Thursday, November 20, 2014

Will you let me walk with you?

I don’t know about where you come from, I don’t know where you are going. I really have no idea whether you have family or loved ones waiting for you, or whether they abandoned you, or you abandoned them, or whether you never had any significant loved ones to speak of. I doubt it, really. Everyone has someone they love and care about. I hope you still have them.

When I look at you I don’t really care about your financial status, about your present and past worries, but I am sure you must have walked through your own battlefield and have come out right here. I believe everyone has their own story, which, if written down properly, would be ten times more interesting than most of the novels I have read.  So must be yours.

I don’t know about whom you could have hurt, or what blows you may have been dealt. Neither can I tell from your walk what has built you and what has completely destroyed you. But nothing could have completely destroyed you, because you have made it that far. You have walked all the way here, and you have made sure to have someone to walk alongside with you.

I too want to someday walk like this when I have done my part. When I have had my share of sad and happy moments, and when I have had my part in life’s ride. I don’t want to do that now, but someday I want to know I have fought my battles, lost what had to be lost, and walked tall where it mattered. May be by then I could have made sense of it all. Or not. Or may be I could have learned to stop caring about making sense of everything.

When I walk down that  road I want to know I have lived a full life, and by then I would like confusion and regret to have subsided, only to be replaced by a serene walk.
I wish you bliss and peace on your walk. I will keep running until I get there.

Keep walking


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lest we are forgotten

Please be warned: This is not an objective, political, or halfway knowledgeable post. This is emotional and slightly dramatic too. 

I am writing this piece following a post I wrote on Facebook to all my beautiful friends all over the world saying: 

"To my beautiful friends all over the globe. I enjoy reading your updates and seeing pictures of pretty places, nice things, barbeques, hikes, dogs, and long winding roads, things that people see and do when life is alright. But for now I'm worried about the country that I've loved and enjoyed for so long. Worried that life as I know it may have changed for me and my children and my loved ones.
Worried, that we may have started or own long and winding road..down a long, dark tunnel. So while I wish you never ending bliss and happiness, I hope you keep us in your thoughts and understand why your Egyptian fb friends have such gloomy updates. I know you do understand, but I just wanted to share this with you". 

This was driven by memories of a time where most of us Egyptian were made to believe that we were may be part of one of the most important countries in the world. Times like January and February 2011, where coverage of Egypt was the only thing that BBC, CNN, or any international news channel, newspaper, or any sort of media could afford to run. They were reporting about nothing but Egypt, sometimes even uninterrupted by commercial breaks. It was our marathon, and they were cheering us on. Our run to reach out for a better future, and they were telling us that they believed in us, or so we believed. We thought we were getting rid of an unjust ruler, thought that we are starting our dash into a better world, where everything else would just fall into place. 

These thoughts were not shared by everyone, and there were other Egyptian who were worried that we were heading into disaster, similar to the disaster we are running into now. While international statesmen (and women) were talking about the grandiose revolution and about the marvelous Egyptian people, we kept finding more and more verification.  But then things started going sour. We were struggling with the threat of a military dictatorship, and now even worse, with the threat of being taken over by a religious regime that has seen injustice over its years , and has shown no promise of not inflicting the same injustice on us.

We are not few, we are plenty, we are still learning, and this time our fight isn't just against injustice and for democracy and social justice and more progress. This time we fear that our whole life as we have ever known it, is coming to a screeching halt. We are faced with horrible scenarios, we are made to believe that we are an infidel minority, although most of us are good believers (although that is irrelevant, really), and we have always lived in a good degree of peace and warmth. We are more in numbers and stronger than we are made to believe- everyday, by angry and self-righteous alleged men of faith. 

We are all brothers and sisters, but now a divide has been driven amidst us. I have had the opportunity to spend time with those people who are told that we want to put an end to Islam. They too are kind people, they too are made to believe that they have an existential war to fight lest they be exterminated, overruled, or made to live in our world of hideous sinfulness.

