Structural vs. Cultural violence

In Egypt we had a pretty nasty form of structural violence that was embodied in the state’s massive bureaucracy, and web of interests that surround it. It was nasty, inefficient, and very corrupt. The revolution attempted to call for end to that violence and was still taking baby steps in trying to find a more human replacement. The magical eighteen days in Tahrir in early 2011 saw a wonderful experiment where people were trying to create a new reality and a new order, they were trying out new ways of dealing with others…gentler and sweeter ways.

Before anything they were attempting came to fruition, they were faced with cultural violence by Islamists. The Islamists claimed divine authority and were naturally bent on extinguishing all experimentation as they viewed them as silly and futile. They had their perfect ways and had no need for those where reaching out for something nobler…yet without history laden labels or structures of power. The Islamists attempted assimilate the machinery of structural violence in their arsenal of cultural warfare.

As soon as the horrors of their designs became clear to the vast majority of Egyptian, a revolt ensued. Tragically, since June 30th, 2013  no alternative means were found to supplant either forms oppression. One thing is patently clear, most Egyptians would opt for the familiar and impersonal structural violence that they had suffered  for decades, than to give a chance for Islamist cultural violence to run its course…democratic process be damned.


Why will I Vote a Reluctant “yes” to the Proposed 2013 Constitution

I will be voting “yes” on the next constitutional referendum. It will be a vote with limited enthusiasm and excitement. It comes about from a painful analysis of the sorry state Egypt is now in. My aspirations for a post revolutionary Egypt remain much higher.

My concern is that the alternative to a positive outcome of the referendum are a great deal more grim. The way I see it, we have three options on the menu:

1. A very hard-core Islamist constitution that will be regressive and anachronistic if the MB or their ilk rise again to power…a “no” will make that more probable.

2. The 2012 constitution which already included military trials (the most abhorrent part in the new constitution), but missing out on many of the good points with regards to freedom of belief and minority rights in the proposed constitution

3. The 1972 constitution which gives the president completely unchecked powers. i.e. full regression to the pre 2011 state.

Escaping the sad fate of 1 makes 2 or 3 (or some mix of the two) very likely . I do not see a fourth option. The revolutionary idealists never managed to organize themselves politically over the last 3 years. Beyond making moral statements, and standing for what they believe is right, their sacrifices have been well exploited by many parasites.

The proposed constitution is still a small victory for the civil and progressive camp. A beach head, that I hope they will be able to expand upon later. The alternative is to risk domination by the Islamists, in which case society will come to complete stasis and no progress will be possible except via an all out civil war.  Although the military will continue to play an active role in Egyptian politics in the coming years, with some hard work and a bit of luck we  might be able to gradually contain and limit their influence. With the Islamists our chances of doing that is zero.



Background to Inhumanity

In the midst of the brutality that the MB are experiencing, I can not be help but wish that they were facing a more lawful treatment. 

To keep matters in perspective, I also remind myself of the following facts:
1. Their recent murder of political opponents in bin al sarayat, and Alexandria.
2. Their torture tents in Rabyee and al-nahda
3. Their waging of a guerilla warfare against the Egyptian army in Sinai
4. Their hate speech in their rallies, where they label their opponents as infidels worthy of brutal death
5. Their supplications to “God” that there fellow Egyptians of a different political persuasion face horrific devine punishment
6. Their local speech the stokes sectarianism, and their international propaganda where they color themselves as defenders of democratic values
7. Their incessant exploitation of religious sentiments to drive divisions in Egyptian society, and more recently the army.
8. Their gleefulness and inhumanity to the atrocities that anti-SCAF protesters were facing during the transition period.
9. Their tireless attempts at bringing about laws that would criminalize protests while they were in power
10. Their complete reluctance to reform the Police, as long as it did a good job of stifling their political opponents
11. Their appointment of their own very private “general prosecutor” for the purposes of applying selective “justice”
12. Their incredibly long list of lies, broken promises, and doublespeak
13. Their attack on peaceful protestors last November and the flexing of muscles by their militias…with full impunity.

The above is not written to justify any inhumanity towards the MB or Islamists in general, but to understand the root causes of such inhumanity. Such understanding is crucial if we are to move forward with creating a society that is free from animosity and vitriolic hatred.

I hope that one day I will live in a country where the rule of a law is applied with full impartiality, and where laws are put in place to protect the rights and freedoms of the citizenry, not some select elite. Be it military, religious, or otherwise.


A coup they say!

In February 2011 the supreme council of the armed forces (SCAF) removed Mubarak. He was then still technically a democratically elected president. The army was responding to the will of the majority of the people. Back then (as now), Mubarak still had a significant number of supporters.

In July 2013 the army, removed a democratically elected autocrat who did a pretty lousy job of running the country and also sought to  impose his ideology on the Egyptian people. Now, as then, the army was responding to the will of the vast majority of Egyptians.

It is to be noted that this time the scale of demonstrations was several times larger than any experienced during January 25-February 11 2011.

