>When the Armed Reign Supreme


My friends and family from all over the world ask me: “how fares the Egyptian revolution?”

And in all honesty, I choke on the answer. I usually gulp down some coffee and stare into the empty space ahead and shake my head.

For those of you who don’t know, Egypt is now run by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF). Does the name sound scary enough? Sounds pretty scary to me!

I’ve always been wary of those who are armed, especially if they reign supreme.

The Egyptian people, however, has a completely different view. Army tanks deployed on the streets of Tahrir square back in the Mubarak-days were greeted with loving chants. Army officers were being hugged by people from all walks of life. Tears of joys were in the eyes of many of the protestors who had once chanted “wahid, itnayn, el gayesh el masry fayn” which roughly translates to “ one … two … our army where are you?” The truly believed in the Egyptian Army as their savior and deliverer from the hellish grip of the brutal police.

“What the hell is wrong with these people,” I had asked .

“What do you mean what’s wrong with them?  Nothing is wrong with them, they’re welcoming our Army.” He said looking at me as if I had just landed from a different planet. “Our army. The army that has sworn to defend and protect us. The army that stands guard to keep Egypt safe.”

I still failed to understand the true reasons behind the love affair between Egyptians and the Army. Not because I had anything against them, but because I knew all too well that the disciplined army soldiers, who live and die by a sacred hierarchical structure, have no taste for democracy–or rights.

Mubarak stepped down, or rather was forced to step down by a yet-to-be-identified entity. And SCAF stepped up.

I immediately did not like this. Armed forces are trained to fight, not rule. It is just a simple as that. They undergo rigorous training that encourages blind obedience, suppresses individuality, fosters patriarchal world views, and teaches blindness to the rights of the one when it conflicts with the good of the many. And herein lies the rub!

SCAF’s current version of the good of the many involves keeping ex-president Mubarak in 5-star suite in a private Sharm El Sheikh hospital.

SCAF are just extending some courtesy to their ex-leader Mubarak, you say? You want us to let it go? Well, Mubarak has ordered the police to gun down protestors which resulted in the death and maiming of thousands of Egyptians, most of them young and still had a full life ahead of them. Mubarak lies in a 5-star hospital bed while the dead lie in their graves. Does that sound fair to you?

Egypt is spiraling down a very dark tunnel while our future is not revealed to us by the powers that be. Lack of transparency, camouflage-clothing inspired perhaps, is baffling us. When EXACTLY are the elections? Dates… numbers? No one knows for sure. Who’s voting? Rumor after rumor followed by a denial here and a confirmation there.

Civilians undergo military trials. While Mubarak, once the high commander of the Armed Forces, is being investigated by the Attorney General. Justice? I think not.

We seek justice for those who were wronged and we seek our long-lost freedom. That’s how I know we are on the side of righteousness.

May 27th is when we attempt to right the wrongs and walk-down the paths of Tahrir Square again. If you cannot join us, I beseech you, remember us in your prayers.