I dread no article more than that of the revolution’s anniversary. Being slowly cut with the butter knife of hope is more torturous than the deflation of depression. Looking back on the revolution, a window to a gaping wound of failure, is only matched by the joy millions felt when we stemmed the tide of injustice for 18 days.
For the nation, what lies ahead must power this very realism married to passion. From day one Sisi has displayed a brutality far outpacing Mubarak’s regime - which murdered 846 Egyptians during the 18 days of revolt back in 2011. Police forces chased and humiliated by the masses on the Friday of Anger, 9 years ago, have come back with a vengeance, becoming Abdel Fatah El Sisi’s bullet against an unarmed people. Despite a draconian reality, calls to descend to the streets on the 9th anniversary of the Egypt’s greatest revolution have emerged. What now, is not an intellectual exercise, nor an obligatory stop along a necessary analytical path, is an existential question of immense heft for millions of Egyptians.
As far back as 1886, the U.S Supreme Court declared, “voting is preservative of all rights’’. In this regard, Egypt is in the stone ages. In its modern history Egypt’s only democratic elections, regardless of what one’s views of Mohamed Morsy may be, were upturned by a coup only one year later. Not before then, and most certainly not since, has Egypt experienced fair elections. Rights, in Egypt, are unpreserved, obliterated is the name of the ugly game.
Why We Need A Revolution
A list for potential short term and long term causes for a future revolt are as long as the Nile which bisects this autocracy infested nation. We know, from a myriad of sources, that well over 60,000 prisoners of conscience continue to languish in Sisi’s jail cells. It has been 3 years since the government floated the pound and impacts have decimated all but the upper classes, with a heaping spoonful of poverty thrust upon the lower classes. So devastating has been the move, the world bank is on record as saying that 60% of Egyptians are ‘’poor or vulnerable. Tragically, 2 out of 3 Egyptians in some of the southern governorates are considered to be impoverished. But that has not stopped President Sisi from saying “ yes we have built palaces and we will build more”. Adopting a Marie Antoinette posture while a majority of the nation starves is a singularly misguided strategy and a one way road to political hell.
Many of those 60,000 in Sisi’s jails are there for a reason: In the regime’s mind, they are the thinkers, the organizers, the revolutionaries who helped to mobilize #Egypt’s streets 9 years ago. They have not been replaced. #25Jan
To oppression and economic implosion, we add the educational system disaster: Intentionally low budgetary allocations, ineffective leadership, overcrowded classrooms have made for increasing dropout rates. Many graduates are, for all intents, an invisible illiterate class. Those, so called graduates, do not know what they do not know. Low teacher wages only compound the failure of the sector. It should come as a surprise to none this is the state of affairs, after all Egypt is led by the man who, infamously, said “What will education do for a lost nation?”. In saying so, Sisi ignored the obvious: the nation is lost because men like him focus billions upon billions for unneeded weaponry so allegiances of corrupt generals can be bought while denying necessary funding for education. Naturally, the youth are meant to be uneducated so that the military pharaohs can retain a stranglehold, outlasting Sisi governance. Continued pulverization of the education model is no accident, it is political murder with intent.
If we were to list all the causes of a potential future faceoff, this article would need to become three. Suffice it to say with Sinai unsecured, the killing of Egyptians by terrorists and the state continues unabated. The mismanagement of the Nile Dam negotiations amounts to treason, it will lead to the death of many Egyptians with harrowing impacts on agriculture and drinking water projected. To be specific, a study emerging this week, outlines how, in the worst case scenario, if Ethiopia were to fill the dam within 5 years results would be catastrophic: 36% loss of drinking water and a whopping 50% of its agricultural land. Lack of transparency and the colossal mismanagement it hides are nothing new to close observers of the Egyptian milieu. This lack of transparency is part of the Sinai operational model and has been migrated to the failed Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam negotiations.
So why am I not clapping loudly for calls for demonstrations today? To remain silent is to betray so I must speak.
Revolting Now Would Be Self Immolation
Though a delay, even in days, in removing this dysfunctional dictator and his regime appendages does immeasurable harm to Egyptians, to descend to the streets now would be political immolation.
Signs abound that the regime is ready: Undercover police, state security, and police are the rule in Tahrir square. So is the vicious campaign to search phones for political content which can often result in arrest. Multiple sources have told me, from within government circles, that all vacations have been forbidden for Egyptian police for the past month. Even though there are no remarkable signs of organized demonstrations set to launch on the 25th except for calls by Mohamed Ali, the contractor, who triggered September 20th demonstrations but has been largely ineffective since.
A day must come, sooner than later, when the people should stand up to #Sisi but it must come when he least expects it and his apparatus must be overwhelmed with numbers of such heft that it makes a massacre politically untenable. #25Jan
Though Ali was initially a ray of political sun by virtue of his insider videos uncovering rampant corruption by Sisi and his military cadres, his persistent calls for demonstrations were responsible for the arrest of over 4000 Egyptians. A call for demonstrations now is dangerously naive.
To succeed against Central Security forces and police numbering over 400,000, and potentially the army in the worst case scenario, there can be nothing haphazard before moving an inch towards the streets. A plan which simply calls for the avoidance of public squares while focusing demonstrations on main thoroughfares is the very definition of haphazard. Indeed, Mohamed Ali was kind enough to provide security forces with names of the main streets being targeted. Naive.
One cannot ignore the obvious: opposition has been crushed to the extreme, particularly since the coup. Many of those 60,000 in Sisi’s jails are there for a reason, in the regime’s mind, they are the thinkers, the organizers, the revolutionaries who helped to mobilize the streets 9 years ago. They have not been replaced. Tactically, the Muslim Brotherhood organizational cells and networks have been disrupted with members either killed, in jail or forced to flee overseas.
Numerous conversations with activists and revolutionaries have painted a picture of an emotionally exhausted, strategically unready, largely depressed mass. Many say publicly on social media: we have done our part, it is the young ones turn this go around. Many witnessed friends die and others go to jail and are far too traumatized to take any chances at this point.
Though a delay, even in days, in removing the dysfunctional Dictator and his regime appendages does immeasurable harm to Egyptians, to descend to the streets now would be political immolation. #25Jan
Egypt’s reality with Sisi may be terribly ugly but the state of the opposition, despite increasing reports of organization among Egyptians abroad, is, largely in organizational shambles. For these reasons I say do not protest now, your death or your arrest will only empower a vicious regime.
A day must come, sooner than later, when the people should stand up to Sisi but it must come when he least expects it and his apparatus must be overwhelmed with numbers of such heft that it makes a massacre politically untenable. Such a moment will not come to pass without a plan for what comes after revolt.
Anything else is suicide.