Did President Museveni sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill for “mercenary reasons”?

26 02 2014

Over the past few weeks President Museveni has made headlines in both local and international news to the extent that he attracted the attention of President Obama, which ended into a mini-cold-war of a sort.

Even though Museveni agrees that he knows (so) little about (the cause of) homosexuality, he puts it very bluntly that homosexuals are NOT normal, that homosexuality is a product of the western culture and that it has no place in Africa. Well, this is an opinion that many Ugandans (or should I say Africans) share.

After a long contentious debate, President Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law yesterday. The President made it clear that he wanted the whole world to witness this; most of the world’s popular media houses witnessed the occasion.

The international community has expressed its disappointment in Museveni and Uganda in general. In fact a number of countries have threatened to cut aid to the Uganda government.

“The United States is deeply disappointed in the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. “This is a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights. Ultimately, the only answer is repeal of this law. Via Aljazeera

Some people say that Museveni only signed the bill because “Obama dared him”. Obama warns Uganda over anti-gay law – Reuters.

Museveni responded to Obama with no kind words. “Countries and Societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making,” Museveni said in a statement. – New Vision

Apparently, Museveni wanted to put the leaders of the west in their place, to show them that they don’t have power or control over sovereign African states.

But what would have happened if Obama had NOT “dared” Museveni? Maybe things would have turn out differently? I don’t think so. I am sure that Museveni has been looking for an opportune moment to hit the west where it hurts most – to show them that he is the ONLY person who has power and control over Uganda.  This is why he wanted the signing of the bill to be covered widely.

And this is where I suspect that there is more to the signing of the Anti-Gay Bill than meets the eyes. It’s not just about “our culture” or homosexuality, it is about power, control and ego.

A friend of mine wrote on Facebook “Obama was only 24 years when Museveni came to power. How can he caution him?”

Why are African Presidents feeling threatened?

Over the past few months we have seen African leaders ganging up against their counterparts in the west – saying that the west is remotely controlling Africa. That African Presidents are being still overlooked and treated unfairly. A key example is the recent trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta at International Criminal Court (ICC).

African leaders reached a compromise – to boycott the ICC. The leaders agreed that African problems should be solved by Africans. Since then, African Presidents have upped their hostility towards the ICC and leaders from the west.

President Museveni is one of the political “giants” on the African continent – not because he has been in power for almost 3 decades – no! Because, over those years he has proven to be an asset to other leaders (or rulers like some people prefer to call him) of his caliber. Hence he is deeply respected in those circles.

Personally, I have this feeling that African Presidents are secretly executing a project – the “Anti-West Influence/ Control” project. And they are always looking for an opportunity to rub it in the faces of leaders like President Obama.

Therefore wonder whether Museveni might have signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill for “mercenary” reasons.

  1. Did President Museveni sign the bill to “mark his territory”? There has been increasing speculation in Uganda that if anyone is to save Ugandans from Museveni’s regime, it will come at the might of Obama (administration). Today, Museveni is trying to demystify such speculations.
  2. Museveni has also made it clear that he is going to contest in the 2016 Presidential elections and he knew that by enacting this law, he would win the hearts of many Ugandans who share his opinions on issues of homosexuality. He is basically hitting two birds with the same stone.

After all has been said and done, many LGBTI rights activists still have hope that this law can still be nullified through the court. But the question remains, what’s Museveni’s agenda (if he has any)?

“The nurse who injected a child with HIV blood”: Media propaganda in Uganda

10 02 2014

You have probably seen or heard the story of “the nurse who injected a child with blood”. Yes? Well the nurse’s name is Namubiru. I saw this story on NTV Akawungeezi – the Luganda version at seven in the evening. See the video clip below.

My first reaction was irritation and deep inside I was wondering, how could a nurse who is over 50 (judging from her looks) be so heartless? At the same time I was reflecting on a post I wrote on the recent World AIDS Day – Are we “Getting to Zero”?: The HIV/AIDS blame game in Uganda.

