Sharing my depressing thoughts on Egypt

I am slowly developing an apathy towards the current political process. Not sure if future elections are meaningful.

There are no credible politicians left. Maybe few untainted ones exist but they hardly can be popular enough to win seats in any elections, either because they represent fringe ideology or have been smeared by everyone in power.

ثمن الحرية :'-(

6 months ago...

This is a phone interview recorded with Margaret Prescod of Radio KPFK on the 2nd of February at around 3pm that day.

The phone call is super imposed on videos I took with Sarah Carr's flip camera.

One of the shots was taken by Youssef Faltas.

Quick comment on the Gallup poll

The Gallup poll on Egypt after Jan25 doesn't mention if the selection of face-to-face interviewees involved any form of randomisation. Yet, the American sample involved random digit dialling.

Information on the methods used is inadequate. We can't say the sample interviewed was representative and results generalisable without more information.

I hope they will publish something in the next few days with more details regarding the methodology.

الوضع في ميدان التحرير اليوم

حزين جدا أني لازم أنقل الوضع في التحرير للناس عن طريق المدونة، كان نفسي ناس أكثر تنزل و تشوف لكن الناس معتمده على تويتر والتليفيزيون.

المداخل مقفولة بالسلك الشائك و لكن الأرصفه مفتوحة للمشاه والدراجات العادية والبخارية. حوالين كل مدخل في بتاع 50 واحد أو أكثر داخلين في حوارات، ممكن الحوارات تسخن و يكون في زعيق أو زق. (ما شفتش زق غير على فيديو متصور امس).

الميدان مش مليان و مش فاضي. ممكن نقول أن عدد المتوجدين حوالي 2000 أو أكثر بقليل. منهم معتصمين، باعه جائلين، ناس بضان على موتسيكلات عاوزين يعدوا من الميدان ويطلعوا من الناحية التانية وملهومش دعوة بالأعتصام أو أن في مشاه في الطريق، ناس جيه تشوف الوضع، ناس جاية تقنع المعتصمين أنهم يمشوا و ناس جاية تساند وتدافع عن المعتصمين وصحفيين أجانب قليلين.

ما فيش إذاعة وناس ملمومة عليها زي زمان، الاذاعة الموجودة متكسرة، واحد من المعتصمين قال لي أن الجيش أستهدف تكسير السماعات بالقصد فجر السبت.

في عيادة صغيرة عبارة عن فرشة على الرصيف أمام كنتاكي لمجموعة من الدكاترة قاعدين على أسبتة خضار. كل شوية مجموعة كبيرة من الناس تجري عليهم شايلين شاب، كل اللي شفتهم عندهم أضطراب تحولي (من الآخر مغمى عليهم بسبب الضغط النفسي)

الضغط النفسي هو كل حاجة بيعانوا منها المعتصمين دلوقت، كل شوية يجروا على مدخل علشان في ناس عاوزة تشيل الاسلاك الشائكة أو المتاريس أو ناس عاوزة تضربهم. مانامش منهم حد في الكام يوم اللي فاتوا.

الحوارات الدايرة مع الناس اللي جاية عاوزة تمشيهم وقلة دعم من بقيت الناس والتيارات السياسة ليهم عامله لهم حرب نفسية. ناس تتهمهم أنهم مش شباب 25 يناير وناس تخونهم.

المعتصمين أغلبهم شباب صغير تحت ال30 في منهم في جامعة (و جامعات خاصة) وعمال، بس كتير منهم فقراء. وده سبب أن ناس كتيرة عماله تقول عليهم أشكال بلطجية وأتهامات من هذا القبيل. كأنهم خبراء في علم الفراسة يا خبيتكم.

شافوا الرعب فجر السبت وبالرغم من كدة عندهم من الشجاعة أنهم يكملوا أعتصامهم ويقفوا أمام كل الناس اللي قايمة بالواجب للمجلس العسكري ومطلعة عنيهم حوارات خايبانه، نصها مستفز وطبقي وناس قافله المنطق بتاعها علشان تمشيهم وخلاص، على حسب كلام واحد منهم في ناس بتتفهم وتقتنع وناس مش عاوزه تسمع أصلا.

Post-Jan25 in Minya

Since I am currently unemployed and wasting my time following the thousand or so tweets that appear every hour on my twitter account. I decided to spend time with my father getting paperwork related to several court cases done. These cases happen to be in Minya and they are related to few areas of land he refuses to give up.

The first post-Jan25 change noticeable is that in almost all villages you can see murals and graffiti honouring the martyrs and the youth of the revolution. The other thing, are the remains of illegal building on agricultural land, appearing as heap of broken down fresh white bricks in the middle of the green areas.

