Morsy 3al Korsy?

I’m not happy, I’m not celebrating, and I can’t find it in me to say “Mabrouk ya Masr.” The official results still haven’t been released and I’m waiting for that, “Surprise, Shafik won!” from SCAF. Tell me I’m wrong and that Morsy is our new president. Still, is that really something worthy of celebration? So now we have a President who most of us didn’t want but we’re happy because he beat the guy we hated more. But now we have a President who has no power to do anything real for the country. We have a President who is a puppet and just someone for the SCAF to attempt to lay the blame on. I don’t see any reason to celebrate just yet…

I’m betting on the streets to bring us what we revolted for and to bring some relief to the families of the martyrs. I’m betting on the streets to really finish this off.

A Damaged Generation?

More than once I’ve heard and probably agreed with the statement that we’re all a “damaged generation,” traumatized, broken. Being abroad, maybe I’m half damaged then? I didn’t get to live through the infamous tear gas high or rubber bullet rain. I watched it from afar- laptop always on the livestream of Tahrir and phone on Twitter. I’d watch stunned when the screen would go white because all you see is smoke and all you hear are bullets. The guy livestreaming would start to shake, cough, and then run.

So I never got to experience all of this first hand but as a generation, our days were filled with blood. Tear gas and blood. And martyrs. Before sleeping, you’d tweet asking someone to alert you if a disaster happened, you’d pray that you wouldn’t wake up to new martyrs and new blood spilled. Before leaving to Tahrir, you’d tweet and after getting home you’d tweet- not out of silliness but because the mantra was “I tweet, therefore I am alive”- literally. All our jokes are about Parliament, SCAF, and the ex-regime. Many of us lost friends, lost jobs, fell behind in our studies because of the sole dedication to the single cause that now matters.

I don’t think we’re really damaged; I think we’re stronger. The people on the ground much more than myself for sure but I really believe that the damage is what makes us so much stronger than we realize. You lose friends, you gain much stronger and greater hearts in your life; you suffer pain, undoubtedly it will heal one day. We’re the generation of revolutions- the different kind of generation.

3:45 AM

3:45 AM and I’m up. I’m not sure why. But I’m up. It’s quiet and the only sound I can hear is the sound of my keyboard. Tabs open: Facebook, Twitter, NY Times. Facebook is lame. My timeline isn’t moving, seems everyone’s asleep, and the NY Times, well, I’m temporarily sick of reading news. So why am I up? Still not sure. Possibly part of it is this bliss. This beautiful quiet that I rarely get to live through. The real world is quiet. The cyber world is quiet. A new tweet appears every minute. No political discussions or complaints. No life problems. It’s 3:49 AM now and it’s beautiful and quiet.

We Will Not Be Silenced

Dear Mr.Consul,

I am an Egyptian citizen living in New York City. I am proud to say that I fully support the Egyptian Revolution and will support it until the last day. In the past few days, my brothers and sisters in Tahrir have been brutally attacked by their own army, the army that should be protecting them. Peaceful protestors were killed, beaten, detained, and sexually assaulted. Because I am thousands of miles away and cannot physically be with them, I stand in solidarity with them in New York and I’m sure you’re aware that there were Egyptians as well as Americans outside the Consulate on Wednesday as well as in November during the massacre in Mohamed Mahmoud Street.

Every time we stood out there chanting in support for our brothers, we were ignored by all of you at the Consulate. Not once did someone come down and ask us what we were doing or why we were there everyday. No one acknowledged our presence and as our voices got louder, some chants aimed at you Sir specifically and we asked, “Consul, where are you? Are you with us or what?” We ask again, are you with us or what? Is the Consulate ever going to take a stand against what has been happening in Egypt from beatings to assaults and killings? Instead of wondering what the Consulate’s position was, two friends and I, decided to find out. Wednesday we went up to the Consulate and asked to speak to someone. We were greeted by someone who told us he was a security guard and after chatting with him for a little bit, we decided we would come back the next day during working hours. And we did.

