multivalence

multivalence is the new ambivalence

Category: Friday updates

تحرير.. ليه؟

من موقعي هذا على هامش الأحداث أقدر أقول –في إشارة لوزير الغافلة أحمد شفيق– اني حاربت وسألت واتسألت “هو إيه بالضبط لازمة الاعتصام”.

مبدئياً كده أنا مش معتصمة في التحرير. ولا في ميدان الأربعين في السويس. ولا في أي حتة في اسكندرية أو بورسعيد. بس باحاول على قد مقدرتي أساند المعتصمين بالمشاركة ساعة أو ساعتين كل يوم (في التحرير بحكم وجودي في القاهرة). باشارك لأني مقتنعة بحجج ودوافع –بل بضرورة –الاعتصام. اقتناعي مش عمياني. أنا واقفة إلى حد كبير بره المعركة، ماليش قريب اتقتل في الثورة ولا حبيب في سجن عسكري. لسه أقدر أعيش عيشة كويسة رغم الفوضى اللي بيقولوا عليها خاربة البلد ورغم عجلة الانتاج اللي طول عمرها مليانة بؤر لحام. مش عضوة في ائتلاف أو تنظيم ثوري أو سياسي.. عمري ما كنت شاطرة في الحاجات دي ومش هاضحك على نفسي وابتدي دلوقتي. فيه حاجات كتير بتشغل تفكيري أكتر من السياسة. انما مضطرة أشارك. فعلاً ولّله مضطرة. لأن اللحظة اللي بنعيشها بتجبر كل واحد انه يحدّد موقفه، وانا لو مااخترتش أقف مع الحق مش هاعرف أنام بالليل. باشارك بصفتي مواطنة وبس. ولما  ييجي اليوم اللي ما نحتاجش فيه نهتف في مظاهرات عشان نكون مواطنين لينا حقوق متساوية هابطّل تماماً أتكلّم في السياسة.

طيب، فإيه لازمة الاعتصام؟ السؤال ده له شقّين. الشقّ الأول هو إيه الهدف من الاعتصام. والشقّ التاني هل الاعتصام هو أحسن طريقة.

الهدف من الاعتصام هو الضغط على النظام (اللي هو لسّه نفس النظام) عشان ينفّذ أبسط المطالب اللي تضمن لنا نطلع من الليلة دي كلها بحاجة شبيهة بس بنتائج ثورة. لحد دلوقتي مافيش حاجة اتغيرت غير ان مبارك ما بقاش رئيس. وبينما ده في حد ذاته خبر كويس، انما احنا ما طالبناش برحيل مبارك لشخصه، طالبنا برحيله لأنه كان على رأس نظام فاسد. والنظام لسه موجود ولسه فاسد. ولسه بيرفض أبسط الحلول للقضاء على مجرد جانب واحد من جوانب فساده –الجانب اللي بيأثّر على حياة معظم المواطنين بشكل يومي –وهو بطش واستبداد الداخلية.

أما عن الاعتصام كوسيلة، ففكّر كده واتعب دماغك معانا شوية معلش، ولو لقيت بديل تفضّل شاكراً باقتراحه. طول ماحنا بنحاول نحقّق مطالب ثورة من غير حكومة ثورية مافيش طريقة غير استمرار الضغط من الشارع. والضغط معناه تعطيل المصالح. يعني اضرابات واعتصامات وده أضعف الإيمان. هي دي الأساليب المتاحة للمقاومة السلمية.

مش محتاجة أقول إن كلامي مش موجه للّي شايف ان مافيش حاجة أصلا تستاهل التغيير، أو نفسه فعلا في عودة “الحياة الطبيعية” اللي كان “طبيعي” فيها القهر والفساد والتعذيب والجوع والذل والنفاق وقلّة القيمة. موضع الاختلاف مع اللي مش شايف في البلد ما يدعو للثورة أصلا أعمق من سؤال نعتصم ولا ما نعتصمش. فيه أصوات كتير اليومين دول بتقول حاجات من نوع: أنا كنت مع الثورة بس… بس إيه؟ هو ماكانش ماتش وخِلِص سيادتك. ده صراع مستمر على حقوق ناس وعلى مصير شعب بحاله.

أقول قولي هذا وأتجّه إلى تحرير.

