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Op-ed review: The future and 11 February 2011

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5-2 a

Lifeboats

Ezzedine Choukri Fishere

Al Masry Al Youm Newspaper

“Someone asked me: ‘Should we build a Noah’s arc to take us all to the new state that we want to build?’ I said no. That was a good model in the old age, but now the evil ones will not allow you to build an arc. They will make fun of Noah’s people and will prevent you from completing the arc by taking the wood away and sabotaging it. They will turn people against you and distract you. They will record your conversations with the workers and broadcast it on TV as a subversive statement. If you continue with the construction, they might detain you, along with the animals and birds you collect. Did I say detain? I meant arrested and referred to court with an insulting the homeland charge, disfiguring its image and implying that there is a need to flee from it,” Fishere writes as an introduction to the article.

He takes Noah and the arc as a parody of the suggested solutions to the current political situation in Egypt. Fishere sees that seeking one solution to the problem is counter-productive. “Instead, we should build many lifeboats and learn to swim. They cannot stop all the boats since it’s a main method of transportation and they cannot prevent people from learning how to swim. When the flood comes, the lifeboats will be as good as the arc, if not leaner, faster and have greater abilities to manoeuvre,” Fishere writes.

The lifeboats represent the different political and social solutions and entities existing in the country. “Each person should choose whatever material they see fit, without criticising the other or bringing them down or insisting that only their boat will be able to survive. The boat can be small, fit for only a few people, or it can be big and fit dozens. It could be used for fishing or transporting people or distributing materials, or it can act as an ambulance or whatever you choose. It is important that you only have a boat and that you are part of a team so that you can find a place when escape is needed. Then the only thing left is some organisational effort between all the boats.”

Fishere explains that along with creating viable social and political entities, there are two more tasks that should be included in the process. First, people should have a clear vision of the needed solution or country so that Egyptians do not find themselves reiterating what they have done before. This will also allow people to have a clear direction when they need to escape a sticky situation. The second task is listening to the people’s concerns and demands and making sure they are included in the corrective process. “It is a great disillusion to consider ourselves guardians over others with the excuse of knowing more. Even Noah invited people to follow him, but did not force anyone on his arc,” Fishere writes.

“These three tasks of creating a vision, organising ourselves and listening to the people will not be done in a month or a year. Our vision of the future and the new world will surpass the generalisations of freedom, social justice, bread and human dignity. This vision will not be ready once it is written, but will invite objections and discussions, which is both natural and necessary. These objections and discussions are part of the crystallisation of the vision that everyone can share as a general dream. It will take time.”

He adds that organising people will also take time. “It is normal to differ over the answers to these questions, for people to divide and reunite and try some models which turn out to be mistakes, and so they try other models. All of this takes time. Listening to people as well and including their comments in the final destination will take time because we are not used to it. We got used to ignoring people because we know better or speaking to them to raise ‘awareness’ rather than listen to what they say,” Fishere writes.

He concludes his article by saying that this does not mean we have to submit to depression or despair, but instead to be patient.

5-2 b

We broke the regime

Wael Abdel Fatah

Tahrir Newspaper

Columnist Wael Abdel Fatah reminisces about the past on the anniversary of Mubarak’s removal. “This time, three years ago, we broke a regime that used to oppress us and ruin our lives. It turned the whole country into a desert. Goods and presents were distributed on the regime’s lackeys. They deprived us of happiness. The regime became a Mafia after it became a gang. They convinced us that the lack of a regime means chaos and that accepting it means safety. That life in oppression is better than a path-seeking adventure,” Abdel Fatah writes.

He explains that the realisation that a broken system exists was a collective act and that the resistance still continues three years later. “Especially after some of the monsters were revived, coming back to seek revenge,” he writes. He adds that some are trying to exploit the people’s weariness to fulfil their twisted plans of reaching power. “We are exhausted from resisting more than the games played by the living dead. They snatch our necks like zombies, either we accept them as oppressors or they bestow upon us the bite of death.”

He explains that people did not realise it was a revolution when they demanded their rights, but the participation of millions made it so. “It was a revolution of pride and dignity that sought to restore shattered souls due to oppression and humiliation.”

He remembers people’s reactions when Omar Suleiman announced Mubarak’s removal and that the square was filled with cries of happiness.  He finds it hard to forget such a day despite what has happened since the removal of Mubarak and that it will remain a great moment in time.


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