“We’re Stubborn as Hell”

Note: Eye on the East has the pleasure to post a brief testimony on the ongoing demonstrations in Egypt by Rania, written on July 2, 2013. Rania is an Egyptian humanitarian aid worker, closely and passionately following the developments in her country from wherever her job takes her. [Read “Tahrir: Rebelling with a Cause” for a brief background on the latest demonstrations against President Mohammad Mursi.]

“I’m in Paris actually, but my mind is in Tahrir square of course… Although not as 100% as the first time, I must confess. If only because I’ve become mildly embittered by our (Arabs) utter failure to take a breath, and calmly plan a road map for the future. The first time around, of course it was the exhilarating sense of freedom, and unity that transcended class, religion, ethnicity… but people forget quickly, and the rifts went right back into place. People voted naively for the [Muslim] Brotherhood and it’s absolutely no surprise what happened after. In a way I’ve some “you made your bed now lie in it” sentiments (because I voted for Shafik; or rather I voted AGAINST Mursi), but I had the fortune of having western education so the notion of democracy was clear to me. It’s not just about elections. It’s all those aspects of good governance, transparency, protection of freedoms (mine ends where yours begins) and rights.

My opinion now is that it needs nothing less than a tabula rasa. Make a constitution first, including provisions on conditions for it to be amended, and THEN run elections. Though this time around people may elect more wisely, there is no foundation to build on. People know what they don’t want, but not what they want. It will take time, of course, and there is no one figure leading the way. On a positive note, I’m so proud at the sheer numbers demonstrating and that they refuse to take the Brotherhood’s shit. It’s still a bit early for secularism, but one day… We have many qualities, and one of them is our “dimagh gazma” (mind of a shoe).” We’re stubborn as hell.

Actually, I started writing this message feeling a bit pessimistic. Thanks for initiating this because I’m watching the demonstrations on TV as we speak. “E7na sha3b ghalban” (we are a defeated people) with little other a sense of humor to keep us going, but I’m so bloody proud that people are demanding change. And the laughter isn’t stopping…”

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