[This is a syndicated post from the blog: Talkin' From The Heart.]
It’s been a while since I wrote anything. Not because I have had nothing to say, far from it, I’ve probably had too much to say. The problems have been varied. Not enough time, not knowing how to say what I want to say, fear of saying something that could get distorted and twisted beyond all recognition, and having too many emotions built up around the things I have wanted to say. The emotions have been raw, painful and filled with anger, not always the best place to write from, especially when you want, as well as need, a positive outcome. Writing with these would normally be something I love to do, and can in fact aid the writing process. Not this time. This time clear thinking and composure has to be the order of the day.
There have been a number of events happening here in Egypt that have made my blood boil, tears spring to my eyes and left me in total disbelief in what humans are capable of doing to each other in what should be positive environments, and in a time when people should be working together to create a better future for themselves.
The titles of all these pieces I’ve wanted to write about have ranged from insults, pity filled pleas for help, sorrowful sob stories that would not be out of place on the book shelves I avoid like the plague. Sadly I also admit some have been arrogant fueled attacks, not a place I wish to visit! As I have not wanted to play into any of those I have avoided writing. I have avoided writing my book – with only one chapter left to write it could be done in less than a week. I have avoided writing about the situation here in Cairo, simply because I have not known how to express the emotions of rage, fear and disappointment. I have focused all my efforts on my new teaching career, something I have wanted ever since I can remember.
First there was the the continuing saga of the revolution. We all knew that something was bubbling under the surface, and that the army being in charge here was not a good thing. They were just stalling, are still stalling. The Egyptian people have trusted the army for too long, and now their trust has been broken. SCAF are the 2nd phase of cancer, with no remission in sight, for the Egyptian people. The refusal to assist their own families, school friends and countrymen to make Egypt a better place after Mubarak, has left a very bitter taste in their mouths of those Egyptians amongst us that actually do care about building people up and celebrating success together, instead of pulling each other down at any given opportunity, just to make themselves more powerful, more prestigious and more successful. SCAF have shown their selfishness and disturbing intentions on many occasions, and those still in support of them are those that are either gain from SCAF’s actions, or are amongst the illiterate millions that are fed lies and distortions by the old regimes long reaching arms; the secret police (who are so obvious sat along roadways drinking and chatting), State TV (Yes folks, it is still spreading lies to the people), and sadly those amongst the Egyptian people that ‘feel sorry’ for Mubarak “because he is an old man and like your grandfather”. He is NOT like your grandfather folks, and if he is, then God help you and your family!
We saw how the atrocities in Port Said materialised, and then were reported to be nothing more than football hooligans, akin to the actions of the old Mill Wall days. But what so many do not know is, this ‘atrocity’ was murder. Murder by SCAF. A revenge attack ‘best served sweet’ in retaliation to the ‘Day of the Camel’. It is bad enough that SCAF chose to lock the doors after they failed to remove the knives, scythes and a whole host of other weaponry, but what so many of you outside of Egypt, and many within Egypt do not know, is that these ‘hooligans’ were paid, by SCAF, to take the weapons into the football grounds to slaughter the fans of Egypt’s most beloved football team, Al Ahly. Egyptians love football like no other nation I know. My mother-in-law is one such Egyptian who stops almost everything to watch a game of football. Al Ahly are worshipped here in Egypt. SCAF fully understand this. SCAF knew the crowd numbers would be high. SCAF knew murdering Al Ahly fans would be one of the biggest insults to Egyptians they could possibly deliver. But they do not care. They care only about themselves, their power and their own desires. They failed to protect the very people who have trusted them for decades. They failed to honour the flowers, the hugs, the respect given to the army during the days of Tahrir in January and February last year. They have failed the Egyptian people in so many ways.
