Friday, 17 June 2011

Post Revolution Hangover

Since last visiting Egypt in February shortly after Mubarak's resignation, I have noticed a shift in people's attitudes. This is by no means supposed to be a generalisation. Just an attempt to document some of my  conversations.

Last time I was here, people were jubilant. Intoxicated with freedom, people were excited and enthusiastic about their futures. There was optimism in the air. Mubarak had stolen their voices. The revolution had given it back to them.

It gave people back the right to dream.

Now, a few months later, I feel there has been a shift. When before people seemed to be drunk with freedom, it seems to me that they are now experiencing a hangover.

I think part of it has to with the fact that after a few months of intoxication, sobriety is now kicking in. And with that sobriety comes reality. The revolution was not a lottery ticket to instant social justice.

Yes, Mubarak's in detention. Some of his key cronies have been arrested and some are on the run. But the question on some people's mind, will that money ever come back? A cleaning lady said to me today: "Why would Switzerland want to part with this money?" Come to think of it she has a point.

If all the stolen dreams that were deposited in Swiss bank accounts by corrupt leaders around the world, were returned, Switzerland would probably go bankrupt.

A hotel owner in downtown Cairo said to me yesterday, the revolution was like a woman that you were courting when you were in love. You bought her gifts and flowers. But then you got married and the excitement waned.

Maybe the daily grind is kicking in. Maybe some people are tired. But as long the revolution's spirit continues, as I witnessed in today's performance of Tahrir Monologues, (a theatre piece showcasing a series of testimonies from the 18 day uprising), I feel optimistic.

No comments:

Post a Comment