Month: March 2011

Dictatorship For Dummies

Note: during the Egyptian revolution, a joke was made about there being a book called “Dictatorship For Dummies” because of them using the same tactics. That was the inspiration for this post.
———————————————————————-
Who are you?

If your answer is an up and coming politician/army officer interested in dictatorship then this is just the book for you! We’ll help enslave your very own country and people without as much as you lifting a finger!

First, you’ll have to work on your image. The “man of the people” archetype will prove most beneficial in your case. You’ll have to shake lots of hands (and don’t forget to sanitize later) along with the occasional kissing of a baby and enjoying a football game with your subjects. Don’t worry, it’ll soon be over.

Now, onto money. With you controlling state funds, this will be relatively easy to procure. Think nothing of taking it, you’re one big family and what’s theirs is yours. It’s better off in your possession anyway.

Flamboyant outfits are also a must. Be they suits with your name imprinted on them or ever-flowing lengths of fabric wrapped around you in an uncontrollable mess (Gaddafi chique, anyone?) is up to you. Just make sure you look the part. After all, you represent your people. It’s imperative that you look your best.

Speaking of Gaddafi, that man is so great he lives in AND wears tents. As good as he is, though, always aspire to better. You owe it to yourself.

It’s also essential that you build a formidable police force, one that surpasses even the army in immensity and force. Always remember, you’re protecting them from themselves. Who knows what they’ll get up to if you let them seize control of the lives! Your judgment is paramount, remember that.

Surround yourself with a host of like-minded people. A dictator is only as good as his chief torturer/business tycoon buddies. So let them know you’re grateful. Your gratitude can take many forms: colossal tax cuts, lofty positions in parliament and political parties and even the occasional bail out of jail. (they’re crazy people but you love them anyway) You owe them that much.

Again, the choice is yours.

Now, I am saddened to inform that your good, benevolent deeds will not be appreciated. Some bad seeds will try to cause civil unrest and even go as far as call for your ouster.

Ungrateful bastards! How dare they?!

They will soon start to rebel. Rest assured, if it does happen , it’ll be driven by foreign powers who wish for your detriment. (what you have done to deserve this, I don’t know) Your people love you.

Always remind them of how much they love you, how you’ve relentlessly and selflessly served them and how much of an upright father figure you are to them. Anyway, these filthy ingrates will try to do it anyway because you’ve been too good to them.

The way of the dictator is one where you’ll manipulate many people but never forget, it’s a one man game. See to it that that’s you.

Dude, where’s my revolution?

The last few days, more than anything else, were a confusing and disappointing affair. The fate of the Egypt seems as up in the air as it was when Mubarak stepped down. This post will examine the revolution thus far and hopefully determine the best course of action. Hopefully. (no promises)

The protests have, sadly, fizzled down to a shadow of their former self. Is apathy slowly creeping back in? I’ll hold judgment on that till this Friday’s protests.

Courtesy of our armed forces, March the 9th saw the forced clearing out of Tahrir square and the imposition of a 9 pm curfew. They also detained anyone with a camera. Sweethearts, aren’t they?

We’ve also been exposed to the ludicrous term “purity of nationality”. An articulation of an abhorrent lexicon, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Voting on the proposed constitutional amendments will take place on March the 19th. (if you would be so kind, vote on the poll on the top right corner and let us know how you feel about them) Still no word on whether expats will get the right to do the same.

We even have presidential candidates now (I know, right?!) namely, Mohamed El-Baradei and Amr Moussa among other, less known figures.

So, where does that leave us?

 The most pressing issue at hand now is voting on the proposed constitutional amendments. Voting for them, frankly, is indirectly saying “I want to undo everything we’ve achieved so far. And while we’re at it, Mubarak, want another term in office? Indefinite, of course, just the way you like it”

Needless to say, it’s imperative that we abandon all traces of the old regime, constitution and Egyptian mindset. The same mindset responsible for our sisters in being shamelessly harassed in Tahrir sq. on the 8th. (read all about it here: http://juvenilevirus.blogspot.com/2011/03/femi-what.html )

Of course, we’d be extremely naive to even contemplate that 30 years of ignorance would vanish overnight. Still, a thorough disappointment nonetheless. 

If you take away anything from this post, it should be that the revolution is NOT over. We’ll just have to be that much more vocal and organized about procuring our demands.

Love

 Sami

Femi-WHAT?

Ugh. I’ve had a horrible day. It seems the forces of the universe have once again conspired to give me yet another let-down of a day. I will explain why later on in the post. Don’t fret if you still haven’t an idea what this blog post is about. Everything (slightly peculiar title included) will be explained soon enough.

Let’s back up. Let me set the scene.

The day is March the 8th. The International Women’s Day. This day also happens to be the second day of a nasty cold I’m coming down with. I’m tired, can barely speak and haven’t had anything to eat all day.
Even as I type this, I’m surrounded by a box-worth of used tissue paper doused in my nasal fluids, sipping on orange juice and sneezing uncontrollably.

Life is great.

I’ve been fervidly awaiting this day for the past week. I was so excited, in fact, I sent out my “Happy Women’s Day” tweets 3 days early. (Of course, I hadn’t known they were early but still) Yours truly is having a bona fide male feminism high and loving every minute of it.

 *SNEEZE!*

Excuse me.

Moving on.

On Twitter and Facebook, reports rang out of a planned march for women’s rights in Tahrir square on the 8th. Great, I though. Let’s capitalize on our new found (albeit somewhat curtailed) freedom of speech and protest to improve gender politics in Egypt. The feminist in me was dancing with joy. What could go wrong, right?

March the 8th.

I checked in to Twitter for the latest on Egypt and the Int’l Women’s Day. I even tweeted a few tweets myself that I’m quite proud of. (Shout out to two of my favourite tweeple CWKhalil & SarrahGabriel)

Bad news was to follow.

Completely out of the blue, the peaceful protesters (a couple hundred or so) found themselves surrounded by what can only be described as a mob of baltageya. (Egyptian for thugs) They harassed them, verbally and physically, until they were forced to leave. An expression of utter ignorance and vile misogyny if ever there was one.

Where’s the Tahrir spirit? where’s the intoxicating climate of tolerance, acceptance and national unity, you ask?

I don’t know. I’m still in shock, to be honest. Miles away, I could honestly say I felt for my sisters in Tahrir. I was disapointed and disgusted beyond belief.

Which brings us to the crux of the matter. Feminism. Or more specifically, gender equality. Our revolution will come to mean absolutely nothing if, say, my sister, isn’t given the same rights as me. I’ll be damned if I let that happen.

This leads me to one of two conclusions. One, these thugs do represent the average voice on the street and Egypt isn’t ready for democracy. Or two, these thugs don’t represent us and we are -and deserve- better.

Which is correct? You tell me. (seriously, in the comments section below)

Ugh.

So now you’ll understand why I haven’t exactly had a rosy day.

As much as I would love to rant on about this, I won’t. Because I simply can’t; I’m too tired to do it.

No matter what though, I’m still hopeful.

You can’t hold that against me, can you?