A little under two years after we had our revolution, and after being celebrated worldwide, we now feel that we are alone, that we have to fight this alone. We don't want anything from you, dear world, but we want our demands to be left without insult and denigration. No, the Guardian newspaper, and the likes, have no right to tell us that we are a tiny little minority that lacks the necessary maturity to accept the democracy and the rule of law. No, you don't have the right to put down our demands of a one Egypt with a constitution that will represent and give justice to Egyptians of all walks of life. Yes, we are unhappy, furious even, that our demands for justice and transparency and respect are being steamrolled, while some international media look down at us trying to explain away what is happening in Egypt, as if they were totally oblivious to a religious regime shoving limiting laws and a constitution down our throats that was approved and drafted at dead of night by them, and only them . 
No, dear world, we ask nothing of you, but please have the necessary respect to get the facts straight.
As for my beautiful friends all over the globe, please keep us in your thoughts, and pray with us for better times. 


Monday, August 13, 2012

Predictions on the age of incompetence

In a surprise announcement, the President of Egypt removed the Chief and prominent members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, annulled the constitutional declaration earlier issued by the latter, and asserted his own power, thereby moving from President with slightly limited powers to President with excess power, including the legislative authority.

Strangely enough, I predicted it would happen. Driven by that fact, I will make some more predictions. Instead of analyzing why things happened, claiming to know  insider information, or possess exceptional predictive ability, I just decided to use some common sense in trying to figure out how things will work out. Having said that, I would gladly be proven wrong on most of them.

To me, the whole thing boils down to ability. That is where my prediction on the fading away of SCAF emanated from. Not because the people would bring them down, not because poetic justice would fall on them, but because, regardless of how many international PR agencies they may have hired, I simply do not think they had it in them to scheme and plot as well as we liked to believe.
I know I will strike some disagreement cord here, but let's face it:  
Geriatrics aren't always outstanding candidates to cope with extremely volatile political environments, and even if driven by self preservation, they eventually become exhausted and not able to put up a fight. Keep in mind that this was not a state-of-the-art council in deciding all things relating to the army, and you will realize they would of course lose the will, and support from the lower ranks, to fight for their privileges.

So some inability or incompetence, coupled with lack of support for them because of that incompetence, and you get the picture. SCAF looks like it is shriveling in terms of political importance.

Muslim Brothers:
This time you would expect me not to talk about incompetence, because they have won the parliamentary and presidential election, have now apparently sidelined SCAF,  and are increasing their grip on power day by day. Not so fast. At a highly turbulent time, with the economy practically in shambles, they still haven't done anything to show that they can help drive Egypt forward. No quick wins, and no long term strategy so far. I really hope I am very wrong, but there is that incompetence coupled with a grip on power, reminiscent of the old days, that doesn't give me the feeling that we are heading anywhere constructive. 

Incompetence overshadowed by popular wins will keep them going for a while to come, but they will not be as powerful as they are now vis a vis the President.

The Parliament:
The essence of incompetence and inability is housed under that dome. Particularly under the previous stellar group of members, the behaviour of the parliament has been extremely poor at best.  Nevertheless it is the legislative body that the more liberal civil forces in Egypt should be interested in playing a part in.
But because of the lack of a better alternative, and because of the incompetence or inability of the secular forces alongside the incompetence of the Islamists, I see no reason that should indicate anything will change.

If anything will change, it is that Parliament may become even more dominated by Islamists. 

The President:
I expect him to benefit from the incompetence of everyone around him. While everything around him is helping him become more confident, and street support for the Muslim Brotherhood automatically is channeled to him, it is only a matter of time until he realizes that he does not have to live subdued by the organization, but that he should get the place he deserves. We make pharaohs, and we make them fast, and he won't really be any exception.

While he has, together with the Muslim Brotherhood, sidelined SCAF (apparently), he will now more single-handedly sideline the Brotherhood.

Now how do you counter incompetence and inability? Through consistent, educated, and honest action. I don't have the answers, but I think it lies in a completely different work ethic (in the political, economic, and social arena) and a lot more discipline and thinking to overcome our modern heritage of incompetence. May be, just may be, after all the screaming, blaming, philosphizing, and whining is done we could start doing something for real.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The message should be to all, not just to the kanaba

Today I read a piece by Mahmoud Salem (Sandmonkey) in his clear style and with well expressed thoughts, which basically calls upon the intelligent and clear sighted of the former shafiqistas and kanaba to join in changing the realities and fighting the threats which Egypt is facing now. He further calls upon them to stop putting their faith in SCAF as their saviour, and instead take things into their own hands, and join forces with other players.
While I agree with what Mahmoud says,   I think he should have not just addressed the Shafiqistas and the kanabas, but rather calling everyone to come to their senses and to understand what is at stake. The problem and the threats, existential at this point, are far beyond allowing any of the sides in Egypt to assume righteousness. Unfortunately many revolutionaries have a lot of blame to take.

