Saturday, February 20, 2016

You can step on the flowers, but you can’t prevent the spring

The Arab Spring, celebrated at the time as a triumph for freedom, is perhaps viewed differently by those in the middle of it today, those who have to live with the change as it continues.  After so many years of oppression, of corruption, of murder and abuse, the public revolution began in desperation but with such hope for better.  From an anonymous Egyptian blog ...

The Muslim Brotherhood's Constitution has passed, thanks to fraud and a sectarian campaign in the hands of the MB Government. The Yes votes are 64%, the No votes are 36% and the voter turnout was 32% of all eligible voters. Out of every 100 Egyptians, 20 have said yes, 12 have said no, and 68 didn’t even bother to go and vote. 
Mohamed was one of those 68% that didn’t vote. He is a government employee by day, and a taxi driver by night, who spends every waking minute of his day trying to provide for his wife, 3 children and sick mother. Mohamed didn’t vote. Mohamed didn’t vote because he didn’t think it mattered, and that no matter what he chooses the outcome will be Yes anyway. Mohamed didn’t vote, because like all of his friends and neighbors, he has become disgusted with the tug of war between the secularists and the Islamists, and how all they care about is power, even if it means pulling the country into a civil war. Mohamed didn’t vote because he knows that neither side cares about him or his family, despite what they always say in their speeches, before and after the revolution. Mohamed didn’t vote because all the hope he had at the beginning of the revolution was gone, replaced with bitterness and anger, and he would rather spend the time scouring the streets of Cairo for a fare that might help him cover his ever increasing expenses. What good is a constitution to a bunch of hungry mouths anyway? 
Mohamed hated the revolution. Mohamed hated that his neighborhood became infested with crime and thugs, and that the whole city soon followed. Mohamed hated the absence of the police unless they wanted a bribe, a practice that has increased after a revolution that claimed that it will stop it. Mohamed hated the state of chaos the country has been in for the past two years, and the hours he wasted in traffic caused by marches and sit ins and clashes that don’t seem to ever stop. Mohamed hated that there are no tourists anymore, and that when he gets a foreign customer it’s usually a Syrian refugee who hassles him over the fare, unlike the days when the Americans and the Gulfie tourists used to populate the city and pay him generously for taking them around. Mohamed hated that they were gone, and has lost hope that they will ever come back.  Mohamed barely meets his expenses, and has no idea how he survived those past two years. He panicked when he heard that the prices of goods were going up, only to relax hours later when he was informed that the government cancelled the increase. Had those prices increased, Mohamed would be completely unable to feed his family, and what kind of a man would that make him?  Mohamed is scared, bitter, angry, hungry and tired. He knows one thing for certain: if things get any worse financially, he will lose it. He will take the gun he bought two years ago, and kill the Islamists, the secularists, and all of those people who have the luxury to fight over stupid shit at his and his family’s expense.   
Mohamed will show them the exact amount of consideration and mercy they have showed him, which is none.   
Mohamed will have his Justice, and he is not the only one.

It hasn't been an easy change. We're reminded that revolution isn't done in a day, perhaps not even in a decade.
One of the most extraordinary centers of history and civilization, Egypt is in an uneasy transition.
Parents worry for their children's safety as well as for their future.
In Egypt, more than eighty-five million people live with uncertainty, and many are fearul.  Can we help?  How might we ease some of the suffering so many face?