As I was sitting the “PUBLISH” button on yesterday’s blog post about the largest political demonstration in human history, General El Sisi was coming on TVs across the nation. His message: Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) have exactly 48 hours to respond to the demands of the people or else there will be military intervention.
When I was speaking to someone writing for CNN last week, I honestly said that I didn’t think the Egyptian people would take down Morsi and the MB. I said that there might be major shifts of power on lower levels, but not the entire theocracy. Well, June 30 thru July 3 may prove me wrong.
Now remember that the military are the ones who took over when Mubarak was ousted. And the military (SCAF) were the ones responsible for the atrocities at Maspero, Mohamed Mahmoud Street, etc. Blood is truly on their hands. People say that the Tamarod campaigners were used, a tool for the military to stage a soft coup.
But the SCAF is not the entire military, and El Sisi is not Tantawi. And maybe there’s a little inch of hope that the “road map” El Sisi spoke of will be one of progress, civil rights, diversity and equality, minority protections, balance of power, a real constitution, healthy political party formation, professional development for potential candidates of all ages and genders and religions, citizenship education initiatives, security, freedom of the press, and THEN fair elections.
Venturing out for a sandwich last night, I saw Cairo was electric! So happy. Imagine your city winning the World Series, World Cup and Stanley Cup all on the same day. There is even a Morsi Timer countdown. I was initially hesitant to join the community dance party on my street, afraid there would be sexual harassment. Some of the guys seemed to be giving me the eye. But no, they were great. I had some great conversations with strangers and even exchanged numbers with two people.
- Imagine members of a community setting up speakers in the middle of a six-lane street in order to prep for an impromptu street party.
- Imagine a line of men standing on motorcycles in the road, creating ‘flag bridges’ for cars to pass through.
- Imagine the incessant and loud honking.
- Imagine a long line of veiled women on the side of the street clapping.
- Imagine passing motorcyclists nearly crashing but then just stopping, laughing and sharing a hug.
- Imagine the couple next to me telling me that they brought their newborn daughter to the street party because they wanted her first word to be freedom.
- Imagine military helicopters flying over the city with large Egyptian flags and people cheering them from below.
- Imagine that the people celebrating the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt range from young dudes in bright orange shorts to women in full niqabs.
- Imagine that the people celebrating the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt range from street kids with no shoes to a young gal in a sequined ”Eye of the Tiger” top and high heels.
- Imagine an older woman ceremoniously draping each passing car with her flag, sort of a cross between a carwash and a knighting ceremony. She did this for hours.
- Imagine an open jeep packed with powerful, bold, independent and sexy Egyptian women wearing black and waving massive flags and catching the jealousy of every guy standing there.
- Imagine small boys riding on the backdoor ladder of a mini van, waving as the vehicle goes top speed down the highway.
- Imagine a performance where live streaming images from Egypt are being projected onto dancers in New York City. (Collaboration by Ximena Borges, Sarah Cameron Sunde and Dalia Basiouny for CultureHub)
- Imagine a two-year-old girl in a pink halter top at the street party last night giving me the peace sign.
- Imagine an all-out dance party erupting every time a police vehicle came by.
- Imagine one woman, veiled in red and black, whom I had met at the beginning of the party and had exchanged numbers with, calling me later because she didn’t see me there anymore and wanted to make sure I got home safe. So happy I didn’t heed the U.S. Embassy’s warning to avoid crowds, especially alone. If you fear the world and stay in your apartment, you will miss out on what this world has to offer. Egyptians are amazing.
I don’t know how the Egyptians do it. A revolution seems like a second job. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially exhausting. I cannot imagine being in this state for two and a half years. And then also witnessing the death of a friend or family member by your side. Or taking a couple bullets yourself to the leg or the eye. These are all-too-common stories, widespread trauma. My close friends included. These revolutionaries say they are now starting back at zero. See you on the 3rd or 4th of July. Happy? Independence?