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مطالب الاعتصام  http://waelk.net/node/56

بيان أسر الشهداء والمصابين http://egyleftparty.org/?p=1535

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أشكال والوان

صورة المصلين في التحرير النهارده فكرتني بالمقطع ده من قصيدة تميم البرغوثي

يا مصر قومي وبصي في المرايات
كان كل واحد في الميدان جايب معاه مراية
رافعها للسما
اشكال والوان كلها مرفوعة في العالي
صبحت مراية واحدة بتلالي
وبقت يا مصر الارض صورة للسما
لعبة بازل متكاسرة الاجزاء
لما البشر يتجمّعوا تبان السما ع الارض
ّواما البشر يتفرّقوا تلقي السما بتنفض
تبقى سما متوزّعة جوه الشقق
وتمر ليلة من التوجُّس والقلق
وننام ونصحى تاني يوم
ترجع سما لما البشر يتجمّعوا مع بعض

Translated from a poem by Tamim Al-Barghouti, with inspiration from this image.

Wake up Egypt and look in the mirrors.

In the square each holds up a mirror.
The different shapes and colours become one image:
A shimmering sky.

People like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
When they come together, the sky comes down to earth.
It breaks when they part, one sky scattered
In rooms all over the city.

The night is tense.

We sleep and wake to return
to the square, bringing with us the sky.

ما رواه أبو لمعة .. عن وقائع يوم الجمعة

الصورة اللي على اليمين من ميدان التحرير النهاردة وقت صلاة الجمعة .. الصورة اللي على الشمال لخبر من الموقع الرسمي للإخوان المسلمين نُشر في نفس الوقت تقريباً (اضغط على الصورة لقراءة التفاصيل)

ده مش هجوم على الإخوان لا كحزب ولا كأفراد، إنما على التضليل الإعلامي أيّا كان مصدره أو انتماؤه .. بصراحة كنت أتوقع من المصدر ده بالذات آداء أرقى شوية من كده .. (وجعتني أوي حكاية “جمعة الوقيعة” دي .. ربنا “يوقع” كل انتهازي في شر أعماله!)

from May 2005 to May 2011


Friday, 27 May. Protests are being planned all over Egypt. Some opposition groups are calling it the “second Friday of rage“, others (myself included) see it as a second wave in an ongoing revolution that was not finished in the first place.

It’s been exactly 6 years since the first visible protests against Mubarak’s regime. I was reminded of that by an email from Alia pointing out what a long way we’ve come since May 2005. She included a link to a post she’d written back then following the brutal assault on opposition protestors in Cairo (read more about that incident here.)

I remember that day. I wasn’t actually there –was living in London at the time –but I remember calling friends, scanning the internet for pictures and stories, and doing very little at work for days (and maybe weeks after) besides immersing myself in the –then still emerging– world of Egyptian blogs. That day marked the crystallization of a very sinister possibility: that when the real oppressed of Egypt rise, it might be against other Egyptians who are on the same side, also oppressed but with the kind of clothes or cars or discourses that allow them to be framed as the other and consequently as the culprit. It was scary to see how easily we could all be played against each other in a game that serves the oppressors to consolidate their power.

Yes, we have come a long way. But the dangers we are facing now are sadly dependent on the same dynamics as back then. On a daily basis, we still have to resist being played in a game of “us” against “them”, while the real oppressors are watching from somewhere altogether outside the frame.

For me, the necessity of Tahrir (Tahrir as shorthand for ongoing protests everywhere) goes beyond presenting demands or exercising pressure on the SCAF or calling for the release of Amr, Michael, and thousands others. All these are important issues, but more than that, for me the necessity of Tahrir lies in the way it brings people together, from all sectors of society, from across the ideological spectrum.

It’s a space where we keep rediscovering ourselves and each other, where we see that the world abounds with possibilities of creativity, tolerance and freedom, and that we don’t have to be stuck in the narratives that have been imposed on us. Tahrir is a meeting place, a thinktank, a sort of Athenian Pnyx for the many many individuals who are already part of a better Egypt, or even (I’ll allow myself to ignore the little devil of cynicism over my shoulder and say it) of a better humanity.

Cairo revisited

** revised version of a post I published yesterday **

Having been away since end of Feb, I go back to Cairo for a quick fix from Friday 15th to Wednesday 20th.

Day 1 —

Taxi from airport. Cairo is reassuring and uplifting. News from twitter and facebook would make you think knives are slashing skin on every street, and on every corner a crazed preacher like the Jesus guy outside Camden station, except this one would be holding a Quran. But Cairo is reassuring and uplifting, traffic a tad better than usual, my taxi driver in a good mood. On recent Mubarak news he says: “I’m sorry for the old man, but justice feels good.” A sentiment I hear echoed in many conversations in the few days that follow.

I call my parents and tell them I’m on my way. They sound relieved. We hardly spoke while I was away. In the weeks before I left, our arguments are of the kind you hold on to until someone is diagnosed with terminal illness. They accused me of ruining the country. I tried to wring their stupidity wide open for them to see but kept tearing at my own hair instead. I disappeared for days and let them assume my whereabouts. They talked to me as if I held some sway over the protesters in Tahrir. Some of my relatives would call to say things like “Please tell your friends to go home now, enough is enough!!” They’re not really stupid, my parents and aunts and cousins, nor were they pro-Mubarak per se. Mainly they were just scared.

