When the Going Gets Tough…

Defiance Day.., the 18th day of protest, the day on which Mubarak resigns 11 Feb 2011

When the Going Gets Tough…

By Hwaa Irfan

Abusive, aggressive emotions can fill the air clouding all judgment especially if one has a differing picture of reality.  It is at times like those when one knows that one is not valued for what one is, but must bow to a prevailing notion, no matter how off the track that notion is.

As the wind of change is blowing across the North African continent and maybe the Middle East, and empowered spirits grace the air, the devil still remains to be in the details.

The lotus rises from the mud as the diamond dawns from the coal, requiring the elements that sustain it to nourish it in recognition of its true essence.  When a generally obedient and patient people rise to look at the sky, it is usually with much justification after years of remaining in the mud, but self interest is a dangerous bedfellow when it comes to external forces that would pluck the lotus from its nurturing ground and play with it until it no longer remembers what it is.

After 18 Days of Protest

Removed from that thought is the life that has been brought back to Cairo.  The Egyptian youth (a Muslimah) who tried to convince a Christian woman of her mother’s age as to why the revolution matters as the asks the question why, and what for. The girl could only answer it is a chance to live as you want, not being aware that the Christian woman dressed in black slacks, a top, and a jacket with a briefcase, and hair cut short to the Western feminist style had already worked out what she wants as she stood in a male posture – the open conversation that ensued between the same Christian woman who had listened with interest, and another young Muslimah of a different opinion, and two elder Muslimahs. It was beautiful to see strangers communicating  so willingly given the wall of polite silence following the Alexandria bombing between Christians and Muslims. People are talking everywhere, the generation gap dissolved, men and men, women and women, youth and their elders talking with purpose, with discovery, with understanding, sharing, and learning.  No longer it seems that people remained in their own little stressful world, but still has the male youth who was vocally fervent on the underground in Tahrir  (Liberation) Square, a crowded platform waited and stood in their own little worlds, creating an invisible barrier between him and them. They probably had not seen such passion belch from the hoarse voice of one of their own, and were silently wandering if he was alright. These silent walls only serve to recreate the self oppression that comes with maintaining the status quo: unwilling/frightened to change, to listen, to share, to understand, to see, to exploit, manipulate, and enforce the illusion of control. One can only pray that they recognize, cherish and nurture what has been breathed into by their own. For whatever tomorrow is, they will need it to face the challenges together including those who have known nothing but what the previous regime provided for them regardless of others.

… the Tough Get Going

And as they move through these undercurrents life may be in the offing for Palestinians as Prime Minister Salam Fayyad takes a leaf from former President Hosni Mubarak. Currently this does not seem to include President Mahmoud Abbas (un-elected by the people)  with elections scheduled for September as is the case with Egypt. Even though the only legitimacy Abbas has is from external forces, it is a chance to let the real voice of the people be heard as long as they are not terrorized into submission by Abbas and his foreign allies.

However with the current military rule in Egypt, a few concerns are expressed by those who want the full potential of the people’s revolution to come to fruition. On Sunday 13th Feb 2011, the 5th Communique by the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces was made concerning the suspension of the Constitution, and it includes:

  • Suspension of the constitution.
  • The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will run the country for an approximate six-month period until democratic elections that would bring a new civilian government to power are held.
  • The head of the council shall represent the council both internally and externally.
  • The parliament and Shura Council will be dissolved.
  • The council will issue laws and decrees during the transitional period
  • A committee will be created to amend the constitution.
  • The current government will be allowed to continue until a new government is formed.
  • New presidential elections, as well as elections for the parliament and Shura Council, will be conducted.
  • The council will ensure that Egypt commits to all international treaties and agreements.

The Armed Forces gained the trust of the people by protecting them when they needed it most, but note the emboldened directives, and contemplate if there is not a basis for concern, and throughout where is there mention of the people, or is this a foregone conclusion.

After two days of celebration, the protestors leave Tahrir Square, some of whom have camped out since January 25th 2011. Even the Cairo police have been protesting for their rights, which given their maltreatment of the people they are supposed to serve (at least that is what the SMS said on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior), have they earned those rights, and in the long run, will the current state of affairs lead to honoring what over 300 martyrs died from? While the January 25th protestors are being proactive in helping to lay the foundation at community and a political level, one prays that they are able to galvanize the internal forces that only see in the moment, those that seek only their interests, and those who are completely afraid of their own self worth.


Bowen, J. Thousands of Protesters Leave Egypt’s Tahrir Square.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12445192

“Egypt Supreme Military Council Dissolves Parliament…” http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/5523.aspx

“Palestinian Cabinet to Resign as Part of Reshuffle.”  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12445001

Shukrallah, S.  “Egyptian Police Protest Demanding Their Rights.”  http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/5510/Egypt/Politics-/Egyptian-police-protest-demanding-their-rights.aspx

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