This story really bothered me, the thought that a nurse could do such (to a child), made me sick in the stomach. Since then, I have followed the developments on this story. Once in a while I could catch a news byte to update myself on the case.

As I continued to follow the story I learned that there were actually two different narratives and both of them were victimizing the nurse. One said that “the nurse used the same syringe she had used on her self to give a child a shot yet she was aware that she is HIV positive” while the other said that “the nurse had injected the child with HIV positive blood”.

Mid last week I was listening to Sanyu FM’s news and the nurse’s case was mentioned again “the trial of the HIV positive nurse who injected a child with blood is set for Friday this week….. After the incident, the child was tested and found HIV positive yet the parents of the child are both HIV negative..”

The other day I met some people who are following this nurse’s case. They mentioned that they were from court and that the nurse had been denied bail. They asked whether I knew anything about that case.

I told them what I knew – basically the narrative that the media was spreading wildly; that the nurse injected a child with blood and infected her with HIV. Little did I know that this was far from the truth.

This is how I learned the other story, one that is not known to many. According to the people who have interacted with the nurse and the parents of the child, the nurse did not actually inject the child with blood.

What happened is that the child was on treatment and this nurse was supposed to administer a shot. Of course the nurse had a syringe in her hand. But we all know how much children fear pricking. So the child tried to resist and in the process the nurse pricked her (index) finger.

The mistake the nurse did is going ahead to use the syringe that had pricked her on the child – why she didn’t do this, you and I will probably never know but she (the nurse) insists that she didn’t have any ill intentions against the child.

The other thing I learned is, even though the nurse is HIV positive, apparently the child has been tested for HIV at least twice since the incident and she has tested negative on both occasions. If this is true, why does the Urban TV report – “Baby infected with HIV“?

What does this kind of reporting mean for the child in question. If the child is HIV negative, how will the narrative be reversed? Of course normally the media will rush into reporting without thinking about the damage this could cause to this child, her family or even the nurse who now seems to be a public enemy.

The media has succeeded in telling us just what we want to hear. Human nature is characterized with complaining, victimizing and well, hypocrisy; the media uses those same characteristics to tell us a story that we can identify with, a story that will win our hearts. The New Vision picture below shows a picture of the nurse, Namubiru looking terrified.terrified-Namubiru

Once the media has set the ground with all their propaganda, the nurse story becomes of no relevance, even if she tells her story, how many people will be interested in listening to it? And this is where the danger of a single story comes in.

In the end, media houses have nothing to lose. People enjoy reading these unbalance because they are easier to understand and easy for the journalists to compile in a short time.

Here are some of the headlines from some of the most popular media houses in Uganda.

Nurse Who Injected Child With HIV Blood Denied Bail – Red Pepper

Woman arrested for injecting baby with HIV infected blood – New Vision

How a nurse injected baby with HIV blood – The Observer

Baby infected with HIV – Urban TV

Lack of professionalism  or Ignorance?

When I see stories like this in the media only one thing comes to my mind – that after many decades of reporting on HIV/AIDS, journalists and editors have learned nothing, nothing at all. Many journalists have failed to understand that they have a role to play in the fight against HIV/AIDS and that their role is not to spread the gospel of discrimination but to educate people through telling true and balanced stories.

“Our health reporting is really lacking, we need training to help us understand those scientific terms and jargon language….” I have seen journalists front this excuse on several occasions. Well, I am NOT buying that no more! We are talking about the basics here, if you cant tell a simple story as it is, without fabricating the facts, am afraid even training on health reporting won’t benefit you much.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 10.18.06 AM

When I look at how the media has portrayed this nurse’s story, I feel hopeless. I learned that this nurse has a daughter. With this kind of reporting, the nurse becomes a public enemy even before the public knows verdict.

