Sunday, 24 June 2012

Mohamed Mursi Supporters in Tahrir 22/06/2012

"Son of the Midan
Son of the Midan
Son of the Revolutionaries
Civilian President
Peaceful Revolution
Loveliest Youths
Peaceful Revolution
Peaceful Revolution
Dream of Legitimacy
The rights of Martyrs

Dream of Legitimacy
The rights of Martyrs 

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Presidential Election Egypt: Pray for a Miracle

As preliminary results in Egypt's post revolution presidential election start emerging, and as my first feeling of shock subsides, I find myself praying for a miracle. Please let Hamdeen Sabahi get just enough votes to take him to the second round. I find myself hoping that somewhere in Egypt throughout the final counting phase, more people will have voted for him than for Ahmed Shafiq or Mohamed Mursi.

Someone out there is laughing right now. If people craved stability and a man of stature, why Ahmed Shafiq and not Amr Moussa. And if they craved a political Islamist candidate why Mohamed Mursi and not Abd El Moneim Aboul Fotouh? Amr Moussa and Abd El Moneim Aboul Fotouh had performed well in polls the previous weeks.

I have a confession to make. I wasn't able to vote in this round. Currently residing abroad, I failed to register on time. I was not aware that the registration deadline for Egyptians abroad was over more than a month before the election. I had all the intention to vote, but could not with regret. 

As the 23rd of May approached, I remember planning who I would vote for in spirit, but I remember it wasn't easy. None of the candidates ticked all the boxes. The candidate who did, wasn't in the race anymore: Mohamed El Baradei, who I would have given my wholehearted support to. In the absence of Mohamed El Baradei, I shortlisted five candidates with potential and I came to the following conclusions: 

I liked Abd El Monein Aboul Fotouh. There's something genuine about him. I  liked his vision of a "Stronger Egypt," and his moderate and considered view of Islam. Aboul Fotouh stands for the word tolerance. I could imagine Aboul Fotouh take Egypt forward to an advanced democratic nation. My only reservation was a lack of clarity about his political Islamist agenda.

My second journey took me further left to Hamdeen Sabahi, a socialist Nasserist dreamer. He is the revolutionary spirit who brings with him the promise of a democratic utopian Egypt. Convinced by his project, I decided that he would be a potential candidate, I could vote for in spirit. I had faith that he would not betray the three mantras: freedom, social justice and dignity. But I don't agree with his belligerent stance on the peace treaty with Israel.

I then took a look at Amr Moussa. I found his experience and stature as a seasoned international diplomat to be a plus. Amr Moussa embodies the qualities of a statesman. I also had an ounce of hope that he would take Egypt through this next trying phase with a degree of earnestness. But his past ties with the Mubarak regime made him a difficult choice.

Reformist judge Hisham El Bastawisi seems like a man with integrity. An esteemed man of the law, Hisham El Bastawisi is likeable and sincere. But there was too little momentum behind him.

Khaled Ali, the youngest candidate and a human rights lawyer, I discovered was another sincere candidate I had come across. His values and programme resonated with me, but he lacked enough support to take him through to the second round. Having said that, Khaled Ali was the candidate I would have voted for with a good conscience.

If I had to describe each presidential candidate using a few words, I would say the following: Abd El Moneim Aboul Fotouh would stand for tolerance; Hamdeen Sabahi would be the utopian dreamer; Amr Moussa would be the statesman, Hisham El Bastawisi would be the man of principle and Khaled Ali would be the humanist. 

In an ideal world the five would have worked together. But we're not in an ideal world. Right now the facts indicate that in less than a month, an arch supporter of the former regime will be in a run-off against the candidate of a conservative political Islamist party. But till that moment arrives, I pray that the numbers change in favour of Hamdeen Sabahi. 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

My Ode to the Revolution

Whenever I feel like the revolution has inhaled its last breath of air, I quietly remind myself to fear nothing.  
For I know the revolution is a dream that has found a place in the hearts and minds of Egyptians. 
It has found a place with those who allow themselves to imagine a better world. 
The revolution is alive. 
Its spirit felt amongst the men and women of Egypt.
Its spirit felt amongst the young and old of Egypt.
Its spirit felt amongst those not willing to give up on their dream. 
I see it in their courage. 
I see it in their generosity.
I see it in their optimism. 
The revolution is a dream for a better Egypt. 
Long live the dream.
الثورة مستمرة

Monday, 20 February 2012

Mothers for Justice in Egypt

Powerful mothers, women and girls gathered at the cabinet on Feb 5, while it was in session with three messages for the members of Egypt's newly formed parliament. This was in response to recent violence in a Portsaid football stadium in which 74 lost their lives.