Today my friend Michelle and I went to the Consulate, greeted again by the same man who greeted us yesterday. We went up to the window, were asked by a woman what exactly it was we needed. Our reply was simple, we would like to speak to someone in charge; Consul, Ambassador, whoever is available to talk to us. She handed me a piece of paper and asked that I write my name and what organization I was a part of. Name: Nada Elmansy. Organization: Egyptians. I handed her back the paper and told her I’m not part of any organization, and I’m here as just an Egyptian citizen. We went and sat down, waited for a few minutes and then an Asian women came out, called my name and again asked me what I wanted to say to you and why I wanted to meet either the Consulate or Ambassador. I made the mistake of not asking her who exactly she was and I was in fact hesitant to answer her. My initial reply was “I just want to talk to someone,” but she insisted, claiming that she needed to know in case I had something random to talk to you about, as if I was going to ask you about the latest Egyptian movies you’ve seen. Anyway, I told her that we have been protesting downstairs because of the massacre in Egypt and that we needed to know what the Consulate’s position is since they do represent us as Egyptians in New York. She wrote down what I said, went back inside and came out for a second time 5 minutes later with a piece of paper with the numbers of the Egyptian Press offices in both DC and NYC, and told us that the Consulate would not be able to comment on what’s happening. So my attempt to talk to someone, an Egyptian who represents me and is in the Consulate to serve me, ended in a reply from someone who wasn’t even Egyptian! You dear sir refused to give us just a few minutes of your time. An Egyptian came to your door and asked to speak to you and was turned down. I did not plan on interviewing you for press, all I expected was a few words from an Egyptian to an Egyptian. I expected much more than I got from my Consul but obviously I was wrong.

We got up to leave but we were stopped by two workers at the Consulate who wanted to know how things went. I told them the message that I would have loved to send to you. As an institution which serves Egyptians in New York, the very least you can do is issue a statement explaining to us what your position is. As an institution, the very least you can do is find out what the protestors outside want, and acknowledge their presence. At a time where people in Egypt are facing brutal treatment from the government, you need to take a stand. Your silence simply means you support SCAF and do not plan on siding with the people. The worker who again, I do not know his name, replied to me by saying that I have to understand that the Consulate serves the government as well as the people. So let me tell you what I forgot to tell him. Any government’s job is to serve its people; if you serve the government and people, at a time when they are in conflict, choosing a side and announcing support is crucial, choosing the people’s side is even more crucial.

I do not care what your personal stance on SCAF is but I do care about the Consulate announcing its stance, whether to side with the peaceful protestors and condemn SCAF’s actions or to do what SCAF’s been doing and blame it on foreign hands. I am disappointed that you did not see my friend and I, a concerned Egyptian and American, as two people who deserved a few minutes of your time. I am an Egyptian citizen and when I walk into my consulate with the simple request of speaking to someone, I expect that I will be able to speak to an Egyptian and not some woman who I still don’t know exactly who she is. And just as my friend Michelle told the workers at the front desk, I’ll also tell you that we will be back; this is a persistent and determined generation that will not stand and watch its people being stepped on and do nothing. This is a generation that refuses to be silenced, from Tahrir to New York, we will not be silenced.

A final reminder, the blood of our martyrs still hasn’t dried and when SCAF falls, and they will, we will remember your silence along with everyone else who watched and said nothing.

-Nada Elmansy

A disappointed Egyptian citizen

In Solidarity With Egypt

Today there was a protest in front of the Egyptian Consulate in New York City in solidarity with the revolutionaries in Egypt. I got there and right away noticed the small number of people, maybe 40 people max after an hour into the protest. The bigger disappointment was the very few Egyptians that showed up; we were probably 10-15 of us. To all the Americans that showed up today to stand in solidarity, your support is always greatly appreciated. To all the Egyptians who neglected to show up however, what is your excuse? What’s your reason for not showing up to stand in support with your brothers and sisters in Tahrir and to speak out against the brutality they face from SCAF? What’s your excuse for letting your brothers face bullets while you’re home?? Today was rainy..that was it. We deal with water and they deal with bullets. Honestly, I’m simply ashamed and disappointed.To make things clear, if you only remember your country during the summer when you go visit or during soccer games, then you simply don’t deserve to be called an Egyptian. Let’s get back to the protest then..