I have delayed writing about this for many reasons. One reason is simply a nervous reaction due to an unfair and unjust comment made by someone last year about my involvement in the protests. The person concerned couldn’t grasp the concept that someone who wasn’t born Egyptian, wanted the same rights for Egyptians that she wanted for herself. They couldn’t grasp that someone not born to Egyptian parents would be willing to stand with the Egyptians and tell the story of the many Egyptians that she knows and loves, family, friends and students. The person is happy I embraced Islam but God forbid I embrace Egypt as my home! I also felt that I didn’t know enough about the situation to tell the awful story that unfolded, but after weeks of talking, researching and checking, it became very clear that whilst every one reporting on it could do so easily due to their mother tongue being Arabic, I had to translate, understand and ask for help on many occasions. For those of us who struggle to read Arabic and understand the language spoken with such deep passion and speed, as has been the right and proper was to speak about the goings on here in Egypt, life here in Egypt has left many of us feeling blind, deaf and sometimes outcast and unwanted. Suspicions, jealousy, and deep rooted resentments have risen their ugly heads and affected people on such deep levels, it is hard to know who to trust and where to get reliable information from. What really is happening in Egypt? Are the things we hear just rumours and truths twisted for the individuals gain? Are the people feeding us images and news reports really the people we should be trusting?
I have wanted to explain so much but have no words to capture the reality of what has been happening. I have wanted to inform and educate. I have wanted to destroy those who have worked so hard over the last few months to destroy their country and those that live here. I have also wanted to lash out at those who have taken part in one of the worst cases of organisational bullying I have ever witnessed… and sadly I was the target.
It hasn’t helped talking about any of it, because talking about it just didn’t make sense. None of the situations I have faced as an individual, or as a member of Egyptian society have made any sense, especially not to those with any heart, intelligence and sense of human nature. So many of my friends and I have been left speechless at the massacre SCAF inflicted on the Egyptians at the Al Ahly game in Port Said. The slaughter of innocent people in the street by the Egyptian police left me feeling physically sick.
The situation I have personally found myself in has shocked me to the core. Some of the despicable behaviours, born out of selfish, insecure desires to succeed, and be accepted by the wider community, has been an eye opener for me; never before have I seen it manifested so deeply in one organisation. I started to distrust everybody, even those who I knew deep down would never betray me. I was managed out due to a severe case of Tall Poppy Syndrome, very sad considering the actions of these individuals would affect the lives of 22 innocent children. The jealousy gripped these sad, adult individuals was like an aggressive form of Lymphoma – one of the most aggressive cancers there is. What made it worse for me was the fact that many wore hijaab and they simply don’t understand what it means to wear it. They insult hijaab.
I still find myself in a position where I cannot talk about what happened openly. You’d think that having always been someone who is an activist for Human Rights and Freedom of Speech, it would not be a problem for me, but I guess I have learnt to see a much bigger picture. I need to make sure certain things are in place and certain things are dealt with before I start the next battle in the war for what is right, and the bigger issue of transforming education here in Egypt.
One of the good things that has come out of all of these things in the last 6 months is I have applied to do a Master’s Degree in Leading Innovation and Change, focusing on Education. Having seen just how bad things are here in Cairo and across the country, I feel like I have a new mission in life. I was once told to find a project worthy of my life. I think I have finally found it. I have always loved children, I have always wanted to teach and I have always led by example. The problem with this is that when you have integrity and do what you say you will do, and make amends for the things you couldn’t do when you said you would do it, is you simply end up being the target of jealousy. A dear friend shared something with me recently that her grandmother told her when she was younger “People never throw sticks at empty apple trees”. There have been other good things too. I have learnt to appreciate good people and the things I have in my life even more than I did before. I have realised just how much so many people appreciated my efforts. I was supported by my friends, those nearby and those across the globe, with messages of encouragement, love and reminders of who I am and what I stand for.
I have learnt a lot. Been blessed with more. In the next couple of months I will share what has been happening, but for now, my mind is focused on writing something else connected to ICT and education, as well as organising and putting on an event to empower women here in Cairo.
Right now though millions of Egyptians and I are wondering what the next month will hold for the future of Egypt. As a presenter on one of the TV programmes here in Egypt said “we are faced with a choice between a little devil and a big devil”. Life is full of choices, we have all just got to be smart and choose the best choice out of bad choices, and make that choice work.