While all the foregone conclusions about the kanaba and the shafiqistas may very well be true, the article doesn't touch upon the repeated failures or shortcoming of those who set out to change anything in this country - and here I am applying some self-criticsm as well. The failures on this side have been due to a number of reasons, including misalignment, wrong priorities, and a lot of ego, amongst many other things. To set it straight, we should really work to highlight and identify the main issues that will get people's buy-in and support. Unfortunately, the issues are plenty:

- a Constitution that threatens to be completely skewed toward a sector of society and ignoring all the others

- A social setup threatening to be changed completely with uncontrolled social dynamics that the authorities don't want any role in curbing, for whatever reason

- Personal freedoms and liberties, quite often underrated in the name of the revolution, are also under heavy threat without any of us doing anything about them

and the list goes on, but what I think I am trying to say is: move on, protect Egypt from a plethora of existential threats, and don't assume righteousness. Also, while we are at it, let's also pledge not to go stand in front of embassies and endless other useless endeavours to weaken our case even further ..
P.S: The link to the original article can be found here :

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It is their fault indeed

This little piece is inspired by a response I wrote to a wonderfully eloquent piece written by someone I have a lot of respect for, who was basically advocating hope, and the idea that there is no turning back because the good Egyptians with no ulterior motives have learned their lessons and will move on to create something better than what those elections are providing for us.

Dear Hassan ,

this, like so many of your other writings, shows strength, vision, and hope. I believe if we did have more people like the ones described by you as "We, the people of Egypt who love our country with no ulterior personal motive" , then there would be less reason for worry, and a lot more justification for overwhelming hope.

We are not up against a formidable enemy or two, but rather a senile and ignorant one who is driven by greed. But the real problem lies not just in them, because they are acting rather predictably, but it is in the people who speak on our behalf (we must eventually have someone speaking on our behalf, don't we?). Is it their ignorance, their own personal ambition, or their sickening fragmentation that fails to deliver that is needed?

Who, I ask myself, is reiterating any credible and consistent message within our current sickening political atmosphere? Why is it always at the 13th, not even at the 11th hour, that the political revolutionary forces  unite, and when they do, they come up with very fragmented statements. Why are dogma and overarching political statements more important than coming up with a strong working formula that people. A formula that people can see the merit of, evaluate, and rally behind (not necessarily in that order). Our ammunition is popular support, spirit, as well as reason and good judgment, and we continue to waste our ammunition and then blame the others for giving us fake targets to shoot at. To name just a couple of senseless examples, a couple of embassies, a Abbaseya that they rallied behind like lemmings led to their own demise.

And now. Why can't we for a change waste more time on pragmatism, on being clear and concise in our requests. Tahrir now, I agree, but for the love of Egypt,  find someone who would step up and say what it is that we need to do now. Should we rally against the court verdict, for the disenfranchisement law, for political reform, for annullment of the elections, for a triumvirate (the Presidential Council) or are we just rallying to express our  anger and discontentment? While the Presidential Council personally sounds like an appealing thought to me, I have not heard any suggestions that make it more plausible or reasonable. Things like mechanisms of choosing the council (beyond me is of course how they want to choose one of the presidential candidates that got around 0.1% of the votes), or working out and explaining more details for how such a council would function. (good reading for me was the much talked about Kourt Debeuf in his blog about "how to safeguard the Egyptian Revolution.
Has the educational system, or the lack thereof, left its imprint on us to the point where we are doomed to dogma instead?

I love the revolution for what it can do, but not for how we have handled it so far. I could go on forever, but the real challenge, unfortunately, is us.


