Funny how places take on so much meaning. First, something happens there. Then, the place itself happens. All you have to do is mention its name, and it fills with meanings, memories, desires. Thank God for places. Imagine what it would be to live in a world without them, a world without places.
It's not inappropriate to invoke God in this context.
We heard the faint ringing of gunshots from Mohammed Mahmoud street, and the panicking sound of stampeding feet, as we stood safely in Tahrir square.
We knew that those on the front lines were the ones putting their lives at risk to protect protesters and curious onlookers occupying the square. As we breathed in wisps of teargas at the field hospital, we saw a steady stream of wounded coming in from side streets where clashes still raged.
Sometimes, you hear a phrase or a word and it stays with you throughout your whole life. Lines of songs, fragments of poems, have this quality. They may lay out paths through your life and guide you while walking through it without your being aware.
If there's something to learn from our transitional period it's that F. A. Hayek, a central economist from the Austrian School of Economics, was wrong.
What Hayek advocated was the weakening of central governments regarding economics, and freedom of the markets to do what they will without regulation. In other words, if people take loans they can't handle, if asset values are going to plummet; and if the market is in a recession, governments do nothing.
I recently lost my driver's license, so I figured it shouldn't be so hard to get a new one, since I have a xeroxed copy of my original.
Oh how wrong I was. I had to go to the moroor (DMV I guess) and stand in a cluster that should have been a line. A woman was sitting in front a shut down stone age HP, the likes of which you haven't seen since floppy disks were new and the bigger hard drives carried 512MB.
The trial of Khaled Said's killers last Thursday, where they received seven years of maximum security imprisonment, only served to reaffirm what many Egyptians already know: the system is flawed beyond reform.
The argument presented is that seven years is the maximum sentence possible considering the charges.
However, if it weren't for a corrupt prosecutor general and interior ministry, the officers charged with killing Said would have been charged with murder through torture, something in accordance with international anti-torture legislation Egypt is signatory to.
On December 10th of last year, 29 years old Leonid Elenin, an amateur astronomer in Lyubertsy, Russia spotted what appeared to be an unfamiliar star in our celestial neighborhood. Interestingly, Leonid did not have a telescope, was not in a local observatory, and it was not even night time in Lyubertsy! He was remotely operating a telescope 9380 kilometer away in Mayhill, New Mexico, U.S.
A few days ago, I went with a friend to listen to some famous musicians. After the concert was over, I asked him, if he had liked it, and he replied: "The group that accompanied the singer was quite good, but I didn't like him because his singing didn't go further than his throat."
"No further than his throat"? Something made the sounds stick there and prevented the whole body from singing?
When was anyone ever interested in Egyptian politics before the revolution? It was so predictable, so fraudulent, and so incredibly untrue. The very few who joined protests were blacklisted and frequently jailed. The general population was simply looking out for its livelihood.
Then something happened. They realized that they could change things, that the power was in their hands. And by February 11th 2011, far more Egyptians were participating to demolish the stigma. People were cleaning the streets, parties were starting to form, demonstrations were well organized and non-violent.
I would like to say a few words in praise of insignificance. I know, it's not popular and it's not easy. Not popular because we are constantly asked, trained, or even forced to pay attention to „what is significant." So many things are crying: "Look here! Look at me!
Their children walk kilometers to decrepit schools, their water is unclean, and ironically cooking gas is hard to come by. Others might have disappeared, but the people of North Sinai have outlasted even old Mubarak. After fighting deadly battles with his police they're asking, "Where is our revolution, where is the change?"
A tank now sits in the driveway of the private Sinai University and at every major intersection in El Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah.
I'm not voting in the upcoming parliamentary elections. There I said it. As it currently stands neither I nor anyone else should vote in this election. Why should I vote for any of these would-be rulers? Well, here are a few reasons why anyone shouldn't.
Personally, I'm sick of the platitudes all these parties are telling us such as: "vote for me because I believe we should all be good Muslims", or "vote for me so I can protect our freedoms"; and the list goes on and on.
We are all aware that we are living in a period of great historical change. Whether one likes it or not, the world is changing and shedding old ideas making place for new ones. What matters is that this period of our national history highlights the beliefs that we may have all held within ourselves but never found the outlet to articulate.
Then there is something wrong with the system. We need to understand what the system is in order to cure the illnesses it contains.
Plato compared the soul to a musical instrument, more precisely, to a string instrument. All you guitar- or oud-players know: you pluck a string and it causes other strings to resonate. Plus, there are many tones that sound with the tone of the resonating string. These are called overtones. Overtones are difficult to locate. They are not really "behind" and not really "in front," nor "over." Nor "under"the dominant tone.
If no one else will say it I will. The revolution in Egypt, although unique in Egyptian history, is one of many fantastic demonstrations of human courage in the face of oppression. Each one underwent a unique experience, however, they all share a common "base". I hope to explore other revolutions then compare and contrast them.
In recent news, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi testified at the most exciting trial in Egypt's history, since Hesham Talaat Mostafa. The testimony seemed like it would not take place as through out the past few weeks. Tantawi failed to appear on September 11th and attempted to submit a written testimony instead. Unlike the previous sessions that were held in August, this session was not televised or open to the public. This could prove to be a potentially lose lose situation as both the public and Mubarak could suffer from this.
A day none would want to relive, when piercing cries replaced chants demanding change, state-owned vehicles interrupted a peaceful march by running down protesters, blood painted the streets as security forces left morgues overflowing with dozens of dead bodies.
With the October 9 massacre, we have taken a leap back in time to the violent days of the January 25 uprising. The uncanny similarity between now and then forces Egyptians to face how far the nation has derailed from the promise of a new chapter.
As we have entered the period of post-revolutionary politics, one debate has become center-stage, the battle between secularism vs. theocracy. While this is certainly an important battle I feel another element has become moot, the battle between big government vs. libertarian idealism.
Maybe the analysis of our government policy has been fundamentally wrong. Rather than focus on the fact that the people in government were fundamentally flawed, it is possible that the design and stated objectives of the state were the cause of our current economic, political and social woes.