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.
A disappointed Egyptian citizen