However, I still have faith that when the media and journalism is dies (if its not dead already), there are still people who are willing to tell and hear the balanced story, not to victimize or discriminate but to seek justice and make the world a better place.

Are we “Getting to Zero”?: The HIV/AIDS blame game in Uganda

30 11 2013

I was 7 years old when I lost my aunt. Prior to her death there was a rumor going around in the family that she was HIV positive. Most of these rumors were stigmatizing because everyone looked at an HIV victim as if they were dying tomorrow.  In the mid 90s the term HIV/AIDS was not popular. People preferred to use the local word “siliimu” which means slim. The term siliimu was used because of the way HIV turned victims into walking skeletons – literally.

But I guess the stigmatization was not as humiliating as the pain the patients went through in their final days of life. Many would be bed ridden for days/ months. Some (un)lucky ones would even stay ill on their death beds for years.

Before my aunt died she was ill for very many weeks. At the time all HIV patients received counseling services and a very specific kind of yellow corn flour from TASO. Apparently the yellow corn flour was rich in nutrients to help victims live longer.  Patients also got some medications such as Septrine and painkillers. At the time the ARVs were not accessible/ available.

In the beginning people welcomed TASO and the HIV patients were willing to go for services because TASO promised all patients confidentiality. This did not last long, people started spreading rumors “did you know, I found this person at TASO, they must be HIV positive”.

Like many other patients my aunt lived in denial. She never agreed to an HIV test even though my mom persuaded her to test saying that this is the only way she would get medication.

There was little knowledge and information about HIV, people knew that HIV had no cure and they knew that a patient would develop diarrhea, grow slim and eventually die. Not much was known about how its spreads, how to take care of patients extra. So mere suspecting that one is HIV positive meant that they would be stigmatized for the rest of their life.

The Baganda have an interesting culture where some one would public declare the cause of death at your funeral. When an HIV patient died normally small talks would go around during the funeral – “he/she died of siliimu”.

When I was 10 years old I lost my most favorite teacher ever. Her death was rather unusual, she was ill for only 2 or 3 days. She died of a headache but rumor had it that she had AIDS.

Eventually there were dozens of death recorded and all were attributed to HIV. Some of these deaths were very painful to my family and I because the people were very close to us.

Fast forward:

Today, HIV/AIDS continues to spread and kill thousands in Uganda. The stigma has significantly reduced. I think the stigma has reduced because access to ARVs has improved in the country, which means that people living with HIV/AIDS can live longer.

On November 3rd the Prime Minister of Uganda Amama Mbabazi cited increased access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs as one of the causes for disheartening complacency that has seen a spike in new HIV infections countrywide.

When the Prime Minister makes such remarks I wonder whether the government’s commitment to “Get to Zero” (zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related death) still stands. Mbabazi might have a point but his statement is rather demeaning to the many HIV/AIDS patients and stakeholders who are making sure that patients get access to the much needed ARVs.

One the major weaknesses in the fight against HIV/AIDS is government failure to integrate sexual and reproductive health education into the national syllabi right from primary to advanced levels of education. There is a lot of secrecy when it comes to sex. Many young boys and girls who are sexually active resort to local tabloids. Newspapers, television and Internet for those who have access to educate themselves about sex and reproductive health.

But what does this mean for many rural youth who drop out of school, don’t have access to this information? Well, of course this means that they are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. For me this feels like we are taking 1-step forward and 2 steps backward in the fight against HIV.

Uganda was once a champion on the African continent in the fight against HIV. Today, statistics show that many African countries are dealing with the epidemic much better than us. What happened? Perhaps our leaders got so excited because their initial efforts registered a lot of success and since they became complacent?

Is this a time to play the blame game? Perhaps NOT! That’s why I am not going to talk about the woes in the maternal health sector and government’s failure to prioritize health in the national budget.

Tomorrow is the International World AIDS Day. For me this day brings back a lot of painful memories but most importantly it reminds me that “Getting to Zero” is a shared responsibility. It is going to require (renewed) commitment, less blaming and more doing. And I hope that our government will actually champion this struggle and make it a priority.

