Before publishing a more academic paper about the collective actions used in Lebanon in 2005 and in Egypt in 2011, a comparison I took from my book about the Lebanese spring in 2005, or what has been called the Cedar revolution, I would like to shed light and to circulate a text by Chirine El Ansary an Egyptian Woman, and mother…
I will let you read her text, I pasted below.
“The protestors are still on Tahrir square and they
will remain there until the departure of Hosni
Mubarak. Thousands of Egyptians streaming
towards the square to support the freedom
activists ; men and women who would never have
imagined themselves taking part in a revolution.
My father, my mother, my brother, my aunt, my
cousins, all honourable members of the bourgeoisie,
walked to Tahrir Square. They went to offer help
and support to those who defy dictatorship,
claiming freedom and dignity for all. Freedom yes,
but not this fake freedom that hangs on a piece of
cloth, a skirt too short or too long , a full veil or a
head scarf, not the freedom one might feel when in
possession of a cell phone or an email address. Real
Freedom, commanded by human sanctity.
You send me messages asking for explanations on
what is taking place in Egypt. Often you have your
opinion : A column you have read with enthusiasm,
a TV show that left you doubtful , your own theories
on world politics.
It is not easy to speak or write. I would rather be
there. Unfortunately I did not have that chance. I
did not see it with my own eyes, only dreamt it for
I struggle to write, but it is necessary that this
revolution be justly valued : a peaceful movement,
dignified, secular and fair.
An uprising against the prevailing rule of the
strongest enslaving peoples.
So here I am in an attempt to answer your questions
and react to your comments
You say : Egyptians are fighting each other pro or
against Moubarak, they are incapable of protesting
No comment : if you do your duty as world citizens
you have informed yourselves well enough to know
that the pro-Moubarak protestors are thugs paid to
do the filthy job and spread pannick.If not, then I
trust that you will remain silent.
You often ask : « What is your parents opinion? »
My parents go to Tahrir Square, they want the
protestors to remain until the departure of
Moubarak and the collapse of the regime, without
compromises. They want to honour the hundreds of
victims killed in cold blood. They bring food and
medical supplies. They are proud and hopeful.
Your most pressing question : « but what about the
rise of Islamism-the muslim-brotherhood-sharialaw-
and-Iran » (to be uttered in one breath )
On Tahrir Square today, Islamism is referred to as
« the scarecrow », and this is my answer in a few
1°/ an absurd little scenario : Sarkozy holds on to
power with a bit of Super Glue and lots of
corruption, an international pressure is exerted to
secure his presidency. Why ? If it is not Sarkozy it
may be Marine Le Pen and that would seriously
endanger European stability.
Why accept for others what would be unacceptable
(and ridiculous) for you ?
2°/ Islamism is a universal threat,. It is through
freedom, dignity and justice that we can fill the gaps
that allow any kind of extremism.
3°/ The Muslim Brothers are not fundamentalists,
they are : The Muslim Brothers (!) a political party
and have not been responsible for any act of
violence for 50 years.
Words can start wars . a few days ago I read
« Indonesian church bombed by Muslims ».Those
who deliberately cause the death of innocents are
usually referred to as criminals.
Sharia a word hammered day in day out, used as
if it was an insult. But how many know the actual
Al Sharia, what the implications of its
thorough application would be ? For a deeper
Al Sharia off to your National
Library, for once avoid Wikipedia.
5°/ I find it hard to understand the recurrent
comparison with Iran.
Iran revolution took place in 1979, we are in 2011
way into the 21st century. Egypt revolution was
triggered by quite an elaborate use of the internet.
Though I am « only » 40, I feel already old compared
to the young people who started the uprising. Some
Egyptian influential figures find it hard to
understand what is unfolding in Egypt ; the tools of
the century are alien to them.
In Egypt Sunni Islam is practiced in Iran it is Shi’a
which implies a completely different social
Egypt is a republic and we had four presidents
already. Before revolution broke, Iran was an
absolute monarchy. Ayatollah Khomeini was in
exile, he even spent time in France, he rushed to
Iran to lead an Islamic revolution he was
secretly (?) preparing.
Finally I am amused to notice that Egypt is also
compared to Tunisia, with such leaps we quickly
Why ? because in the three countries there is a great
majority of Muslims ? Should we then draw
comparisons between Brazil and Austria ?
You fear an Islamic government and what it might
impose on the people. Don’t you fear what the
Moubarak regime has been imposing on Egyptians
for 30 years ? Most of us have suffered direct or
indirect consequences of that regime ; too many
dark stories. Following the death of a Suisse
photographer a few years ago we, a few caireen
« marginals », discovered that all our actions were
reported. We were wrong in thinking that we
enjoyed a kind freedom. Our life style was tolerated
only because it could be turned against us if
« necessary ».
In an islamist regime a woman can be stoned if she
commits adultery. In Moubarak regime a young
actress can be arrested on charges of prostitution to
cover up for a national crisis, a university professor
can be divorced from his wife by force on charges of
blasphemy, a young woman can be dragged to the
police station because she pressed too closely
against her fiancé, female protestors have been
raped by police officers in plain clothes with the
blessing of the Ministry of Interior. Let us stop here,
the list is long and morbid.
A sickening medley of prejudices based on facts and
An Egyptian airline pilot whispers the shehada
« there is no other God but God and Mohammad is
God’s prophet ». He is said to have deliberately
caused the crash of his plane and is posthumously
accused of terrorism.
Egyptians are praying on Tahrir Square in front of
police cars: « See how they are, all fundamentalists ».
Same reaction when it comes to those who claim:
Allaho Akbar ! Those who scream that they only
fear God and will not kneel before any human being,
those who say thank God or if God wills.
Most Egyptians are pious. This piety bestows upon
them a great humility and is not an indication of
fanaticism. On the other hand some use these
formulas compulsively, others out of spirituality. A
wide range of people and numerous ways of
belonging to the Muslim culture… like in any other
culture, but do I really need to explain that?
Building bridges between cultures
, this expression
was so fashionable a few years ago. These bridges we
revel in rise above valleys, mounts and prairies that
caress one another, rise or spread against each
other. I always thought « why not ignore the bridges
and step on the wild grass, at human scale, climb up
and down, admire the ever changing scenery and
finally reach the Other?
Allowing myself a generalization, I present you with
exotic flower: on this other side of the world, the
mirror tends to reflect a human being who is
conscious of his/her ineluctable end and who does
not live in the illusion of his/her supremacy .
But no more generalizations : « look at him, the
man clutching at his throne.
A tin Pharaoh who thinks he is eternal. He does not
say « if God wills » he says « if I will and I will », he
doesn’t murmur « thank God » but « thank Me for I
am Me and there is no other Me but Me ». He prays
in front of his mirror and is ecstatic to see a divinity
He defies the law of nature and gets rid of the Angel
of Death by sending it to Tahrir Square.
Respect and support to those who shout at the top of
their voices: « No!»”.