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The 6th Stage of grief

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Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem

On a relatively hot summer night, in lieu of nothing,  a bunch of revolutionary friends were discussing the state of gloom that has befallen the majority of the population, and came up with a theory:  We have all gone through the five stages of grief throughout this revolution. The Denial phase started with the first army attack on the square in March; the Anger Phase started at the 8 April attack until Mohamed Mahmoud Clashes in November; the Bargaining Phase started with the parliamentary elections (vote or boycott) until the presidential elections (vote for which loser/boycott/invalidate) and ended with the constitutional declaration; and then the Depression Phase started in earnest. The debate centred on whether we have entered the Acceptance Phase or whether that will happen if the military commits a coup. I stayed out of the debate, since I was already at stage six, and been there for a while: Moving on and enjoying life. How come? Well, weirdly enough, it all started with President Mohamed Morsi.

Inexplicably, I have started to love President Morsi more lately, and I finally figured out why: We are watching a live filming of an Adam Sandler-esque movie starring Mohamed Morsi. Like any of the interchangeable Adam Sandler movies, we have an out-of-his-depth buffoonish character that found himself coincidently in charge of Egypt, alongside his band of misfits. Embarrassing situations galore and hijinks ensue, while the “villainous” Muslim Brotherhood is unable to reach their goals to their utter frustration. If you didn’t watch Adam Sandler movies (and why should you?), think “Ismail Yassin in Itihadiya” or “The Mr Bean Presidency” and you are there. I personally cannot wait for the sequels to this newly-introduced comic legend: The Adventures of Morsi in Space (we will fire him there), and The Adventures of Morsi in the Afterlife (spoiler: Mubarak will still be alive).

It’s a cartoon. We are living in an amusing cartoon. And more than anyone, the Muslim Brothers are cartoonish characters. Look at Essam Al-Erian or Khairat El-Shater or even Beltagy and tell me that they don’t look like cartoon villains. And not only do they look like cartoon villains, they act like cartoon villains and even want to control the world like cartoon villains.

It’s incredibly amusing, because they are operating based upon cartoon logic, and you are not amused because they are sucking you into it. You are concerned about the “Ikhwanisation” of the state, while forgetting that it’s a mirage state, and one that failed the older and stronger Mubarak regime, and they knew how to run it. Sure, the Brotherhood reign is destructive to the economy, but it’s also destructive to them, and while economies recover, they won’t. For example: Their cartoonish solution to the diesel shortage by cutting off the electricity frequently for a week but providing trucks with diesel, then not cutting the electricity and not providing trucks with diesel.

So now the residents are threatening bill collectors not to even knock on their doors. These bill collectors are on strike, and soon you will find truck drivers doing the same thing. If you want to see how cartoonish things have gotten, please skip Morsi’s speech from the empty wheat fields where he asserts that this is the year where Egypt will “import its wheat from Egypt “ and watch the minister of youth press conference, which has been my comedic highlight of last week.

Many of the revolutionaries are not amused by this, but that’s because they are refusing to admit two things: 1) They were participants in a “mirage revolution”; just like the mirage state; it looked it, but lacked all of the things that made it real (messaging, grassroots campaigning, social and cultural change), and 2) that the real deal is happening now, without them. Say what you say about the effectiveness of the the Tamarod campaign, but its virality proves 1) the creation of the larger Egyptian society that is unifying against the Brotherhood and 2) the rise of the second generation of revolutionaries, completely separate from the bickering and idiotic old guard (thank God), and far more successful. Or observe the meteoric rise of Like Jelly, a band whose fun music (a mix between humour, social commentary with a dash of anti-Brotherhood messaging) has garnered thousands of fans all over the country and opened doors for a multitude of bands like them, and revolutionising the music industry and cultural scene.

Observe the hapless government with its lack of solutions for the energy or housing crisis and juxtapose this with Kamsolar, who are not only developing solar-energy applications that are competitive with fossil fuels, they are building an entire solar operated village (energy, water, buildings) for 600 people at less than one million dollars. Travel to Aswan and observe the development project “Kenoz Nubia” started by a lone twenty-something Nubian woman called May Gahallah who made zero salary and now has an operation and multitude of volunteers and achievements on the ground. Go to the showcase of a company called Flat6labs started by an Egyptian-American investor called Ahmed Al-Alfi and look at the new tech start-ups they have created (solar desalinisation machines, mobile phones that don’t need the mobile operator networks or internet), and this is their fifth cycle. Then revert back to our current government, look at our new minister of investment, who couldn’t even get promoted to manager at Vodafone last year, but got this job because he is a Muslim Brother; or look at the Brotherhood themselves and their inability to keep their intelligent or promising youth (the 13-21 crowd, especially those growing up in Brotherhood families, is abandoning them in droves) and ask yourself this: Does this look like a lasting regime to you?

25 January is dead. Good riddance. It was too angry, repetitive and depressing at the end, and this is not how we got rid of the Mubarak regime. We got rid of them through humour, hard work and innovation, and we had fun doing it. Now, it’s all happening again, on the hands of people who are finally creating solutions instead of complaining about the problems. Now, you can either partake or focus on yourself; both choices are equally valid, but get over your acceptance phase quickly. The sixth stage awaits you. It’s time to move on.

 

About the author

Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem is a political activist, writer, and social media consultant. His writings could be found at www.sandmonkey.org and follow him @sandmonkey on Twitter

  • Amr Fahmy

    So it was all a mirage then? Egypt wasn’t prepared for it nor was it allowed to, and that’s probably why it wasn’t prepared for
    I personally reach the same conclusion a few month after the so called Tahrir youth or Facebook revolution, very naive to think that Mubarak regime and state institution would have fallen by that to start with, sorry for being direct
    I do hope you’re right about the “Tamarod” campaign, ma be it will be the real thing, and though I did sign the petition and enlisted a few people to, I don’t think it will, I am probably gloomy but I don’t think Terrorist Brothers (TB) nor their US sponsors nor even the Army gives a dam about what the people think in Egypt
    Hunger might be the real thing that will dethrone the TB, as you rightly say they run the country in a comical way and as comical characters, but Ismail Yassin was funny
    And they leading this country to tragedy while enriching himself and his cronies Uncle Khairat is making Egypt into a state of permanent beggar, where it needs to beg for its daily bread in a way never reached in known history even we went through hard times before
    How long can it last is the question?
    I wouldnt want to be in Uncle shoes when the day the alms givers is in bad mood and decides to punish the beggar, or ask for more than Uncle can give without risking to be Hung for it,,,
    Boofons are good to look at on TV, but not rule a country of 95 millions,
    Have you noticed that since no one is really paying attention anymore to family planning, we have the highest birth rate since 1991?
    Another time bomb

    • Evelyn Posch

      absolutely true!

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  • Hussein Khalifa

    I won’t say jan 25 is dead. I think it did it’s part and now it’s a different fight. Some will continue in this new fight and some are satisfied by what they did already; both have a valid reason.

  • Boutros Fekry

    Your articles are interesting Mr Salem , i like ur calm analysis , sharp words & views beyond the ordinary ..

  • http://twitter.com/IrisBoutros Iris Boutros

    Great piece. I really enjoyed it.

  • Marion Charobim

    Too well thought & uplifting not to be translated & published in Arabic. And shouldn’t we also be thankful that delusions about the cartoons’ holiness or astute sense of business which was to soak us in prosperity are taken care of?


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