“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.