Note: Eye on the East has the pleasure to post the following eye-witness account on the ongoing demonstrations in Egypt by Dalia Bayoumi, written on July 2, 2013. Dalia lives in Cairo and has been an active participant and narrator of the Egyptian Revolution since 2011. [Read “Tahrir: Rebelling with a Cause” for a brief background on the latest demonstrations against President Mohammad Mursi.]
“Marching to Tahrir on June 30th was simply breathtaking. I have to be honest, I was anxious, having been to Tahrir, but never had I felt so strongly about a cause before. I abandoned my most trusted reason of thinking what next and on complete impulse just left with a couple of friends. Enough is simply Enough! I did not care about the so-called Islamists’ threats of sexual harassment or aggression. I headed out from my place close to the Gezira Club in Zamalek (a supposedly upper-middle class neighborhood) and missed the club ‘chi chi march,’ but joined what I may call the ‘house help march,’ lovely modest Egyptians who were chanting “Erhal, Erhal” (Leave, Leave) and “I am not a sinner, I am not a non-believer, down down with the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule.” I loved the contrast as we marched close to the high brow opera life, that diverse spectrum of people united under a cause, bringing back memories from the last days of the first round of 18 days [in 2011].
As we approached Saad Zaghloul’s square in front of the opera house and onto the Qasr El Nil Bridge, the gateway to Tahrir, we heard chants and drums and saw movie stars and street vendors chanting and literally swaying on anti-Muslim Brotherhood (MB) slogans. The bridge was packed. Packed actually was an understatement. I have not seen this ever before, and the remarkable thing is that this was also happening in ALL squares in Egypt. Upper Egypt who were 70% and 80% pro-MB (assuming elections were not rigged) has never marched against them, but now they did. I felt this passionate vibe, far from venomous but of determination that we are simply civil, NOT extremist lying and cheating mutants like what the Islamist want us to be. Around 17-33 million people were chanting against the MB.
For the past year, we have seen no vision, strategy nor capability of the current government to say the least. 25% of Egyptians are under the extreme poverty line and 40% are below the poverty line of $2/a day per person. Unemployment is soaring, macroeconomic growth indicators are down the drain, and we are running on loans, massive loans. People have no gas, no electricity and soon enough no water. The MB have one goal, to control, and the last thing they care about is our country. They have no national interest at heart, they only trust their people and trust is used lightly here. None of the massacres that everyone thinks they were after have been dealt with. 444 martyrs in one year in clashes and incidents and more than 4000 political activists detainees, a baked embarrassment of a constitution with absolute powers to an incompetent rather criminal president who calls both non-MB members pagans, Muslims and Christians alike. He unleashes his mediocre TV sheikhs, at best third-rate evangelists, to pass religious fatwas that endorse his credibility and fuel hate, religious strife and rivalries. He attacks and tried to break down all institutions in the country including the judiciary, which on the whole has been the least corrupt and most professional of all.
Tamarod…the rebellion youth movement has restored my faith in the revolution and how great our nation is. They have been so creative, basing their campaign three months ago on what Egyptians have, the collective peaceful resistance elements. “If my neighbors sign I will and as long as it is a piece of paper who cares,” and timed it so well, as we have reached our end with this fascist regime of the MB. Egyptian youth under 35 make up more than 60% of the country, the MB has put them down, stole their dreams and underestimated their organizational powers. They thought that the MB youth were the only ones capable of proper mobilization and they adopted a snow-ball approach coordinating with different forces and institutions on the security side to make this work nation-wide. I think the army was so clever to be on board, as the police was. THIS is their chance not only to restore confidence and credibility, but to gain back their powers. The Sinai and our national security is in danger, as the MB provided political cover to jihadist and Hamas elements due to their MB links and trade. Incidents such as the kidnapping of the border soldiers and those who died last Ramadan were definitely triggered to strain relations between Mursi and the military. As much as it is a power struggle, I do hope the people end up on the winning side this time. I am against military rule, but I am also pragmatic, as I know for a fact the army has the power to protect and they at least are nationalistic and patriotic but we need certain democratic guarantees affirming a just democratic constitution and a good coalition government. Then maybe a presidential election based on that new fair constitution would at least safeguard our country.
They will definitely retaliate with their allies the jihadis, and of course, with the US support only God knows what will happen. Then again, the US may change its mind and the tone has definitely changed over these past two days, so who knows, we will see. God bless and save our Egypt.
I am off to Etehadeya now…” [area in which the Presidential Palace is located]