Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Is Tahrir Perfect?

One of my longest-lasting friends is just purely anti-revolution. He somewhat hates me and other common friends for being in Tahrir and participating in the protests, and believes that gradual reform would have been better for a country like Egypt rather than a pure and radical overthrow of the regime. He does not like Mubarak, never did, but does not hate him either, and believes he was not going to continue as president in any case for another term. Despite hating the revolution, he still believes those who died in January & February were "martyrs" who fought bravely for a noble goal. He walks a middle line between the anti-revolution folk. But his biggest gripe is what he said to me today: "You people in Tahrir are doing almost everything you claim to hate about the former and current regime."

I asked him what meant, with a degree of very visible surprise on my face, to which he responded:

"You Tahrir people are trying to impose your will on us. You portray all of us who are against even some of your ideas or positions as idiots, led sheep, paid thugs, ignoramuses, or people with a fetish for being abused. You mocked us when we  worried about the economy, tourism and security, you lecture us on patriotism, and you still do as our fears continue. What's worse, you too sometimes make up stuff on twitter and facebook to get people on your side, or spread rumours without verifying them, including many conspiracy theories as well, and you rarely apologise when you are proven wrong. Some of you even lie intentionally, like those people who put the pictures on twitter of a teargas canister that was claimed to have come from Israel to incite more people to come to Tahrir. Some of you even try to hide unflattering truths. You don't try to approach us decently or talk with us properly, and you spend so much time arguing that we are the 'silent majority' who will just remain silent. You just can't keep doing that anymore. Guess what? I went to the protest in Abbasiyya out of my own free will, not because I support SCAF, but because I am tired of what you are doing, and I want to be recognised as a citizen with unique and legitimate concerns. You and your friends in Tahrir want generally noble things, no question about that, but your ways aren't always as perfect and harmless as your goals."

Do you agree with his take? I won't tell you how I responded, so as to let your mind wander in thought for a bit.

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