We are grateful and proud of our army for the role that he played in both instances. We are well aware the sins of SCAF in the transitional period. We are happy that they seem to have learned from their past mistakes and are opting to stay away for power and have immediately handed power to the the head of supreme court as our constitution indicates in instances of impeachment. We are hopeful that they will continue to show wisdom and maturity in the coming days.

Cartoon by Ahmad Nady showing puny and vocal Morsi supporters attempt at terrorizing Egyptians

To be clear, this is a popular impeachment of democratically elected president. The army here is the  executor of the will of the Egyptian people. To call this a coup, is to gravely insult  the millions who went out to the streets calling for Morsi to step down, braving countless terrorist threats by Islamists and putting their lives at risk  to make their country a beacon on light and civilization in the region and not a breading ground for intolerance and terrorism. 


On the way to the battlefield

As the noble warrior makes his way to battle he reminds himself:
Hate consumes hope.
Hate devours the soul.
Hate blocks any pathway to heaven.
Hate forces too much of your gaze on your enemy, and in time you will not be able to see justice, beauty, or truth.


It is time to Rebel, it is time for Tamarod

I have been noticing some anxiety with regards to June 30th. How will it unfold and what will happen next.

I think many people want to see a clearer long term vision and they are right in seeking that. However, they often seem to demand too much in terms of what can be planed and accounted for. This is a long drawn war and the first battle will start by the end of the month.

The Tamarod movement is simply calling for early presidential elections. They declare that the current government has brought nothing by disaster to our lands and that we simply can not afford to continue like this for three more years.

The laundry list of grievances is very long, it includes lies, deception, breaking down the state, naked power grabs, a medieval constitution, fomenting sectarian strife, collapsing economy, horrific human rights violations, a corrupt prosecutor general, activist detentions.. and finally a a disgustingly parochial and buffoonish president that likes of which Egypt has not seen in modern history.

If you are worried about what sort of of political arrangement will emerge out of early presidential elections, or what happens if the army steps in, or a civil war erupts … there is no good answer. It is a bit hard to see that far ahead or to account for all the political dynamics that may emerge. Tamarod is a grass-roots none ideological block that is only very loosely affiliated with the politically impotent National Salvation Front. Their immediate goal is to remove the Islamists strangle hold on power. They have to maintain their laser like focus on that.

If you have good ideas, bring them forward and try to articulate them the best you can. But I beg you, do not just sit still and watch country sink into oblivion for lack of a long term vision that no one can honestly formulate. If your are a Doctor and you have patient who is going into cardiac arrest, you apply the defibrillators, then you worry about treatment.

What Tamarod are doing is bold intervention to save this country. If they succeed there might be a little hope left… if they fail, then it is curtains for Egypt…IMHO.


The Coward

I saw him fall to his knees,
crawl for mercy
…. from a self appointed god.

As a man drowning at sea,
exhausting all his energy swimming away from the visible shore
… for a straw to save him.

Damn him and his race!
He will get no quarter from his idol
… and no pity from me.

Cowards are the muck that we have to
tread through on our long march
… to freedom.


The praying machine

I watched as he prayed, listening those ancient utterances that had been handed down by the merciful God. 
Words that conjure a beautiful world, in my mind, bringing forth the noblest of human aspirations.
Living words that take on new meaning as I understand more about the universe and its laws, as I tread gently on a path of self discovery.
Words unbound, and unchained by literal views and historical precedents.
Words that animate matter and spirit and shapes reality in a creative act of seeing.

Foolishly I thought that such words bind us.
Foolishly I thought that we prayed to the same God.

The god he worshiped was of made of adulterated matter. Made of  fears, hopes and social constructs.  It was a dominating and dogmatic  god, like he was.
A useful god that cleared for him a road to power and domination over feeble and base minds that continue to worship the Nietzschean dead god of their illusions. The wretches!

Meanings of holy Words, copied from generation to the next without spiritual transubstantiation. Meanings that with time become confused for the Words of God. As cells proceed unto death by making copies, and then dying, those meaning having moved through generations making ever more erroneous copies in minds until DEATH!

Now I know that he is dead! His thoughtless utterances only affirm that he is a machine devoid of spirit.  Motivated by an evolutionary imperative to spread death and stasis in the minds of humanity. He replicated himself through a viral meme, mustering all the resources and powers in his path. What meme? You man ask? Well… he fashions pocket sized gods for the miserable and lost.

I turn to the Source, I reach out for the infinite, the uncontained, the unfathomable, the grandest mystery.  The spectacle of the praying-machine haunting me.


The bane of Morsi

Morsi! thou art abominable !

How many youths will have to die?
…to save your face and preserve a lie!

How much tears must be shed?
How much blood must be bled?

How many holy words used in vain?
To sow confusion can cause much pain?

Renaissance is nonsense!
Conscience is pretentiousness!

How many noble words by avarice consumed?
Can they one day be dug out and exhumed? 

And the word of God you used to claim…
the passions of many who now worship your name

Morsi! thou art hideous !