Since I’ve come to Egypt the first time, I kept on asking myself and Egyptians: why don’t you stand up? Why don’t you fight for your rights? Don’t you have an opposition underground or abroad who is able to organize an uprising?
The answer was always almost the same: no – we have the Muslim brothers – Mubarak controls everything – we are patient. To talk aloud about ex-President Mubarak was dangerous: my interlocutor’s eyes would anxiously look around and only whisper. 30 years of dictatorship, 60 years of military junta combined with oppression, intimidation and poverty have scotched all political aspirations.
How very different the situation looks like now! It seems as if the revolution begun in January is finally going to be completed. The demands are formed much more precisely; activists, groups and political parties have learned their lessons and have become mature. There are three different demonstrations today in Cairo: one against the SCAF, then the Muslim brothers demonstrate rather unnoticed, and finally there is a group called “silent majority” that is pro-SCAF (and also pro-Mubarak and the old regime).
I don’t know how big this „silent majority“ is. One of my acquaintances belongs to them and we’ve discussed and argued countless hours and I shed tears about his unspeakably complicated arguments. Those people clutch to a past that does not exist anymore and whose expiry date has long ago been exceeded. In those days, there used to be “security” (since the police could be seen at each corner!), every day “dad Mubarak” spoke from state television to them and “mum Suzanne” provided for her “children” with charitable work. The results of the elections were foreseeable: no change for 30 years. Poverty, corruption, dictatorship, torture, censorship, oppression, arbitrariness and other crimes against humanity were ignored. Exactly in the same way, those people ignore today’s reality. Who will not understand? They see the police’s and army’s violence. They know that thousands of thugs have been freed by the remnants of the old regime to spread chaos and fear and to attack demonstrators. They read reports about Egypt’s incredible corruption. Nevertheless, they want the old times to come back! Are they in a state of shock? Is it a reflex of defence out of fear of an unknown and scaring future? Someone who has grown up in a liberal environment can’t really understand this. But I also know many Egyptians who don’t.
Yesterday, I was appalled by a statement: on Tahrir square are only Muslim brothers and mindless people without work and nothing else to do. These are state television’s words. However, it is exactly the Muslim brothers who are facing a big problem now because they exactly did not go to Tahrir! Our Arabic teacher’s yesterday’s (political) lesson was fantastic. He concluded that the Muslim brothers had lost a lot of credibility with their decision to stay away from Tahrir.
I want to emphasize that those such statements and views are buzzing across all classes of population. No matter, if educated or not! This is even more appalling to me!
No-one knows how things go on. Allegedly, the elections should start on Monday (in Hurghada as well). The demonstrators are forming their own “salvation government” under the chair of El Baradei and they have rejected the prime minister appointed by the SCAF. The SCAF won’t make further concessions. It’s an impasse – so it seems. Violence is (hopefully) no option any more. Yet, how much time will it take to find a solution or a compromise? In the meantime, the country’s economy continues to decline rapidly…