In this second part of the 3-part interview series with one of the 15 founders of Tamarod, the founder speaks of the movements aspirations for the future of Egypt and also their views on the current developments within the country. Despite explicit mention of the movements support for the army, the movement is sufficiently aligned with the military. Tamarod- a youth led movement was pivotal in the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president. Part 1 of the series contains background information about the movement.
I waited almost 2 hours before I saw some sign of support for Sisi’s call. Tahrir was pretty empty compared to June 30 and July 3rd. I began to wonder if people would even show. But the sun got unbearable and I decided to return home and watch the news and I was shocked to see my TV screen filled with people less than 10 mins after I had left an almost empty Tahrir. What would you call this Sisi propoganda or Media magic? For one thing it did bring to light the power of media and those who don’t visit Tahrir, who else do they have to trust?
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Yesterday, I was determined to record the views of those Egyptians who have been ignored by the mainstream media. It is as if they had been dropped off the planet by Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces; but their numbers are not insignificant to be ignored, neither is their voice muted.
On the way to Nasr City where the pro-Morsi crowds were gathered, I stopped at a burrito place near my residence. Since I was the only customer, I struck a conversation with the server, Salah Shaban. I was surprised at his openness to speak with me in near perfect English knowing I was a journalist.
“I am not for or against the Ikhwaan, but I am a supporter of Morsi because I have seen things with my own eyes about how he has been framed. He is a good man and has been wronged.”
Salah lives near the venue of the deadly shootings outside the Republican Guard officer’s club. He also witnessed the violence a couple of nights ago on October Bridge, where pro-and anti-Morsi protesters clashed. But he has a different story to share.
“I usually finish my shift at 7 pm. I have to take the October Bridge to go home. I saw with my own eyes that the criminals had a gun and in order to defend themselves the Ikhwaan protesters shot at him and killed him.”
Salah and many here believe that the police and army are responsible for releasing criminals from prisons and arming them with weapons so they can create a rift and turn people against Morsi. It is commonplace for people to identify any thug as a member of the Ikhwaan or as a supporter.
He believes that the army will eventually isolate its supporters and the morning’s massacre in which 52 people were killed and hundreds seriously injured, was just the beginning of the great fall. “Next election, I am sure Morsi will win again,” he asserted. Time and future events will either confirm or break his belief.
On the flip side, there are others who claim that the Ikhwaan were never part of Egypt.
“They should be thrown away,” says one of my colleagues, but her view is not hers alone. She was echoing the voice of many who like her celebrated in Tahrir Square when Morsi was ousted on July 3rd.
Politics is a dirty game and it becomes more contaminated during revolutions. Indeed the more research I do and the more I talk to people, I have realized that there is so much more to this story than just what we hear on the media or what either side claims to be true. There is no shortage of conspiracies. In fact the items in short supply are unity and the truth. There are 4 sides to the Egyptian story- the Military, the media, the pro-Morsi and the anti-Morsi. Only two of these have the upper hand and we don’t need complex decoders to know which ones.
The interim president has announced that elections will be held early 2014. I argue that it is too far along. Matters could escalate beyond control. It is usually argued that an early election can solve most conflicts. But wait, this is Egypt; an election further compliated issues. And what would happen if the Egyptians don’t like their next elected leader either? Stage a repeat of Tahrir? We could laugh about this all we want, but it is not really funny!
On this note, Ramadan Kareem to everyone. Hope this will be a peaceful holy month for Egyptians and those celebrating around the world.