So I got there at around 3pm, about an hour into the protest. Just a normal protest, Arabic as well as English chants, signs, and a small but vocal crowd. As we chanted, we noticed a man in a suit standing on the steps of the Consulate building and snapping pictures. Of course with everything happening, our first guess was that he was someone from the Consulate recording and getting our pictures to send back home; maybe we were wanted? We decided to go and talk to him. He told us that yes, he was from the Consulate but that he was simply monitoring elections and that he was on our side. He said what SCAF was doing was unacceptable and he was only taking pictures to show people in Egypt that there were people thousands of miles away standing with them. We asked him to a deliver a message to those upstairs that they need to take a stand on the situation in Egypt and either side with the people or admit that they are on the side of SCAF, because simply put, their silence makes them responsible for the criminal acts as well and their refusal to take a stance disappoints us. We went on to tell him that when the regime falls, which it will, if they don’t take a stance, they’ll go down too. He simply shrugged and said that we have to realize they can’t come out and say that and that their position was ‘sensitive.’ So fine, sensitive it is then.

Turning back to our protest, everyone is gathered around this girl who was wearing a blue bra, jeans, and a veil. Yes, you see where this is going. Offensive and ridiculous. For one thing, as Egyptians, we refuse to reduce the hero of a woman, who was stripped and dragged on the street, to her blue bra. She is not the ‘blue bra girl.’ She is each and every Egyptian woman and man faced with brutality from the regime. Also, this woman was stripped, clothes taken off of her against her will and what we had at the protest was a street theater, something I, as well as others felt served no purpose but to catch the attention of cameras. After telling her that we felt what she was doing was disrespectful, she simply replied that this was how she wanted to express herself. So again, fine. I don’t waste writing space on people who don’t care to listen to what others say.

Pic of woman: http://yfrog.com/obbvyxsj

Later on, we decided that no, enough was enough and we shouldn’t be standing in front of the Consulate everyday to chant to ourselves without any of the people in the Consulate ever acknowledging our presence. Two of my fellow protestors and friends, (@Salmanella and @michellejbalon) and I decided we were going to go up to the Consulate and ask to speak to someone. All we wanted to do is talk and find out what they’re thinking. We went up to the door, knocked, rang the bell a few times but no one would open, although we could hear them inside (Micha’s ear was on the door lol). Finally someone opened up said he was security and that everyone inside was busy counting votes and we would have to come back during working hours. We insisted, asked him to relay a message for us, he went back in, came out after 5 minutes asking us to write what we want and bring it in but instead, we told him we would be back tomorrow during working hours to speak to the Consul. And we will be back.

The rest of the time was spent chanting again and there you have a quick summary of the solidarity protest. In the end, we just want our brothers and sisters to know that we stand with them and support them in their demands. We wish we were there fighting along side them but since we can’t, we stand in solidarity thousands of miles away. Stay strong, We WILL win.
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Petition: Demand Egyptian Consulate in NY Issue Official Statement Condemning SCAF

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/demand-egyptian-consulate-in-ny-issue-official/

Photos from the protest taken by the lovely Micha (@michellejbalon)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/72589065@N07/sets/72157628520095989/

An Angry Optimist

I write this post as a very angry but optimistic human being. For a while now, a big part of my life has been consumed with “politics.” I’ve been staying up until the sun rises to keep up with news, read blogs, and sometimes just write. I’ve never felt like I was doing much to change anything and I still don’t think I’m doing anything compared to the people I admire, those invisible heroes no one ever acknowledges. For me, it’s not about the politics and never will be. It’s about a bigger thing than that, a human issue and the concern that some people are truly sentenced to death before they get a chance at a real life. I watch what’s happening in Syria, Yemen, Egypt and I can’t help but feel like I am total uselessness to the world. I realize that my world is miles and miles away from the worlds of those people I cry about. I’m in a world where the biggest concerns are who is marrying who and who broke up with who and what the latest movies are. Occasionally, someone will show some concern for bigger things but regardless, I don’t feel like I’m in a place where I can do anything.

