As my blog title suggests I’m Irish, from the north of the Island, yes thats the bit where Belfast is. I spent the first 30 years of my life being surrounded by politics, religion, armed struggle, terrorists, bombs, and quite frankly I have no appetite for what is unfolding in Egypt
We lost a whole generation because people could not sit down and talk, compromise, find common ground or even remotely empathise which each other. This period in our history was referred to as “The Troubles” a rather lightweight title for what was in fact a very dark period. When I look around me and speak with my Egyptian friends, all with differing religious and political affiliations, I am struck by their sectarian and paramilitary tone, and it scares me.
I guess years of conditioning at home has left me with a healthy disrespect for the media and politicians. Each side spewing their own propaganda was the norm, so I’m more than capable of reading between the lines and accepting the verbal garbage for what it is… their version of events, their take on things, all of which comes neatly packaged to suit their agenda.
Egyptians don’t have this background, a lot of them where never politically engaged pre Jan 25th, they didn’t vote, what was the point, Mubarak would win. They didn’t read the papers, what was the point 90% were state sponsored propaganda machines. So, with just 2 1/2 years of experience under their belts they are cannon fodder for those who wish to use and manipulate them towards their own ends, be they military dictators, Islamist extremists or idealogical youth.
Egyptians also have a “goldfish mentality” it’s only a year since the army (SCAF) left power and yet both my Coptic and Muslim friends are welcoming them with open arms. Have they forgotten Maspero, the virginity tests, Mohamed Mahmoud, Mina Daniels, and all the other victims of SCAF. Come on people at least show a healthy wariness regarding their intentions. A few flybys and air shows, a few free flags dropped on the crowds and Stockholm syndrome appears to have overtaken the country.
I’m not angry at Egyptians, I continue to make excuses for them, the education system here is abysmal, they see corruption not as something to be stamped out, but something to aspire to “if I work hard and get a good job I will get lots of bribes” they are each out for themselves, you can see it in how they drive. It’s a very strange mentality, one I can’t quite get my head around because they are also some of the kindest people I know. It’s just their logic link in their brain appears to be wired differently. No I’m not angry, I’m sad, very very sad for I foresee not just one generation but countless being lost before, and more importantly “IF” they are ever able to work together in a truly inclusive society.
I posted a warning at the start, the photograph below is why, these are just some of the bodies from yesterday at the Republican Guard HQ. I don’t care what political or religious affiliation these people are, they are all someone’s son, father or brother. Yesterday’s headline has passed but these bodies represent today’s reality for their families. Politicians would do well to remember they have just created 51+ more families who will seek justice if they are lucky, but in my humble opinion it will more likely be revenge.