In the middle of darkness comes the light
On Dec. 20, about 10,000 Egyptian women expressed their anger and contempt. They also gave us a glimmer of hope. The images of women brutally beaten, harassed and humiliated by Egyptian soldiers provoked the power within. Those in charge made their last big mistake.
It is almost farcical that the all-male Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) responded almost immediately with a long wordy apology to Egypt’s women. How little do they understand? The apologetic statement number 91 was shortly followed by yet another brutal attack on civilians in the darkness of the night. Real evidence of what the SCAF calls the “meddling fingers” or infiltrators has yet to surface.
The military dared cross the lines and the women took on the challenge. The rally of women, claimed to be the biggest since 1919, was yet another first in this revolution. Amid the broadcasted painful scenes and the shocking witness accounts, the chants of the women marching toward Tahrir Square echoed the anger, frustration and determination of Egypt. They defiantly chanted the army had crossed the red line.
The representation was noteworthy: There were no divisions of socioeconomic, political or religious nature. They were all for one: EGYPT.
The whole rally was guarded on both sides by a string of young men with their hands spread-out and bound together. The sight ignited a much needed spark of pride and hope.
Regrettably, more young men have died since and many more have been injured as those in charge struggle to contain a volatile situation of anger against the army, only to be met with student demonstrations and a call for a million-man march on Tahrir Square Dec. 23. Many more women’s marches are scheduled.
A cautious calm envelopes the main downtown area of Cairo as behind-the-scenes negotiations brew. Official insinuations of sabotage evidence are slowly yet persistently trickling out. Claims that some violators have been apprehended and that legal action is underway have been met with a mixed response. Much is being announced but not much solid information divulged serves to fuel the chaos and the brewing anger at the continuous blood stream. Only the ongoing parliamentary elections appear not to be seriously affected. As the second round wrapped up, the third round is about to start and expected to end by Jan. 12. An official announcement from the Head of SCAF invited the newly elected Egyptian Parliament to convene Jan. 23, 2012.
As the representatives of political Islam gain more ground through the ballot boxes, they are assured to form the majority in the legislative body. Interestingly, calls for presidential elections as early as January, instead of July, have quickly come to the forefront in a claim to hasten the return of the army to their barracks.
The calls raise the fears of some of the more moderate and liberal Egyptians. Equally, any wide scale confrontation with the Egyptian army in the minds of many would be a worse choice. Simply put, it would appear that the millions of Egyptians are looking at either the continuation of a military rule or the toleration of political Islam. An alliance is worth contemplating.
Time will tell if the young, politically inexperienced, angered moderate majority will be able to change the rules of the game and maneuver their way through the bleeding heart of Egypt. The price of change gets higher by the day. As the year comes to an end, the lead up to the first anniversary of the Jan. 25 protests is expected to be quite eventful as the reality unfolds.