It was the day of Tarek Shalaby’s trial. We were at that point compiling a list of contacts for the families of fellow detainees, when I saw Mohamed Radwan heading outside with a few other people. It was something about a family from Banha and their kids getting arrested or something, so I tagged along.
The mother, with other relatives, was sitting by a tiny grass area in front of a residential building by the Military Court and El Neyaba El 3askareyya. She started to say her story, and Radwan started to video record it:
Around 4:00 am on Wednesday she woke up to the sound of the door breaking, people shouting and someone with a uniform of brutality pointing a gun. In a few minutes span, her and her older sons house were destroyed, her 4 children were hand-cuffed and on the floor blindfolded with two rifles aiming at their heads. After immense screaming and beatings, they were taking their children, and by ‘they’ it was the police and the army –one hand!
The people living around them started throwing random stuff at ‘them’ only to see army shooting back at people…
Suddenly an army officer arrives and interrupts the intensity of the story by making us get into a brand new trip. Now he wanted to take Radwan into custody because he was filming the lady’s testimony!
Of course the lady and everyone witnessing the scene were furious about the situation Radwan suddenly was in. our attention shifted from how shitty the army dealt with the Banha situation, to our current Radwan situation. They fuck up, then they stopped us recording the testimony of their fuck ups, and now they wanted to take the person recording in. I guess that loop is endless with a lot of fucks and ups.
After everyone refused to let Radwan enter with the military police officer, we waited for higher rank to come to us. They agreed to delete the video in order to let Radwan leave.
It is again a media war, a war to win public opinion – isn’t it always? For some reason the army (and world wide and not just in Egypt) is seen as a macho man who is young, fierce and just. But that isn’t the case really. That brand identity didn’t come out of nowhere, it starts when we are young and we get a toy gun, and some army plastic toy. We grow up seeing statues to glorify the army, watching more
movies about the heroic moments of the army rather than the fuck ups of the army, although the fuck ups actually triumph in numbers.
And finally, we see army officials having so many ‘nayasheen’ (honorary medals) on their left nipple as if they have actually contributed to the country, while that shit hole that we are fighting to climb out from was created by a military coup back in 1952. For some people there is a distinction between the government that was ruling Egypt, and the army. As if they are two different things, while many governmental positions on all levels are recruited from -retired- army personnel, whether its the heads of city councils, the governors or even the president.
Although the army had an independent budget, a big chunk of its capital is from the American aid. This same American aid that is given to the army because of the government political (especially external affairs) and economic policies. So since the foundation a post monarch Egypt in 1952 the until today the army and the governing party are basically the same thing.
I heard actually a few people saying “our army is good, look at what is happening in Libya”. I refuse to thank the army -or anyone- for not committing genocide. Not because another employee in my department murder his daughter then I am suddenly a great employee just because I didnt’t kill anyone. It only makes me ‘not a lunatic’, nothing more.
Since the beginning some people saw that the army will not produce what the revolution needs and hold the values of our revolution. It will produce what it needs -given its current circumstances- and hold the values of the old regime. But since then, the army had a chain of fuck ups, that with each one more people started seeing that we are not heading the way we want. The chain of events that I think caused the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) to lose credibility are:
- Bringing ammunition to the riot police on January 28th;
- Leaving the camels move all the way from the pyramids and opening the way to them in Tahrir leading to Mawke3et el Gamal;
- Slow actions against state security and leaving documents to get burnt;
- Violence against protestors trying to protect the documents being burnt, and expose the fact that its being burnt;
- Slow actions against previous regime heads;
- The referendum, that split the opposition and later we found out it was totally unneeded. They already had a plan and don’t give two shits about our opinion;
- 9th of march violent clearing of Tahrir Square;
- Crack down on the media, back then they could criticize almost anyone but Mubarak, now they criticize almost anyone including Mubarak but not the SCAF;
- Military court and harsh sentences to activists and bloggers criticizing the SCAF;
- Killing of 3 army officers and violently clearing Tahrir sqaure on April 9th then later lying about the fact that they had anything to do with it and blaming Ibrahim Kamel;
- Not being able to charge previous regime heads and seeing them going in and out of jail; and
- Lastly, not acting quickly in the imbaba events, but being swift with violence used against peaceful protestors in front of the Israeli embassy.
Probably I forgot a few more. Although we know that ‘ma bonya 3ala batl fa howa batl’ and that the entity that was created and run by fucked up values can never produce something positive. We cannot afford to keep on fixing current problems when we need to get to the root of the problems. On May 27th we are hitting the street, everyone knows that the SCAF will continue on playing their game and give us a present Wednesday night in an attempt to dilute the effect of the coming protest, but I believe the Egyptian street is beyond small actions, and we realized that time is not on our side, and that we need to address the root of our problems not the outcome of our problems. And yeah by ‘problems’ I mean el giesh.