I have people in my life who mean the world and more to me, people I know I can’t ever live without. From parents to siblings to best friends, I know how lucky I am. I know that there are others in the world who don’t have parents or lose a friend to a bullet everyday. I know there are people who lived and died under a dictatorship, who all their lives walked with their heads down, their mouths shut, scared to speak up, and when they finally did, they were killed. And every night before I sleep, my mind wanders off to those people and to the 12,000 military prisoners in Egypt and I imagine how their families must be feeling. The young men who have been sentenced to years, a sentence that doesn’t just keep them away from their loved ones, but puts their whole lives on hold. What about their simple dreams and hopes of graduating college, getting a decent job and one day having their own families? What about the ones that already have their own families and what about the idea that somewhere, there’s a wife or a child or a mother who can’t sleep because a husband or father or son is jailed?

When Khaled Alaa Abdelfattah was born, I know some people were annoyed at the hype. Why make such a big deal about this one child that was born with his dad in jail, when there are thousands of children everyday who have to go through the same thing? I will admit that when I saw baby Khaled’s picture, I smiled like the world was a happy place again, not because he’s Alaa’s son but because a new hope’s been born. Just like Khaled was born, there are other babies born everyday at the same time that innocent men are jailed, and brave women are beaten by police. Khaled for me represents all those babies and all of those new hopes that come into the world everyday.

So when things go wrong again and oh yes, I’m sure they will, we will have a stronger generation to face them. The generation of the January 25th Revolution believe that we’ll be the ones to change the world, and it’s possible but if not, then we can at least be comforted with the idea that the new generations will complete the journey for us. Maybe they’ll be lucky enough to live in a world where people aren’t jailed for their opinions, or killed for speaking out. And I can’t predict what will happen in the near future, but no matter how bad it gets, I think I’ll stay optimistic simply for those that have seen worse, simply because we’ve already seen how bad things can get and I don’t think they can get much worse.

Islamist Hysteria?

I thought it would be better for me to stay away from talking about the Egyptian elections, especially since I believe that any election under the rule of the bloody Supreme Council of Armed Forces is a scam. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like I can avoid it. Everywhere, the only thing on the minds of Egyptians is the fact that it seems the Freedom and Justice Party (Muslim Brotherhood) and the Nour Party (Salafi) are going to win a majority of parliamentary seats. Before I give you my humble opinion, I’d like to make it clear that I do not support either party and in fact, feel that they exploit religion for their party’s benefit. Although the Nour Party disturbs me more than the Freedom and Justice Party does, the MB has proven time and time again that it only cares about holding some sort of power in government, regardless of the costs.

Yet, what’s up with the hysteria everywhere? People wondering if they should start immigrating, girls questioning whether they’re going to be forced into wearing the hijab, and just what seems to be not Islamophobia but Islamistophobia, if that makes any sense. Reality check for everyone who thinks the Islamists are going to turn Egypt into another Saudi Arabia..No, they won’t. It’s true some of them might want to do that but it just won’t happen. Simply playing politics, the Brotherhood is much smarter than to risk that kind of disaster, whether we give them credit or not. And remember again that the Islamists might end up with a majority of the seats but they won’t be the only power in Parliament.

In the end, put your fears aside, and prepare for what’s next because it’ll only get harder. The people voted these powers in and all we can do now is see what they end up doing for our country. In the case that they are totally incompetent, the only option is to hope the people of Egypt learn from the experience and vote them out just like they voted them in. Let us remember that the American people voted the idiot and mass murderer George W.Bush into power not once, but twice. And these are the downfalls to democracy ladies and gentlemen. :)

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