Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First clash between Civilians & the Brotherhood in Egypt. For History!

6th, December, 2012.

Excuse the typos and the grammatical mistakes. Thought I should document this before I forget or go to sleep. 

Told my mom I was going to see some friends at a cafe, and it was the first time I lie to her. As soon as I knew that Ikhwan are packing protesters from other cities, blind sheep, I knew a civil war was at Egypt's doorstep. I decided to go to the presidential palace where revolutionaries were camping, staging a sit in against Morsi's constitutional declaration and the the constituent assembly whose members are only Islamists. I don't have a problem with Islamists. I have a huge problem with the domination of one political force on the political scene, and the exclusion of all the other forces. So I decided I should go for these reasons, and other reasons. And also because, out of previous experiences during clashes, I learned that the greater the number of protesters is, the lesser the attacks are expected. So I just wanted to secure those who were already there. 

I went to Tahrir, found many fights, fires, and clashes. Protesters made checkpoints at every entrance, even in the metro stations, to guarantee everyone entering the square does not have a weapon. They even took my perfume bottle from me as it is regarded as a "weapon" there. Many groups of revolutionaries were gathering to see how they are going to go from Tahrir to the presidential palace to support those who are there. We fought. They were fearing for girls, who insisted to go, because we knew that Ikhwanis had weapons and would first attack "the weaker of us", as claimed by them; women. We all went together. The power it took us to go there is tremendous. Each and every time we go to clashes, we know we might not come back. But this time was different. It felt like saying goodbye. It was expected to be more violent, more bloody, and more shocking as we are all civilians. We did not know what was right from wrong. Are we protecting the revolution and its demands or are we starting a civil war? The guilt? the fear? The fear for our loved ones? We were all going together. Everyone I love and value was with me. What if I lose them all at once? I told them to go. But what if they do not come back? We all went, anyways, with so much fear and determination. 

It took us forever. At Heliopolis, I saw many more people, familiar faces, present during  every time there are clashes. We stood there. And then clashes erupted. Ikhwanis, coming from many different cities, organized, armed, ran all at once towards us to attack us. We retreated. Two friends of mine and I stood in the middle of the running crowds. You see, a wave of running protesters is just like a wave in the sea. Either you you swim with it, or you dive in. But we stood our ground. And by this time you really get numb every time people start to run or there is an attack. Force of habit? I don't know if this is healthy. 

Clashes went on. Ikhwanis had machine guns (which they did not use during the time I was there to be honest), fired bird shots directly at us, tear gas, threw molotov cocktails, lynched some of us, and the sad thing is, they treated us as enemies, were very happy when one of us was caught or beaten up viciously. Bye bye Egyptian solidarity. 

The sadder thing was that Ikhwanis, no matter how I disagree with them, remain CIVILIANS. When we used to clash with security forces, they remained police forces or army troops. It made sense to us, revolutionaries, somehow. But civilians against civilians? I just had a nervous breakdown. We started running very fast. A friend of mine lost his shoes. All of a sudden I find other friends I was trying to reach and failed. One of them came and put his hands around me trying to keep me from falling. I freaked out, did not know he was my friend until I saw his face. And we all ran. A friend lost his shoes and we kept looking for a shop which is still open to get him another pair. We kept looking for too long. And each time we step into a shop, we were being interrogated by the very suspicious owners :" Are you with Ikhwan? Are you with the revolutionaries? What side are you on?" And when we say we are against Ikhwan, some shop owners said they would not sell us anything. And the conspiracy theory, feelings of uncertainty, alienation, estrangement dominated. 

At this point, I felt completely alienated from my country and nation. Nothing made sense to me. I am an Egyptian citizen and I have the right to be at any place in this country and buy anything form anywhere. Clashes went on. We kept coming back to the front lines and they kept attacking us. We hid at one of the buildings when one of their marches was passing by...as if we are some outlaws or criminals. But what is our crime? Why are not we as free to chant our demands as they are doing? Why do we have to hide for safety? And all of this time my friend was running barefoot. We bought some slippers for him. And then we got back to the front lines. The viciousness we were being attacked with is what broke my heart to pieces. I just lost it. Could not make sense of anything. We ran to the back lines, found Ikhwan members chanting their guts out "The people demand the appliance of Shariah laws" and I kept wondering which Shariah? yours or mine? Shariah tells you to kill your own people? It tells you exactly the opposite. The complete opposite. 

I kept calling friends who were ambushed, and could not reach them. I tried to get in to try to find them and failed. I went crazy. They started advancing until they reached Cinema Roxy, and threw molotov cocktails at us, directly at us. I lost it. Many women started stopping buses and cars, hysterically telling people "come on, join us. What are you waiting for? People are dying. Come on, raise your voices. The young people of the country are dying, they are getting killed"

And then in a spontaneous and unplanned and sudden move, we all started chanting together, the same chant, "The people demand the removal of the regime". People on the streets started chanting and we all went back to the front lines. Some of my friends left and I stayed. 

At first I was not calling for the removal of the 4-months-old regime. I was only asking for my legal & constitutional rights after a revolution that took half of my friends, to guarantee the country would not be ruled again by one giant dictator who controls everything, has all powers.
We kept receiving many injured people, heard news about martyrs, but I REFUSED TO BELIEVE. Ikhwanis advanced, took our barricades, and some of them stole the cameras of many reporters, beat them. The feeling that I am losing ground and being fought by civilians, although I disagree with them on basically everything, made me feel so helpless and lost. 

A police armored vehicle was caught by protesters. Some of them tried to cause damage to it out of frustration, but other protesters stopped them to "keep it peaceful", whatsofuckingever that is. A fire truck came in trying to splash people with water to stop clashes, but it was in vain. Ikhwanis, packed in buses from 6-7 other cities outnumbered some of Cairo's revolutionaries.

There were many undercover cops there taking photos of us or trying to inflame things, and make them worse. But we are true revolutionaries. 

It feels so bad when a fellow Ikhwani, whom you protected during the revolution, and who protected you too, like Abdulrahman Ezz, who was injured during the revolution and was helped by all of us, and saved by us, now stands at the very far end of the street, points his finger at us telling other ikhwan members who we are and asks them to attack us, which has happened. Betrayal hurts. Getting stabbed in the back hurts.

Yes, I disagree with Ikhwanis when it comes to politics, but no, I don't believe their members are traitors. the manipulative, hypocritical, power-hungry leaders led them to believe we are traitors, former regime loyalists, paid thugs, and foreign agents. Rings a bell? 

I was so mad, had so much rage inside, was raging like fire, but I did not really like or value the idea of a civil war that much.

A friend of mine forced me to leave the scene. He got me to the nearest safe place and left. I kept walking, and at some point I could not tell where I was. I was in shock, not for violence, but for expecting a CIVIL WAR. As far as I remember, I called a friend of mine and I started crying and sobbing and people started looking at me awkwardly. I don't remember what we spoke of but all I remember is that I told her I did not know where I was, and 20 mins later I was home, crying to my mom, whom I could not tell the reason why I was crying so I had to make up another lie. 

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