“The Baganda should test war”: Prayer of a private guard

28 11 2013

“Good morning sir, sir I was listening to the radio. These Baganda are saying that if Lukwago is impeached they are going to start a war against the government. I want a war to come to Buganda. These Baganda should test it. They think they can fight. They have never seen a war “ the guard continued.

Yesterday, the guard at my house engaged me in a 20 minutes conversation or should I say story since he did all the talking. I made a few comments here and there but mostly listening to him as he calmly poured out his anger and frustration.

This guard is the most respectful guard I have ever seen. Actually one of the most respectful Ugandans I have ever met. Until yesterday morning I couldn’t believe that this man (guard) could hold a grudge against anyone. He works for a private security company.

“Sir, I tested the war in Teso. A group of 20 plus rebels could rape your sister, wife or even mother right in front of you. And you could do nothing or you would die. Most of the women would die. I watched as relatives were slaughtered like goats. My father was a chief so he asked government to give us support and we got a lot of support. Now these Baganda are here saying they want to start a war. Let them start it. I will be on the side of the government and I will show them” the guard lamented.

I could feel the pain in his voice so to this I said, well, war is terrible. I was already thinking I am running late. I don’t know why I am listening to this conversation but I am still interested in knowing why he hates the Baganda so much.

“These Baganda are bad people. My landlady is a Muganda. A few months ago she took me to jail. I have two room at her house. One is my shop the other is my bedroom. One day she came to my shop and said, you are just a guard, how can you own a shop? Where do you get all this money? She tried to force her way in to my shop but I couldn’t let her because she was making all these allegations calling me a thief. So I pushed her out and then she tried to fight me. I didn’t know that was tricking me to beat her. I beat her seriously. That’s how I ended up in jail….” he said.

“But sir, can you imagine that this same woman also tried to trick me into marrying her daughter. She wanted me to kick my wife out so I could marry her daughter. Her daughter was even pregnant for another man. I refused! These Baganda are just thieves. They love money too much. I hate them! ” he continued.

At this point I was wondering whether he actually knows that I am a Muganda. My guess is no because he was speaking without holding back.

“Sir, these Baganda should just test war, I pray. Once they test like this, they will never open their mouth again. They are here celebrating Namugongo. That is nothing. Let me leave you so you can go to work sir. ” this time his eyes looked watery.

On my way to work I reflected on his story. I kept asking myself, how did we get to this point? Everything seems to rotate around our tribes now.

Assuming that he didn’t know that I am a Muganda, I chose not to reveal. I wasn’t sure whether this was necessary or even helpful in this situation.

I think the Baganda have “tested” some wars – Obote exiled Sir Edward Mutesa in 1966. Whether they have fought a war is a question for another day. My mom has told me some stories of the 1985 violence and the regimes before that.

Whether this guard was aware of this history, I dont know.

Even though I totally respect this guard’s opinions and was deeply touched by his story, I don’t think he is right to declare a war against the Baganda. Call me selfish but a war based on tribal segregation can get really filthy. I know so because I saw traumatizing pictures of the Rwanda genocide and the post-election violence in Kenya.

KCCA Saga: Whose war is it? Museveni Vs. Lord Mayor Vs. Jennifer Musisi

23 11 2013

I will never forget the day Kampala took to the ballot to vote the mayor of the city. After the long heated campaigns the day had come for the people to decide. There were two iconic figures in the race. Elias Lukwago – an influential member of opposition and Peter Sematimba a businessman, pastor and once a DJ who came on the NRM ticket.

What made the Mayoral contest so exciting was that it came only days after the presidential election, which the opposition insisted, had been rigged. So the opposition members set a new mission – to make it impossible for the NRM to rig the mayoral elections.