Friday, May 6, 2011

On one insignificant day in Egypt's history

On a seemingly insignificant day in Egypt’s history I stopped believing in their ability to conspire against us ..
There was one day that said it all to me. That one day in Egypt’s history that screamed at me ‘’don’t trust in anything they tell you’’ – ‘’they are so much more incompetent than you would ever believe’’.  This was the day when I stopped believing in the system’s ability to protect us, to improve us, even to plot against us. People would sometimes tell me that are some incredible knowledgeable and cunning institutions in Egypt that know exactly what is going to happen, yet somewhere in the year 2004 I lost all faith in the ability of the system.
This loss of faith was not driven by increasing poverty, or people dying in one of Egypt’s many blunders, not a few ships here and there drowning and taking with them thousands of lives and going unpunished. No, it was something so much more trivial than that.
It was the day Egypt got the first Zero in the history of the world in trying to host the World Cup 2010.  Other countries either realize they will fail and do so more gracefully by pulling out, or they make a good run for it and either win or at least obtain a few votes. Libya belonged to the former, and South Africa belonged to the latter. Imagine the Libyan leadership under Gaddafi being wiser than ours, and realizing it should pull out, while our government did nothing but tell us that we stood a good chance for winning the bid.
Just think about the amount of political capital they put behind it, the amount of money and PR, internal PR, which was made around the qualification only to end in denial and loss. Needless to say the man in charge of the campaign was made Minister and stayed Minister till recently.
This was a smaller and lighter blunder in the system’s history that proves how weak, ill informed, incapable, and unwise it really was. Unless they were plotting to show ultimate inefficiency to the whole world so that nobody would ever suspect something smart coming out of them .. then that at least would have been smart.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

رسالة الى القائمين على مصر - ومن حضر العفريت فليصرفه

الي السادة القائمين على مصر

بعد التحية

نظراً للفترة الهامة الحرجة التي تمر بها مصر في هذه الآونة ، ونظراً لكوني مجرد مواطن مصري مراقب

: ومهتم بشئون بلادي فسوف أحاول أن أوجز قدر الامكان فيما أطرحه على سيادتكم من أمور رأيت أنها تشغل بال الكثيرين وبعض ملاحظاتي المتواضعة عليها

١- عن الحوار الديني والفوضى
من المثير للإهتمام أنه وبالرغم من الأهمية القصوى للإعلام في مصر هذه الأيام – فتخرج علينا شتى الأطياف الدينية لتسيطر على الساحة بكل قبحها للتأكيد على رغبتها في السيطرة والإفزاع لتغيير كل ما يميز مجتمعنا من سماحة وتناغم
أياً كان فإني لا أتصور أن يخرج علينا قتلة السادات ويفرغ لهم مساحة إعلامية لا يستحقونها – سؤالنا جميعاً هو لماذا؟
كما أنه لا يعقل أن يستطيع أفراد من الشعب السيطرة على المناطق الحيوية لمحافظة قنا احتجاجاً على تعيين محافظ عليه تحفظات تتعدى كونه مسيحياً لتاريخ سياسي غير مقبول لدى الكثيرين، وفي آخر الأمر يتم حل الفوضي بطريقة
تهدد هيبة الدولة في نفس الوقت التي لا تظهر فيه تحركاً جاداً نحو الديمقراطية السليمة

وما يثير دهشة الجماهير هو كيف عمت الفوضى ليصل الموقف لدرجة أن يمنع السلفيون أو أياً كانت الأسماء التي
أطلقوها على أنفسهم – أن يمنعوا إمام مسجد النور وهو ممثل الدولة من إعتلاء المنبر لسابع أسبوع على التوالي؟
أنا على يقين أنكم تدركون مدى خطورة الرسالة التي تصل لكل بيت في مصر وما فيها من تأكيد
على أن البلطجة باسم الدين سوف تبلغ ذروتها في الفترة القادمة

٢- عن الحسم والسرعة
نعرف جميعاً حجم الأعباء على عاتق كل القائمين على حكم مصر إلا أنه بات واضحاً وبالتجربة العملية منذ ٢٥ يناير أن من أكثر ما أضعف وجود النظام السابق هو عدم القدرة على الإستجابة الفعالة والسريعة لمطالب الشعب بشكل مناسب يضمن الحقوق المشروعة للشعب دون زيادة البلبلة –

