Egyptian native, artist and writer Dominique Anita Mahoney updates i-D on the state of play in Cairo and the second round of youth revolutions.
In my last account of current events myself and everyone else anti-Muslim Brotherhood (MB) were awaiting impending doom, unprepared for Egypt’s potential plunge into a political regime led by Sharia law. Now there is no need to wait in fright, Mohamed Morsy, once known as jailed MB member during the Mubarak regime, then as escaped convict during the revolution, is now President of our country. On June 24th 2012, we watched in horror as television broadcasts captured every hysterically ecstatic Muslim Brotherly moment in the streets, which was to be expected since Khomeini taught the rest of the world that religion and the media have a Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew-like relationship. This is now the case for the MB and Egypt’s media.
To sum up events between June 24th and now, not only has Morsy neglected to uphold the 1001 promises he romantically roared he would achieve in 101 days (such as to lead another revolution if he did not win the election, improve hygiene, eliminate traffic and spruce up our streets better than Martha Stewart organizes her sock drawer) but he has also remained alarmingly absent during the frequent periods of unrest, walking on foot is now faster than driving and women have started giving their babies diarrhea with their breast milk. Like an anxious substitute teacher slumped on the staffroom couch, Morsy exercises ‘avoidance therapy,’ while the freedom fighters of classroom 203 go haywire. When he isn’t playing peek-a-boo in the Presidential Palace he is preening for the cameras in Berlin and appears to be scratching his private area in front of the prime minister of Australia. (see video 2).
Over the past few months protests against Morsy (the first of which was held roughly a week after his win, based on the theory that the MB may have cheated to attain their 51.7 % of votes) have swelled in numbers as previous Morsy supporters have been rapidly changing political faiths, calling their former choice unspeakable names. Numerous businesses and factions are going on strike, including the art store I get my supplies from, to state their disdain for him. With every crisis, be it related or unrelated to the actions of the power hungry MB, our president insists on sulking in his room with the attitude of a teenage girl handling her first menstrual cycle, while chaos and order is left to be handled by the endless subgroups this cocktail of a country hosts. Meanwhile rumours are circulating that some factions of the MB have already started their own trend of exclusivity, holding covenants that offer products at their subsidized prices while the same products in the free market, bread, fuel and cigarettes to name a few, are skyrocketing in prices. These covenants serve as MB tentacles that promise eager new brothers special treatment regarding the pricing of a number of these basic consumer items. Once you can wrap your head around this, you can perhaps begin to appreciate why the same country that hosted the most peaceful revolution in history is now releasing one of the most violent reactions to ‘democracy’ in history.
When a democratic election results in a country of over 90 million being led by a man who answers to a parliament dominated by his political group, and furthermore acts without a valid constitution in place, we can safely say that the rest of us are in deep shit. Did I mention that *13% of the registered 46% of voters voted for Morsy? So the world is asking why Egyptians are still complaining. Come here and try living in a place that once thrived on cosmopolitanism and is now being told to thrive on the Azzan.
Nevertheless, the persistence to prevent Morsy and the MB from suffocating Egypt just goes to show that the love for and spirit of this country still thrives on our uncanny ability to find strength in our differences when threatened by a force that tries to quash them, be it religious, social or political. This seemingly invincible spirit though is being tested, as the most recent wave of rioting and protesting has resulted in blood curdling events, instilling the kind of terror that plants a heavy, foreboding hand on our morale, character and minds.
It started on the eve of the 2nd anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, January 25th, then escalated in the beginning of February, when football clubs ‘The Ultras’ and ‘The White Knights’ joined the liberals in Tahrir, in response to the Port Said football massacre court rulings. The lack of police presence went from bizarre, more so than if the staff of Alcatraz were to traipse off on vacation to Honolulu, to inhumane as rioting and violence went unsupervised and addressed only by an ambiguous speech made by Morsy on live TV. Then, what started off as a violent reaction to the government’s lack of a reaction for footballer activists and liberal activists alike, ended up opening Pandora’s storage warehouse of sickened thugs who used this opportunity to organize rape rallies, where several women were gang raped in public as their friends, children and spouses were subject to witness. The video (top) will give you a miniscule, bird’s eye understanding of the disgusting atrocities that went on this February 1st, 2013. For full translation of the commentary in the film, click here.
Naturally, the MB is edging away, publicly blaming the mess on Morsy, the current leading force of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Beltagy having stated recently that the President has indeed gone rogue. However, no one is buying the MB and Beltagy (interestingly the word ‘Bultagee’, a mere syllable away, translates as ‘Thug’ in Arabic) hands clean act.
Despite recent developments regarding elections being organized for a new Magliss El Sha3b (parliament) and Morsy’s request to have a national dialogue with the National Salvation Front (the official title of the Liberals) there has been a call to boycott these coming elections as the NSF claim they will not take part in what they fear may turn out to be a pre-rigged, falsely democratic proceeding. The reasoning behind this is in the event that the Liberals do win a stable position in parliament they would have the ability to keep the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis (also a muslim based political group, and the third strongest political entity in Egypt) in check, a power that they largely believe will not be permitted by those already in power (AKA the MB.) In conclusion, the Liberals do not trust Morsy or the existing government and do not wish to take part in a ‘game’ that has already been programmed to deem their loss, and participating willingly in it will extinguish any chance of gaining legitimate representation in Egypt’s fledgling government.
So, as Morsy creates more desert and calls it peace, filling in the increasing gap between government and citizen is Cairo’s remixed version of liberal terrorism. Graduating from V for Vendetta to B for Bloc, the Black Bloc is providing Egyptians in the face of violence with an alternative to peaceful chanting. Now we wait to see if Gandhi was wrong, in Egypt’s case, and hope for deliverance, at this point be it violent or peaceful.
Text: Dominique Anita Mahoney (Instagram #Dikotomous)
Photography: Hana Gamal