At 8Am word had started going around that the vote had been rigged in favor of  the NRM candidate. This was almost unbelievable because the polling stations were not supposed to open until 9Am. However at 8Am the ballots were almost full at many of the polling stations around the city.

Kampala mayoral poll riddled with vote rigging – YouTube

Kampala mayoral vote chaos – YouTube

I suppose NRM had no better way to show how much they loved to have one of their own to head or should I say rule Kampala city. This is probably the most desperate and stupid move NRM has ever made to gain control because in the aftermath Lukwago won the disputed contest with landslide victory.

The ballot was lost but NRM was not about to lose the fight! President Museveni appointed an executive director for the Kampala City Council Authority. Jennifer Musisi became the first Executive Director of this city.

Perhaps Museveni was not concerned about the consequences of his actions but when he appointed Jennifer he wedged a gap in the Kampala City Council Authority creating stiff competition between the Mayor and the Executive Director of Kampala where each is always working to win the people’s support.

Opposition members say that this was part of Museveni’s long-term plan – to control Kampala city. Did I mention that on top of the Lord Mayor and the Executive Director, President Museveni also appointed Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Kampala! Ironic. Right?

The difference between Lukwago and Jennifer is the nature of tactics and resources they use to achieve their objectives. Some people say that Lukwago is using traditional tactics – using his position to win the favour and support of market vendors and taxi drivers. Jennifer on the other hand is using all the resources available at her disposal to appeal to the urban elite who want clean road and less congestion in the city.

I must say that I am quite impressed at how much Jennifer Musisi has accomplished in such a short time. But then again this is her job. And her master appointed her so she can impress people like me. However one thing that I really don’t understand is what does Jennifer’s master want in return? What is his motive? I know he wants something.

My friends say that I should stop criticizing and show appreciation for the things that have been well done. Well, naturally I question a lot.

We live in the world where the devil will give you all the riches you need and yet the same devil will strip you naked, insult you in public and eventually take back everything that belongs to him. So, I question everything, everyone.

I am not saying that the developments changing Kampala’s face for the better are actually a devil’s works but I am certain these developments go beyond political interests. Again whether these are personal interests I wouldn’t know (yet).

To many Ugandans, Kampala is the capital but to politician Kampala is a springboard to power. So, technically if the people of Kampala like you, you can (almost) lead anywhere in this country. Why? Because the people of Kampala are hard to please! But these same people also fall for the smallest of things.

The Lord Mayor of Kampala has been in jail twice in the past week alone. According to a recent KCCA tribunal report, the Lord Mayor was found guilty of abuse of office, incompetence and misconduct. The Mayor was arrested as he attempted to leave his home. Uganda Police suspected that he was planning to organize a rally near Kiseka market, downtown Kampala to brief people about the report, which the mayor maintains is nothing, but blackmail. Many people have predicted that this is the end of Lukwago’s reign.

But Lukwago still claims his position and insists that the people of Kampala voted him into office and that only the voter can determine his fate.

Kampala has become a battleground. The real victims of the fight are the people of Kampala and yet this virtual war seems to be far from over. The increasing fights in the Kampala City Council Authority seem to be between the Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago and the Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi but there seems to be more than what meets the eye. President Museveni has been highly implicated in the fight even though he insists that he is not involved.

One question remains, what does the fall of Lukwago mean to the people of Kampala? Whose win is it? The people? Jennifer Musisi? Or Museveni?

Is it possible that after losing the ballot, NRM is trying to push its luck to control the capital forcefully? Do the people of Kampala have a say in this?

Perhaps I am just being cynical (just like the Lord Mayor) but looking at the events that have unfolded since Lukwago came to office I have a strong feeling that this fight is not about to end.

I am keen to see how this will end.

KCCA votes on Monday to kick out Lukwago

Simon Kaheru has some interesting commentary here: out with lukwago; you could be next

Democracy & Freedom of Expression in Uganda – A BIG JOKE!