In the city of Minya, there are more visible signs of the state we are in. Empty hotels, intricate murals in English and Arabic about freedom, the martyrs and Egypt in all colours, army in front of government buildings, paid ads about the revolution asking people to say no to vandalism and one of the main squares in the city renamed from Midan Suzan Mubarak to Midan Shohada2(martyrs) 25 Jan. Probably renamed by the same governor who earlier renamed half of the city to Suzan Mubarak. Minya is the birthplace of the former first lady.

Otherwise, Minya didn't change much and what we've lived through in the past 3 months was mostly watched on TV. Except perhaps on the Jan 28th, I saw an armoured CSF vehicle with hundreds of tiny dents on it's body from stone throwing. Interestingly, the constant threat of thug attacks was very limited or unfelt.

What was more interesting is spending an afternoon discussing politics with people in the village of Rehana. Here is a quick summary in bullet points:

  1. Village men, some illiterate, understand politics more than people in Cairo expect them to be.
  2. Anyone affiliated to NDP and surprisingly the Muslim Brotherhood now have very little popularity.

No votes to university graduates

graph showing a positive correlation 0.78 between percentage of no votes in each governerate to the percentage of university graduates in each governerate

This chart means that the governerate with a higher percentage of university graduates is more likely to vote no in the last referendum.

You can access referendum results here.

Data from referendum will draw a new map of Egypt

It doesn't matter the outcome of the referendum. What matters is the detailed data that will come out. Given that fraud seems to be limited, the data may be very valuable.

Egypt at night from space

I think we can safely assume that most people who voted Yes were more convinced with ideas that are quite separate from the ideas of the No camp.

It's now common knowledge that the majority of the people who said Yes were basically people who were convinced by the arguments of the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists, remnants of the NDP, pro-stability and lets-just-get-the-country-back-to-normal-because-we-don't-really-know-anything mindset and for sure people who read the amendments and think they are good enough.

While the No people are mostly people who don't like the Muslim Brotherhood, or afraid of them, people who think that the amendments are not enough and aspire for a more radical change even if the cost a longer interim period. In short, a good percentage of people who were active as opposition on the ground since January 25 and on Facebook and Twitter.

I hope you got the idea. That these group are somehow sort of different to each other.

Assuming that most people did vote near to their homes. Which is another assumption but I doubt that there was a massive shuffle in the distribution of people across districts or perhaps governerates to let us say that this assumption is totally incorrect.

I think the detailed vote data, that will tell us the number of people who said Yes than No in each district, are incredibly important for presidential candidates and political parties. But let's focus on presidential candidates first.

Translation of a video testimony of a protester shot by the police on the 28th of January in Cairo

This a very quick translation of this video testimony that was sent to me. I think it is very important and moving.

The video is slightly graphic near the end.

My name is Mohammed el-Faramawy

I joined the marches on the Friday of Anger on the 28th of January. I had a first aid bag on my back, I took it with me to Tahrir square to treat the injured, at around 1 the army entered.

We were near the Shoura council and the army asked us to let a group of anti-riot policemen, they told us the policemen were afraid and we should let them pass so they can join other policemen near the ministry of interior so they can retreat and go back home as a group.

We made a cordon, so they can pass safely. They passed while we greeted them. As soon as they reached the other end, their police officer gave them ammunition and order them to shoot us in the back. They started shooting at everyone.

I ran, I ran with a colleagues and hid in Shoura council. We entered and security told us to hide in there and not to be afraid but from across the other end of the council someone related to the ministry of interior pointed his gun and told us to run away right now and leave or he will start shooting. We told him that they are shooting live ammunition and if we go back we will be shot.

He said I'll kill you and started shooting. We all ran away.
While running a police officer stopped us and told us to raise our arms and give him our backs. He had a shot gun. Suddenly, while giving him our backs I saw the man in front of me with a hole in his back and he dropped down dead in front of. He was martyred.

Afterwards, I tried to run away. A bullet entered my left hip. I fell to the ground and all my fellow protesters fell on top of me, exactly like dominoes or chickens falling on top of each others.

Torture and police, what now?

AlJazeera English Inside Story aired a 25 minutes interview with psychiatrist Dr. Ahmed Okasha, Hisham Safie Eldin a former police officer and Wael Omar a film maker about torture and the relationship between people and the police.

The program showed some footage of police officers and policemen protesting in the past few days. But didn't interview anyone from El Nadim centre for rehabilitation of victims of torture, which is the only centre in Egypt that worked in psychological and medical rehabilitation of victims of torture and police violence, documented incidents of torture through tens of publications and provides legal aid n(I worked there for 3 years).

Not even anyone from any human rights organisation who may have worked with victims of torture was interviewed.

This made the program overlook many aspects of why torture is systematic in the country and didn't mention any of the reports of torture in the hands of the military police that are being reported in the past few weeks.

Dr. Okasha attributed the problems to lack of trust between people and the police due to the previous practices of the police in the past. And that some officers enjoyed the torture as a form of sadism. He also went on saying that torture is enjoyable to torturers because of opiates released in the brain and so on.