Day 2 —

I wake up at 5am. First rays of sunshine on the Nile and all that. I spend the morning reading and writing, sipping coffee and listening to Darwish. After weeks of reading the news online, I can finally fetishise The Newspaper. I find all the copies in my parent’s house and sail through yesterday’s news.

The first pre-summer night of the year and the outdoor wedding party of M and A. Black cotton dress and orange shoes. Some people here I haven’t seen since Tahrir. It’s hot and we are all as still and as spent as the leaves on the trees. Each small group oblivious of the rest, we drink and talk our way through the first half of the evening. I can only talk about the revolution or my stalling PhD. It’s good to remember how much has happened over the past few months, even if I have hardly written a word! We move with the evening, the mood shifts and it’s like we’ve had to shed some urgent layers of conversation before we’re ready to party. I lose track of how many hours I spend on the makeshift dance floor.

Day  3 —

I meet up with S who’s working on a post-Jan25 project evaluating “media accessibility” in poor communities. Everyone I know is involved in an outreach initiative or a political party. And they all seem genuinely enthusiastic and purpose-bound. Two measurable declines in post-revolution Egypt: the stock market index and levels of cynicism.

But then.. there’s always but and there’s always then.. there’s the story of my brother and the two Sherifs: “the one that stays and the one that goes and how we wish it was the other way round”.

The first Sherif is moving with his family to the States. I meet my bro on the margin of his leaving do, and hear the familiar narrative: An Egyptian Copt, his wife American, they fear that Egypt is no longer a safe place for their children. Good people ambivalent about a good thing, they leave because they can. It’s depressing.

The other Sherif is a childhood friend of ours who at some point in his mid-twenties decided to find God. In a chance meeting two days earlier, he enquires about my brother’s marital status and advises him that it’s not good for a Moslem man to be single (read: unmarried). It invites temptation you see. He then opines that Egypt is on the right track and “the Islamic state is on its way.”

In my anecdotal version of reality, the two Sherifs provide the only sources of worry during my short happy trip.

Day 4 –

I spend most of the day in downtown Cairo, and am struck by the feeling of normality in the streets and bars. I realise that this is the first time since January that I see downtown Cairo without a demonstration, or at least a few small traffic-halting protests here and there. Is this nostalgia that I’m feeling?

Lunch with my “writing friends”. A group of mixed nationalities, at least 2 of us positive that they’re not interested in politics, we still find it hard to keep away from the topic of Egyptian politics for more than 10 minutes. I even venture some details about my love life to lend some variety to the conversation, but that’s not as exciting as trying to decipher what some army general or other might be thinking. I remember what monasosh has jokingly told me: how the only relationship she can sustain these days is her relationship with the army.

I’ve been bringing up the subject of detainees with almost everyone. People are concerned, yet the prevailing attitude seems to be playing along with the army until they go back to their barracks. And about Maikel Nabil? Reassuringly no one I speak to –friends and immediate family―thinks that the “Israel thing” changes much. What people see is a guy who’s in prison for writing on his blog. “Told you that military rule would be a lot worse than Mubarak,” is what my father has to say. I swallow my reply as I try to honour the vow of never discussing politics with my parents.

Day 5 –

I need to work. So I take my laptop to a café where I can sit outside and enjoy the sun while.. err.. working. It’s good to be in Cairo. Even better when I run into A and H, two friends who never fail to exude positivity it would be annoying if it wasn’t the very reason I’m in Cairo for. I need a fix. Give me your optimistic views and I’ll mix them with a hint of sugar into my double macchiato. When they leave in a couple of hours it’s to attend a vigil held for Vittorio Arrigoni outside the Italian embassy.

Later on in a taxi going past Maspiro. Traffic is stalled, there must be a demo that I don’t know about. We edge closer, I try to make out what’s written on the placards.. The people want freedom for… the president? Really? A hundred or so demonstrators hold pictures of Mubarak in military uniform. The placards don’t only demand his release but insist on reinstating him as some kind of hero.

They are slapping pro-Mubarak stickers onto passing cars. I stare a warning to stay away from my taxi. We speed away as soon as there’s an opening.

April not-fooling-anyone Day

 

سيادة المشير، السادة أعضاء المجلس الأعلى، السيدات والسادة أعضاء الحكومة الانتقالية، مندوبو حزب الكنبة، الحضور الكرام ..

الثورة لا تزال قائمة!

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Crowd with flag On April fools day we took to the streets once more.. with our differences and our unity.. our jokes and our flags.. thousands upon thousands of shades against the sun.. you may think you still rule us but really.. deep down you know.. you’re not fooling anyone.