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Death of a nation’s conscience- A revolution isolated - Daily News Egypt

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Death of a nation’s conscience- A revolution isolated

By Wael Eskandar Setting aside miracles, something about the story of Jesus seemed incomprehensible to me when I was younger. I found myself wondering how people were so willing to cheer on Jesus’ crucifixion although he had done nothing but preach values of goodness. After three years of preaching, he was smeared and condemned to …

Wael Eskandar
Wael Eskandar

By Wael Eskandar

Setting aside miracles, something about the story of Jesus seemed incomprehensible to me when I was younger. I found myself wondering how people were so willing to cheer on Jesus’ crucifixion although he had done nothing but preach values of goodness. After three years of preaching, he was smeared and condemned to death. There is no surprise his deeds bothered religious leaders and rulers, but that people he’d helped turned against him so quickly was what troubled me.

Three years into the revolution, that part of the story doesn’t baffle me anymore. Jesus offered personal liberation not political, and because he was unable to provide for anything but the soul, he was blamed for not doing enough and his death cheered on. On the anniversary of the revolution, it has become apparent that the nation has turned against it.  The rumors surrounding the 25 January Revolution have ranged from accusations of treason and foreign funding, to being a plan hatched by the Muslim Brotherhood. The underlying issue that has turned people against the 25 January Revolution is that it did not deliver. For three years it preached nothing but values, but the biggest accusation against its prime actors is that they did not provide anything but a personal, impractical salvation. There are no policies in place, no projects and no formidable organisation representing this revolution. That is why people are cheering on its death.

Three years on, what’s left of the revolution remains isolated. Here revolution would have to mean those who have chosen to side with values rather than individuals, rights rather than ideologies. The block of individuals that once captured the imagination of Egyptians and the whole world has now been shrunk, targeted and smeared.

The reason why we’re still talking about the revolution that took place three years ago (other than its anniversary) is because this revolution is about conscience. It revolved around the idea that justice was possible irrespective of race or creed; that lies, corruption and crimes can be called out, no matter the perpetrator.

Today, none of these ideals seem to have picked up. Seeing all the regime crimes justified, it seems that the revolution is dying. On its anniversary, the regime celebrated by crushing protests that did not support General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Such measures are widely accepted by Egyptian society. Many of its activists were arrested and imprisoned and it seems that there is no real control over the actions of the police who act with impunity.

The conscience of the nation seems to be at bay as Egyptian citizens are arrested, beaten and tortured without due process. Citizens are treated in a manner that contradicts the constitution they just voted on, but no one seems to mind. Many ask if those tortured, arrested or killed were Muslim Brotherhood members or supporters, as if it justifies these measures. Even when those arrested are described as activists opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, you get the usual rhetoric that they must have done something wrong.

The space for peaceful opposition in Egypt is shrinking. How can there be opposition in a police state controlled by state security agenda and a supposed fight on terror? Egypt has drifted further from its promised goals of democracy and freedom, and what’s worse is the mass support for that drift. Many Egyptians have made their own gods, not only worshipping them, but cracking down on those who don’t. A revolution that has rejected such gods has now regressed.

The power of the revolution was in finding a moment with consensus that the only way forward was through justice, equality and dignity. Today, people don’t mind less bread, less freedom, less dignity. The consensus seems to be lost and the regime’s smear campaign against a revolution that aimed to end its corruption is now more effective than ever.

The real trouble is that the revolution seems to be confronting people now rather than the regime. The people chose to see its path as a failure, opting for a quick solution, finding a saviour in the army.  The revolution that fought for the people must not continue to confront them. After all, it was a revolution to give people choice, even if that choice is to reject it. Egypt must continue its path without revolutionaries until people realise once again that there is no way forward but equality, justice and freedom.  Perhaps the revolution and its conscience have to die for now before they can rise again.

Wael Eskandar is an independent journalist and blogger based in Cairo. He is a frequent commentator on Egyptian politics and has written for Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Counterpunch, and Jadaliyya, among others. He blogs at notesfromtheunderground.net.

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  • Nancy

    You are a big lyier. Stop act that way. Do’t compare Jesus the holy with people like u and Ahmed Maher. Stop. We can not tolrate pepole like u. We love el sis. And as God willing he will be the president of Egypt. So pepole like u will stop. U need to learn how to be patriotic.

    • Scotty

      and you my Dear should learn to respect other opinions then yours and of course the right for freedom of speech. Stop calling others liars and stop bossing others around like a dictator

    • CrowT

      If you want a great country, it is easiest to start with yourself. It is better to say “I disagree….” than to say “You are a big lyier.”

  • sam enslow

    Socrates, considered by most the greatest ethical philosopher of the West, was forced to drink hemlock. People do not like examining themselves or taking responsibility for themselves. It is so much easier to have someone else to blame, especially when they will call them, “The great people of…” while they sit in a stupor. It has been written than an unexamined life is not worth living. To do so makes one alive. But it challenges us. Questions demand answers that are not often easy to find.
    I see the response below. That is Egyptian ,believe as I do or you are not a patriot. The conformity of the USSR’s influence still thrives in Egypt, once a respected cosmopolitan country that now thrives on xenophobia and willingly believes lies to avoid truths. George Bush’s, “You are with us against us.” rules in Egypt.
    It appears the fate of Egypt will be placed in Field Marshall AlSisi’s hands. No one really knows anything about the man. It will be his choice to be either a truly great leader of Egypt that works with and challenges the people of Egypt to be their best. If so he will go down in history as a truly great man. He can also chose to be a chest thumper, a peacock, and feed on all the weaknesses of Egyptian society. One path will lead to a new democratic ,economically, socially strong nation. The other will lead to the feared bloody revolution. It seems the choice will be found only in the heart of the Field Marshall. Results will tell the truth.
    When Tiberius Caesar named Caligula his heir, he said Rome deserves you.” That was not a compliment to Rome. Egypt will get the government it deserves. It is their choice. But if the make the wrong choice, they will blame the Americans or Zionist/American Conspiracy. Freedom comes with responsibility. Egyptians hate responsibility.

  • Nader

    I completely disagree with this defeated tone as if all is lost and that the pure revolution were too good that it was rejected by the bad ungrateful people, used by the MB and persecuted by the military. Nothing can be deceptive more than this silly image that many revolutionists are painting.
    In fact this guy makes the resemblance with the Jesus story as if both were failures, Jesus and the revolution which again is a wrong analogy, because neither is dead.

    I will take the real analogy that in both stories, a new seed was been planted. Jesus planted the true spiritual life of God’s love and forgiveness through being rejected by the majority, and dying on the cross. His resurrection was not meant to conquer his killers, revenging and subduing them by force. In the contrary, his resurrection was empowering his true believers to preach his love and real spiritual freedom and taking over his enemies by forgiveness and kindness.

    The revolution was great in what it preached for, bread for all, freedom, social justice. The seed is there. It is planted, yet it will only thrive in good soil which like in Jesus story, does not have to be millions.
    The challenge now is to make its true call live and thrive slowly but surely, until it illuminates the whole people.
    It is our choice now to complete what started but in the real way not the politics way, not the deadly rioting way, but through real deeper work to change the society.
    No great nation has done a successful transition in a couple of years. The way is long, but different than what most wailing revolutionaries expected.

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