لذا بدلاً من تعليق عمل المحافظ لمدة ثلاثة أشهر كان من الممكن تفادي هذا الموقف بتوخي الحذر عند إختيار محافظ قبطي ليكون فوق مستوى الشبهات وحتى اذا حدث الخطأ فقد يكون من المفيد ان يتم معه الحسم – الحسم إما في اقصاء المحافظ أو منع استيلاء المتظاهرين من الاستيلاء على المؤسسات الحيوية والتهديد بقطع الخدمات الاساسية أو الاثنين معاً

مهما تكلف الامر فان أكثر ما سوف يضعف هذه الدولة هو عدم الوضوح التي يتم بها التعامل مع مختلف التحديات – فتسمح الدولة للمخبولين بالسيطرة على المنابر الاساسية في الوقت الذي تلقي القبض على اساتذة العلوم السياسية في الجامعات المحترمة والناشطين الأبرياء – مرة أخرى : ما هي الرسالة المراد ايصالها؟

!٣- من حضر العفريت عليه أن يصرفه
قد يكون إطلاق الزمام للمتطرفين غرضه إظهار حجم الخطر الذي من الممكن أن يمثلونه إذا ما لعبوا دوراً أكثر أهمية في الحياة السياسية – فأنا ومن منطلق يقيني من اهتمامكم بهذا الوطن أتمنى أنه اذا كان هذا هو المقصود – أن يكون النظام الحالي قادر على صرف هذا العفريت في الوقت المناسب وقبل أن يعيث فساداً

٤- عن لقمة العيش
جل ما يهم المواطن البسيط والمستنير والغني والفقير هو أن يعيش حياة كريمة فقد تجدون سيادتكم مناسباً أن تشاركونا بمزيد من الشفافية في الخطط المباشرة وتحيطونا بالحقائق الاقتصادية علماً حتى نعرف الى أين نحن متجهين وما هي التوقعات الواقعية للمستقبل القريب والمتوسط والبعيد المدى

٤- الحياة السياسية:
شغلنا جميعاً بما يأكله ويلبسه مسئولو النظام السابق المحتجزون ونسينا الاوليات السياسية التي لابد وأن يتعاطى معها الشعب والقوى الساسية في أقرب وقت ممكن لاهميتها القصوى في تحديد مصير البلاد

أما فيما يتعلق بالمحاكمات فنتمني من الله أن تتسم بالشفافية والحسم والسرعة والحق الذي يقسم عليه القضاء حتى لا ينتهي بنا الأمر وقد استبدلنا عصراً مظلماً بعصر من الغموض الذي سوف يبعث على عظيم القلق على المدى البعيد   ولا اكتب هذا تبرئة لاحد ولا ادانة لهم – فالمدان يدان والبرىء يطلق وكله بالقانون حتى تعلو مصر كدولة القانون ،  
والعدالة بلا أي عبث وبالرغم من حجم الجرائم التي اقترفها الكثيرون في حق مصر فانه اصبح ضرورياً أن نضع إطاراً يحاكم المخطئ بشفافية ويجرم التشهير بالبريء حتى لا نخلق مناخاً يجعل كل أصحاب الأموال يسارعون بالهروب خارج مصر للنجاة من الوقوع كإحدى ضحايا "العدالة الثورية " والتي جعلت  وسائل اعلام رسمية تخرج علينا بين عشية وضحاها منذرة بنفس الظلم والمغالطة المعتادين ولكن بتغيير في الهدف والتوجه السياسي    

الصورة الأشمل
قد تجدون سيادتم جميعاً وضع تصور جاد مع مختلف الأطياف السياسية دون التركيز على مجموعة بعينها لشكل المرحلة المقبلة في تطور مصر السياسي والاقتصادي والاجتماعي، وحتى لا تنقلب التجربة لتدريب فلسفي لسنا في حاجة إليه، فقد ترون أيضا وجوبية أن تساعد المجموعات هذه في وضع تصور للتعامل مع الأزمات نثل هذه التي تواجهنا في الأسابيع الماضية

وختاماً قد يتفق معي البعض او يختلف وما هذه الا آراء موان من ٨٥ مليوم مواطن يهمهم أمر مصر كما يهمكم ويشغل بالكم

مع الشكر والاحترام
مواطن زياد مراد