7 08 2013

Uganda has a unique culture where people convene for anything and when people convene they talk about anything and everything – food, beer, money, corruption and politics. This happens everyday in bars, markets, mosques, churches, and weddings and along the streets.

Together with friends, we have managed to pull-off some of the most fruitful tweetups in the country. We basically convene a group of 15 to 20 tweeps at a coffee shop to discuss topical issues and inform our Twitter conversations.

Yesterday the parliament of Uganda passed the controversial Public Order Management Bill amidst serious criticism from human rights activists, opposition members of parliament and the civil society.

“The objective of the Bill is to provide for the regulation of public meetings, the duties and responsibilities of the Police, the organisers and participants in relation to public meetings; to prescribe measures for safeguarding public order without compromising the principles of democracy, freedom of association and freedom of speech.”

The Bill defines a “public meeting” as a gathering, assembly, concourse, procession or demonstration of three or more in or on any public road.

A few months ago anti-riot police was used to forcefully end two meetings – one convened by gay rights activists and another by the Black Monday Movement. Both meeting were held in closed places. This Bill posses a greater threat that police will actually continue to break into “private” spaces human rights activists use to convene meetings.

This Bill is actually NOT only the end of the road to public protest and freedom to assemble in Uganda; it also further controls people and constrains (access to) public debates. Exercising this Bill gives the government a law that will stop Ugandans from petitioning or pressuring the government.

But what does this mean for my friends and I who have always believed that tweetups are a peaceful way for young people to participate in this “democratic” process? Obviously the Bill shattered our hopes and further violates our freedom of speech and participation.

State of Freedom of Speech/ Expression in Uganda

Strong regulations and monitoring are already in place to ensure that “political” discussions are not brought to public spaces – such as public meetings, media (especially TV and Radio) extra. Especially meetings aimed at demanding government accountable or reveling the ruling party’s dirty linen to the public. In the recent past media clamped down left media houses closed for days and months.

Apparently the government is also seeking to monitor social networking spaces. Not that this was not expected. However, this is a shame because the government has so far not done a good job in investing in Internet infrastructure.

A few months ago President Museveni warned religious leaders and told (yes told not asked) them to stop talking about politics in churches or mosques.

Museveni has also branded media houses that give airtime to opposition leaders “enemies of the state”. As a result, media houses such as the Nation Media Group’s Daily Monitor have suffered the wrath of the NRM regime and trust me; they have not been the same since. “According to the semi-independent Daily Monitor newspaper….” Al Jazeera quoted in a recent article.

Last year political and human rights activists suffered serious injuries, imprisonment without trial and others charged with treason when antiriot police brutally cracked down “Walk To Work” campaign. Since then Uganda Police and Military Police have become an influential arm of the government in terms of brutalizing instead of protecting Ugandans involved in peaceful protests.

A few months ago General Aronda Nyakairima was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs. Prior to this appointment, General Aronda was Chief of Defense Forces.

President Museveni has not once or twice praised the Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura as one of the most loyal NRM cadres. I think there is a conflict of interest here. Whose interests does the IGP serve; the people or the President?

Therefore it’s rather ironic that this Bill mentions “safeguarding public order without compromising the principles of democracy, freedom of association and freedom of speech.”

According to Clause 7 of this Bill, “an organizer shall give notice in writing signed by the organizer or his or her agent to the Inspector General of Police of the intention to hold a public meeting at least seven days but not more than fifteen before the proposed date of the public meeting.”

Clause 9 of the Bill states that “subject to the direction of the Inspector General of Police, an authorized officer or any other police officer of or above the rank of Inspector, may stop or prevent the holding of a public meeting”.

When you give one or two men the power to (forcefully) determine the fate of a group, you are exercising dictatorship NOT democracy.

Many Ugandans think that this Bill is part of President Museveni’s plan to oppress opposition leaders in preparation for the upcoming 2016 general elections (and beyond).

Personally, my quest to find the REAL definition of the word “Democracy” beyond the (manipulable) ballot continues.

