Thursday, March 31, 2011

Revolutionary Egyptian In New York

I was really hesitant to blog about politics… First, I didn’t want to get arrested at the airport and be subjected to body search and electrocution. But really, what stopped me is FEAR of RIDICULE. Simple and clear!

I thought and still think we’re all political amateurs; brought together to share a game but we barely know its rules. We know we broke its old rules. We know those didn’t work well for us and the game was neither just, nor fun in the end. We know the old rules discouraged many and left us all quite ignorant and apathetic. And we know we have just created a chance to make up our own rules. The only problem is…. We’re too many, and we’re too loud and we’re still too ignorant. But very few concede!

The thing is.. I need to be 10 years younger to really break into this virtual world and mould it to my will. But I have the leverage of having a foot in each generation.

I’m a revolutionary girl at heart and when people say, it’s the youth revolution, I nod my head in agreement. In my mind, I’m included!

But I’m also a mother.. This alone, empowers me and gives me the credibility no teen-ager can amass. You see… just by virtue of being a mom, I have to think selflessly. I want the best for my kids. I want freedom, justice, a good living standard, education.. most of all, I want hope!

But I’m also young enough, to want all that for ME!.. I want to breathe Freedom, to speak Honesty, to work Justice. And I want to reap the ROI in my lifetime…
I leave the big problems of democracy and autocracy and technocracy and all this revolution lingo that I can barely understand, to the experts and I tackle the issues that concern me directly.. namely EXPATS' RIGHT TO VOTE.

Two months into the revolution, I think it’s time to write about the things that will change the course of my life..

When I went back to Cairo to protest, I went looking for my voice.. Luckily I found it in Tahrir Square… I wasn’t sure I had much to say but I chanted and screamed anyway. I was happy with my new-found power.

Today, I’m not searching for a voice any longer, I’m searching for something to say. I got my voice back.. the question is: what do I do with it?

My options are clear:
- I can spend hours furiously debating with my virtual friends on FB and Twitter and Skype.. But as the March 19th referendum has shown: my virtual community accounts for less than a third of the Egyptian population. Besides, they’re already sold to my ideologies and judging by the fact that I still can’t vote from afar… we don’t have much leverage when it comes to influencing public opinion.

- I can join a party and start rallying for support. I don’t mind especially that one specific party has already lured me in with its liberal ideology and very charismatic leaders. But will that be an effective utilization of my skills and resources? Especially that I don’t live in Egypt?

- I can launch a campaign to allow expats to vote. Now that’s a start…

If I could gather a group of friends, living in and around New York City..

If I could brainstorm with them on messages we want to send out, what would we say?

- We are Egyptian
- We have a voice
- We want to vote because.. We can… and We should
- It’s not just our right… it’s our responsibility.. it’s the price we pay for democracy!


  1. Never hesitate. You are the true example of a patriot. Your voice is already resonating, and yes, you will be able to vote... Believe...

  2. After you described to me how women are treated by men in Egypt a question came to my mind I hope you don’t find offensive: does a society, in which men treat women as second class citizens, “deserve” democracy?

    Of course everybody deserves democracy, but it just seems odd to me that people are demanding something from the government (or here: military) they don’t even offer among peers.

  3. If Democracy were handed to Egypt on a silver platter, I would say No we don't... but after witnessing the revolution unfold and observing how women and girls were welcomed on the frontlines and have galavanized large non homogeneous groups towards the same goal.. I'd say Yes.. we deserve it.. we worked for it and we earned it.. But that only reflects the views of 4-5 million who took to the streets on Jan 25 and the days that followed... more work needs to be done on the villages and marginalized community levels; to spread awareness and fight deep rooted prejudices and gender discrimination. You can't condemn a society if it has manifested a strong desire to spring to life and change. You have to cheer its efforts and applaud every little step it takes towards achieving that goal. And we've only just begun! so far, I'd modestly say, it was quite an impressive show :)