Tuesday, August 02, 2005
As I watched in horror how brave protesters, who were protesting against Mubarak's fifth term, were beaten and crushed by government affiliated security personnel and thugs, I found myself asking this question: why didn't we see huge anti-terrorist protests following the Sharm terrorist attacks? Why didn't we see something similar to what happened in the US, Spain, and London? People in those countries united together in mass protests and vigils just to tell the terrorists "NO". Where were our huge mass protests? Why weren't there any significant anti-terror demonstrations in Cairo? The government didn't allow them; didn't they cancel your own protest? You might say. Well, if an anti-Mubarak protest could be organized last Saturday, then an anti-terror protest could have also been held even without a permit.
Frankly speaking, I wasn't expecting the government to organize a massive anti-terror protest following the Sharm bombing. The one in Sharm was organized by those poor employees who were badly affected and their Western tourists friends. I didn't expect the government to mobilize the grieving Egyptian public simply because Egyptians are dying everyday whether in filthy public sector hospitals or from the contaminated water that the rural village gets. The "Egyptian Person" is so cheap to those who are ruling us. This is the reason why I was expecting the opposition to use its "demonstration skills" and organize an anti-terror protest for the sake of the very Egyptians they claim they care about and want to save from "dictatorship" and "oppression". I expected the wrong thing.
The mood within the opposition was something like this "ummmm, aaaaah, we condemn the terrorist bombings, yet we will not use our "demonstration skills" in staging a massive anti-terror protest lest we side with the government and allow Mubarak to score some points out of it." That reminded me with what happened on the stairs of the US congress hours after 911. The staunchest anti-Bush congress members stood side by side with their fellow staunch pro-Bush congress members and sang "God Bless America". The anti-Bush folks didn't mind if President Bush will "benefit" from the terrorist attacks, all what they cared about was telling the terrorists "NO". Bush's approval ratings did surpass 90% and his opposition went back to business as usual. But when terrorists hit and kill, then it ought not to be business as usual. It is sad that the ones who want to "save us from Mubarak" failed to react appropriately while Egyptian blood was still fresh on Sharm's asphalt.
Leaving the opposition beside, another reason why we haven't witnessed clear demonstrated outrage on the streets of Cairo by our "intellectuals", "media pundits", and "religious big mouths" is what I call Atmosphere of Justifying Terror, AJT. Terror happens because of poverty, oppression, Mubarak's dictatorship, America, Israel, Namibia, Mozambique, excuses, excuses, excuses. We hear only excuses. We hear only diluted condemnations, "ummm, we condemns the bombings BUT it is America, the Jews, Iraq, Palestine, etc, etc." Terrorists are murdering everywhere from London to Bali and all what we get are those excuses from our "brainy people". As long as there is this diluted condemnation, the "NO" message coming out of the Arab/Muslim world will never reach the terrorists.
I sensed a lot of grief and puzzlement from fellow Egyptians after the bombings. I witnessed how people positively reacted to the small short anti-terror protest we had on this bridge over the Nile. It is sad that those who are hiding in the caves of Afghanistan/Pakistan didn't hear it out loud.