End of one revolution; the beginning of another? Egypt.

1 07 2013

“I wish I could live in a country where you don’t read about blood in the news all the time. I wish I could live in one of these little Islands where nothing major happens. The biggest problem they would have there is that the cows are sick. You know what I mean?” – Young Activist from Egypt.

So you have heard about the “Arab Spring” – specifically the revolution in Egypt?
A few days ago I had the privileged of meeting a young activist from Egypt and I must say, I was really humbled by his word, emotion and courage as he told me the story of what happened in Egypt, whats happening now and a quick over view of whats yet to come. The story was deeply touching for me. Here is the story…

You look at yourself in the mirror and say – we are wasting the best time of our life in all this blood. Everyone deserves a better life – I am not talking about luxury – I am talking about peace; to stop reading about all this blood.

The youth (13, 14, 16) are so powerful and willing to do anything to get justice. They know the consequences; they could get them selves killed. But, they are full of energy and willing to do what it takes.

Do young people understand the history of Mubarak’s regime? Do parents tell stories?

Maybe they didn’t live to see his regime. But, it’s a matter of logic. At the moment parents don’t tell their kids a lot of these stories because they are afraid their kids will get killed. But, the kids are reading about this on the Internet. Its surprising to see a kid who was born in 1992 telling you about the history of the Touristic Movements in Egypt that happened in the 90s and 80s. The education system in Egypt is terrible.

We make meetings and gathering (tweetups) and have conversations to raise awareness.

On internet access among the youth

I have been working on social and political awareness projects for some time now, challenge is, teaching the youth is easy. The hard thing is convincing people between ages of 30 and 50. They are so negative. They don’t want to hear about what you are doing, they don’t care. As if that is not enough, they make fun of you.

Young people are smart, they have internet and TV. Most importantly, they dream. They wish they can have rights to live how they want.

Realizing change is a long journey, we all have to work on it – from graffiti to wikis  – everyone is doing something.

Does the government monitor the Internet?

They wish! They are too stupid to do it. It would cost them a lot and they don’t have the money. We are smarter than them.

In the aftermath of a revolution…

Before the revolution, I had a feeling that they were watching us. After the revolution you realize that they act that they know but I swear to God they are too stupid to do it. Mubarak has a bloody history of his security personnel killing and torturing people, anti-riot police, 1 million soldiers and hundreds of thousands of armed and trained soldiers; It took us 3 days to get them so exhausted.

Do you feel like this kind of work threatens your life?

I feel like I am in more danger now compared to before or during the revolution. When its between you and the police representing the regime, its not as dangerous as you against a fellow civilian. The Moslem Brotherhood are using the religion against us. They go on TV saying that “These people are going in protest against Islam – they are enemies of Islam NOT corruption”. Some people actually belief this. What’s going to happen on the 13th July is that we are going to rally against the President – the Moslem Brotherhood are going against us! The army and the police are saying – “I am out of this. A lot of civilians against each other. Who am I going to shoot at?“ This could lead to a civil war. I really hope it doesn’t go this way.

What’s in it for the Muslim Brotherhood?

The current president is from the Muslim Brotherhood, so they are trying to pay the price to keep him in power.

Do civilians have what it takes to win the battle?

The civilians are more concerned about the future of our country. The Muslim Brotherhood don’t care, they have ruined our relationship with other Arab and Africa countries. They are against Ethiopia’s dam project. Instead of going to them and say, you want a dam? I can help you – to make the relationship better. They don’t work for us, or Egypt or Africa; they just want power and control.

What does change look like for you?

Changing 5 or 4 presidents in the coming years. We need a civilian country; not religious, not military, we need a good constitution. We need people to understand that this country is for everyone – Christians, Jews. This land is for everyone who lives on it or who ever lived on it regardless of their color and race. We need to fight corruption.

We need justice. Mubarak must be taken to court.

Our priority should be education.


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