Wednesday, January 29, 2014

#Jan25, 2014: Reflections on loss and success in quest of justice

3 years ago I was a college kid who majored in science and went out to protests with signs in English and Arabic. It's 2014 now. The third anniversary of the revolution. I turned 24 years old.
I just thought about collecting some of my scattered ideas and reflections that I shared recently in one post for the historical record because Facebook swallows things. 

On loss and success in quest of justice:

3 years is not a long time in the history of mankind and nations. Someone in their early twenties is considerably young for death. But this is not how I look at it.

The amount of change that took place in Egypt, in the Arab and Muslim world, and in the whole world in the last 3 years is immense.
 My friends are martyred in their early twenties but the weight their lives had and the influence their martyrdom brought is huge.

As one of the Egyptian revolutionaries I look up to once told someone asking them about their affiliation: "You're asking me which political party I'm affiliated with? I'm with the party whose win is a win, and whose loss is also a win".

I'm a winner with the position I picked up even if it means death or traumas and material loss, my friends in prisons are winners, my friends in the graves are winners.

The only losers are the oppressors, and the ones who chose to be silent or justified the oppression. These are the real losers in the game even while they remain happy, safe, sound, free of harm, and around their loved ones.
Someone thankfully translated this segment into Spanish here:

Reflexiones sobre la pérdida y el éxito en la búsqueda de la justicia.
‘Tres años no es mucho tiempo en la historia de la humanidad y de las naciones. Alguien en sus veinte años es considerablemente joven para morir. Pero no es así como lo veo yo. La cantidad de cambio que tuvo lugar en Egipto, en el mundo Árabe y Musulmán , y en todo el mundo en los últimos 3 años es inmensa. Mis amigos son martirizados en sus primeros años veinte , pero tenían el peso de sus vidas y la influencia que trajo de su martirio es enorme.

Como uno de los revolucionarios egipcios que admiro dijo una vez a alguien preguntándoles sobre su afiliación : “¿Me estás preguntando a qué partido político estoy afiliado? Soy del partido cuya victoria es una victoria , y cuya pérdida es también una victoria” .
Soy una ganadora con la posición que escogí incluso si esto significa la muerte o traumas y pérdidas materiales , mis amigos en las prisiones son ganadores , mis amigos en las tumbas son ganadores.
Los únicos perdedores son los opresores , y los que optaron por permanecer en silencio o justifican la opresión. Éstos son los verdaderos perdedores en el juego, mientras permanecen felices, seguros, firmes , libres de daño, y alrededor de sus seres queridos.’
On Mahmoud El Kordi, the first friend I lost in 2014:

It's Jan 26th 2014, I didn't want to go to sleep after the event I hosted in Oakland, CA last night although I was completely exhausted. I had a strong feeling I will go to sleep and wake up on a disaster, it's one of these days again. And so I woke up and an old class mate is martyred in a tragic manner. A colleague of mine who's not too older than me, someone that I remember so well because of his influence on my politicization and activism although I was 16-17 when we met. They killed him today. His killers called his wife's cell phone and told her: We have killed your husband you #$%^&.

Mahmoud the biology/chemistry major in my old college (Faculty of Science Ain Shams University in Cairo) used to be all energetic and positive in ways I couldn't grasp at this dark time of my life.

He used to give inspirational lectures to the freshmen in this educational institution that tried its best to make us feel low about ourselves. He was involved in all sorts of charity work before the revolution and was targeted with the Muslim Brotherhood students because they're the most active on campus these years (early 2006 when I first went to college).

I didn't know that this inspiring old classmate became a science teacher and a revolutionary, he also got married to a friend in our university. Mahmoud lived a beautiful inspiring selfless life and left us a winner in the test we are still taking. 
It's easier for a lot of people to throw at you the "You're a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer" or "You're a conservative/traditionalist Muslim and you're biased" than to think that things are much more complicated and that you could have possibly reached your current positions after years of research, life experiences, and immense losses.
My classmate who was shot in his eye and killed last Friday was a Muslim Brotherhood member since I knew him in college in 2006 and he was active in the revolution from the beginning.

In the meantime, the progressives in the west and back home think I should curse the Muslim Brotherhood 24/7 in order for me to pass their "radical" or "true revolutionary" test while my friends are getting gunned down, otherwise I'm a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer and propagandist. Yeah.

On the definition of "Anniversaries for wars/uprisings/political events in the Middle East":

These are occasions in which colonizers (White Europeans/Americans..etc) and assimilationists (Arab seculars/ Secular Arab-Americans etc) get a combo chance to over talk, analyze, and theorize on events in the Middle East that they haven't witnessed or paid any price for from their blood, time, and freedom.

And in the meantime, back in the Middle East, low income African/Asian people of color continue to get slaughtered, arrested, and beaten up in the streets in the background of the anniversaries "history show".

I didn't want to comment on this commercialized American made movie on Egypt called "The Square" or give it more free publicity but since I was asked by a million person now about it I thought I should write something in order to be left alone.

I was aware of the kickstarter campaign for this movie when they started collecting money for it in 2011. I was frustrated to see them collect a huge amount of money that could have been used to make 10 better documentaries in Egypt.

This movie is made by an American/Americanized crew for an American audience or a western audience in general for the sake of sensationalist entertainment. It is a single-sided version of the story polished and tuned down to suit and comfort the American/westerner receiver who doesn't want to think much about complicity. Obviously this is not a material for an audience that's looking for "political education" on Egypt. Or an audience that wants to hear the sophisticated details of what is still happening in Egypt.
It's made for an audience that would rather not waste their time looking for the real deal, dig into literature, read accounts, talk to people, but will go watch an hour long commercialized movie, feel all self righteous for being political, and then go around and act like they know the real deal and talk Egypt.

3 men with the same political ideology as leading characters and one of them like the director is a foreigner, a British/Egyptian actor, there isn't a single one woman that looks Muslim who spoke in there, and the only representative of  the "Islamist" camp is a Muslim Brotherhood member who's apologizing for his mere existence the whole time.

 For someone who's been in the political documentary film production industry for three years now and someone who's involved in the Egyptian cause and lost friends for it I don't want to get started with all that's wrong with this movie. The movie should speak for itself to those of you who know better.

The narrative on Egypt in the world of media and academia was taken over by a group of elites who're now self-claimed speakers on what's going on in Egypt because they can.

Documentary film production and media production in the west whether done by westerners or by assimilated people of color, or people from post-colonial nations is a new tool of imperialism and history distortion. This article here has some of the criticism I agree with to a certain degree.

My fellow revolutionary who's lucky and fortunate enough to speak a foreign language and have access to the internet: We are in 2014 so there's no excuse for you to let the colonizer and the assimilationist continue to tell your story like back in the day. This has got to stop. Tell your story the way it is, smash this false narrative, decolonize the history, and deconstruct the truth they're forcing!
On Cyber Warriors:
Cyber/keyboard revolutionaries, sofa party activists, and under-my-blanket-with-my-smartphone Mujahedeen should not give themselves too much credit if they're not being chased by bullets, if they're not getting in trouble for speaking up, and if their life is not at risk.

If you're in the comfort of your bed, like myself these days, have some humility and respect when you're talking, theorizing, and analyzing the ways real people who're involved in a real struggle are responding and reacting.

A reminder to myself and to you all. Because you might be doing so much harm without knowing to the people who're losing everything for standing up for their rights.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

May God Bless you, and inspire you always.