحابه؟

Tuesday 22 May 2012

The War of Words in Egypt

It is well-known how the usage of certain words can change a message completely, how a text which appears to be objective or neutral can implicitly hold a very biased tone revealed in the choice of words the author makes. Speaking about ‘terrorists’ is not like speaking about ‘freedom fighters’, ‘resistance’ for instance, but both are often used to describe the same group of people and help reveal the position of the author on the subject at hand. ‘Protesters’, ‘activists’ or ‘thugs’ and ‘rioters’? Clearly those who are being protested against would prefer the latter two descriptions, thereby already discrediting protestors without having to add any pejorative adjectives to those words. Similarly, a worrying trend is noticeable in Egypt where ‘opposition’ is now for instance sometimes interchangeably used with ‘islamophobia’.