Sunday, May 29, 2005

Black Wednesday

I pointed out in my previous post to an example of a woman who was assaulted in last Wednesday's protest. I also published the statement (English translation here) that is announcing the plans to have a mourning day this Wednesday in protest against how Egyptian women were assaulted by the regime thugs under the watch of the Police. The statement is encouraging people to wear black and go about their normal day, and the single demand of that day is for the Minister of Interior to resign.

I am very supportive of such action, because it is a direct reaction to a new low by the regime, assaulting women in public, and it also has a direct attainable goal. A goal, that if achieved would cause quite a shock to the system. Direct action of the people causing a resignation of a high ranking government official would be a shocker to the political life here, and will make people believe in themselves again and in what they can do.

So, I've been day dreaming about that coming Wednesday, and imagining in my mind what could make it an effective event (some ideas taken from these comments):

  1. Have one or more gathering place (as the statement didn't indicate there would be one, but said to go about our normal day!).
  2. International media should be aware of the event ahead of time and
    encouraged to cover it.
  3. Having the protest completely silent. Not a single word said, even if people are provoked.
  4. People having a single focused message (as already planned)
    communicated through banners and press releases. The message being that the Minister of Interior must resign.
  5. No signs of Kefaya (or any other group) visible. This one is not about Kefaya.
  6. Wearing black is a great idea (although makes it easy to identify people when they are getting away from the event). People wrapping their mouths in tape to indicate that they are not allowed to speak.
  7. Women holding signs saying "I was assaulted for speaking".
  8. Men holding signs saying "Minister of Interior: Resign Now".
  9. Having the gathering on 6th of October bridge, as well as Kasr ElNile bridge. The problem with the bridges is that people can be easily cornered, but they are very visible locations and very hard for the security forces to block them. International media can have backup cameras on high rises, such as Ramses Hilton, Nile Hilton, Semiramis, Cairo Tower. People can flock into the bridges using taxis, since its not easy for the security to block cars on those two bridges, and if they do, all the country will hear about it.
  10. From the bridges, March to the locations of last week's assaults.
  11. Daily marches until the Minister resigns.
As I said.. day dreaming...

Sometimes getting beaten doesn't matter, and it proves that your opponent is weak and is losing. Is that the best you can do.. beat us! Physical pain is sometimes worth it. My friends keep mocking me for something I once said when I was in a non-political confrontation with the thugs of an NDP member during the '95 parliamentary elections. I was surrounded by about 30 thugs, and my two friends were stuck (so they claim) in the car. Taking a slap on my face from behind, I shouted out loud, "You wanna beat me, beat me" (3ayzeen tedraboony edraboony), is that the best you can do.


egyptiansally said...

You would make an excellent PR representative.

stefania said...

I may disagree with you on many issues, but the fact that you're a supporter of the pro-democracy Kifahya Movement makes me support you, even in the differences of opinion.

It's great to see the Egyptians starting to be aware of their rights and so start demanding them !

Anonymous said...

I agree with much of what you right, Mohamed, and I like the idea of this protest... I wish you'd stop posting links to baheyya's blog, though. She has a perfect right to voice her opinions, but I've followed your links to her site a few times and seen things I was VERY offended by (as an American) and she does not allow comments, so I leave her site fuming about what she said and not being able to reply. She is often quite insulting about the United States, she often misrepresents the facts, and she does not allow any dissenting opinions to be expressed. I was particularly offended in the article she wrote that implied American women are subjugated, and therefore Americans have no right to promote women's rights movements. I am a VERY highly paid software engineer, and my last 3 bosses have been women. One of them was an Iranian immigrant, even. To use a deeply flawed study on success in the workplace based on gender to try and claim that women in the United States is, as I have already said, OFFENSIVE. Gender discrimnation is ILLEGAL in the United States, as opposed to many other nations where Gender discrimation is WRITTEN INTO LAW.

Bah. That's not my rant for you, I would have tried to come up with a decent rant for baheyya, but I can't... because she doesn't allow free speech :)

Anyway, if I wanted to read editorials, I wouldn't be visiting blogs. Blogs are supposed to be interactive discussions.

Hesham said...

Although I am not living in Egypt but as an Egyptian, I'll wear black on Wednesday in support of all of those who got beaten, assaulted and violated for practising their right of speaking.

For all of these brave women and men, I feel ashamed that I left my country out of utter despair and left you fight the battle of freedom alone. I salut you all.

Mohamed said...

Hesham, don't feel ashamed for leaving Egypt. Sometimes that's the only choice you have. Just make sure to give a hand whenever you can.

Anonymous, I see what you mean. Baheyya says she doesn't allow comments because she doesn't have time to get into discussions and arguments on her blog. You can always email her though.

stefania said...

Mohammed, I did not mean insult you when I say "fool". I said so in a non-insulting way.

Let us make peace.

Your blog is among my links-

That's because I suppor your rights to free speech.

Mohamed said...

No worries Stefania. And by the way, this protest (the topic of this post) is not about Kefaya (or atleast I hope it doesn't end up to be about them).

Anonymous said...

I think everybody should wear orange! More visible.

Me, Myself and I said...

A knee Jerk reaction-- Orange is starting to have a negative conotation in Egypt--"Inviting/condoning foreign intervention" this will give more ammu for the gov to discredit those who are calling for reform..true more visible but at what cost..

Mohamed said...

I'm not really for those ribbon symbols, not us really. I wish I was able to go today, and had the chance to wear that "melaya laff" I wanted to wear. Beats any ribbon symbol.

Farida said...

I am a foreign activist living in Egypt and supporting all Egyptians campaigning for change, democracy and human rights, as I did yesterday, wearing black at the Press Syndicate demonstration. While it is arguable that non-Egyptians should openly attack the government of a country in which they are resident - as opposed to protests against their own governments - their discreet but visible presence at political protests in Egypt is important as this can help to protect their Egyptian friends from assault by the government's thugs.