"1. The people's will is respected, 2. SCAF does not rule, 3. Our brothers' blood shall not go. Members of Parliament. The Revolution is everywhere. Legitimacy is from the Square."

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Powerful Protest

Campaigners are taking to the streets of Egypt to spread revolutionary messages while standing in silence. I came across this campaign on Salah Salem street in Heliopolis, on the 28th of January 2012.
The people want prompt just trials

We don't want compensation for their souls. We want punishment for their killing.
We don't want compensation for their souls. We want punishment for their killing.
You started and we will continue the journey.
Your life in retaliation.
A martyr is not simply a number in the news.
No constitution under military rule.
Egyptian blood is of high value
"They may torture me, break my bones, even kill me. Then they will have my dead body, but not my obedience."
Mahatma Ghandi
Presidential elections = Stability.
Punishment to who killed my brother with a bullet.
A martyr is not simply a number in the news.
Someone lost his life for a free life.
Martyrs' blood is the revolution's fuel.
The people want prompt just trials
The people want urgent just trials. Martyr's blood is the revolution's fuel.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Hello Grandpa...

Photo / Design by Yasmin Salem. Photo taken on 27 Jan 2012 in Tahrir

Children sing song of Freedom in Maspeero

Children sing a song of freedom outside Maspeero (where the national television building is based) on Jan 28, 2012

Translation of Song:

Supreme Council respond to us
You say truth
And kill us
Our imprisoned brothers and sisters
Oppressed in your prisons

Freedom, Freedom, Freedom

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Egypt is open to Tourism

Photo taken in Tahrir on 28 January 2012
The "Man of the Moment" on this photo explained to me that the pyramid he was carrying on his head represented tourism and its significance to Egypt.

Translation of slogans on pyramid: 
Egypt above all
Egypt is free
I love Egypt

Translation of words on the miniature obelisks:
Mars Allam

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Marching to Tahrir on 25 Jan 2012


Friday, 13 January 2012

"Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee."

Artist Unknown, Heliopolis, Merghani Street, 28 August 2011

Artist Unknown, Heliopolis, Merghani Street, 28 August 2011

Muhammed Ali's, "Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee," came to my mind as a good timely framework connecting the images back to (post) revolutionary Egypt. Revolutionary and counter-revolutionary forces seem to be engaged in a long boxing match.

I discovered these reincarnations of Panda under a bridge in Heliopolis. I'm not sure if they're by the same artist. 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

What would you do if you were President of Egypt?

A friend asked me yesterday what I'd do if I were in charge of the country. I've always found questions that begin with "what if?"exciting. What if you won the lottery? What if you could live for a thousand years? What if you were president of Egypt?

My reply was, if I was in charge, "The people would be the red line." It's a sentiment I've often heard people chant during marches in Tahrir, reflecting people's desire to see Egypt's citizens treated with respect and dignity. 

My policies would put people at the heart of all its programmes ensuring the main pillars of the revolution were developed. I'd also ensure that the government, democratically elected every term, served the country and not the other way around. To see that happen, I'd start off with a constitution that stated on its cover in bold "الشعب خط احمر" that "The people are the red line." The constitution would be sealed in gold with the aim of always upholding "Freedom, Dignity and Social Justice."

My Egyptian utopia would be overseen democratically by three departments charged with fulfilling the revolution continuously. I'd hire ministers tasked with heading up these departments.

Freedom: A minister of human rights would ensure people's freedoms were safeguarded. We'd see an Egypt where citizens were treated equally no matter what their gender, ethnic, religious or sexual background. All Egyptians would be equal in front of the law. Egyptians would no longer have to live in fear of retribution for expressing their views. Police brutality would no longer be tolerated. Police officers would receive a respectable place in society again thanks to their citizen respecting philosophies. The law would encourage mutual respect.

Dignity: A minister of anti-corruption would be tasked to clean up politics, media, business and the justice system. It would ensure the abuse of power was no longer feasible. The main foundation for that would have to be a fair independent justice system. The clean up would ensure corruption was no longer tolerated offering people equal opportunities and a dignified status as citizens of Egypt.

Social Justice: A minister of development would implement policies and programmes promoting a modern 21st century economy, where jobs, education, healthcare, farming, technology, tourism and the environment were advanced with social justice at the core.

Finally, Tahrir would always serve as a place for reflection and protest ensuring those in power are held accountable.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Best New Year's Eve in Tahrir 2011

Minutes to the countdown as Muslims and Christians celebrated the New Year's Eve in Tahrir in solidarity, sharing love and singing the national anthem, and finally the words: "Bread, Freedom, Social Justice" and "Down with SCAF" as we headed into 2012. As we entered the new year, balloons bearing the colours of Egypt's flag rose into the air as we heard: "Happy new year Tahrir!"