Opinion

Egypt Today: Violence, Confusion, Rumors

 

By Lama Tawakkol
Senior Reporter
CAIRO, Egypt – A
month ago, Egypt witnessed what many termed “Revolution 2.0.” Violence had
ensued near Tahrir Square between police officers and the protesters, as people
returned to a sit-in calling on the Supreme Council for Armed Forces to
transfer power to a civilian council until presidential elections are held.
The violence
stopped eventually and SCAF remained in place, only changing the cabinet to be
headed by Kamal El Ganzoury as prime minister.
This move
ignited different reactions. As a former prime minister from ousted President
Hosni Mubarak’s reign, several were against Ganzoury’s appointment. They stated
that despite what he might’ve achieved, he was still a man of the regime.
These were the
people set against SCAF and persistently calling for the immediate return of
the military to their barracks. They decided they would hold the sit-in in
front of the cabinet building until SCAF responded to their demands.
Others were
satisfied with Ganzoury’s appointment and believed that he should be given a
chance. They especially believed that the country should calm down a bit in
light of the ongoing parliamentary elections.
After a few
weeks of relative calm and stability, with only a handful at the demonstrations,
the entire country woke up last Friday to a confusing spectacle. Army officers
were standing at the roof of the cabinet’s building, throwing stuff at the
protesters, from ornaments and furniture items to whole sheets of glass and
granite.
No one could
really understand what was going on. As the day progressed, videos of soldiers
making obscene hand gestures and others brutally beating up women and pulling
them across the streets circulated.
Once again, the
entire country was outraged – and confused. No one could really tell what had
started it. Some people say the protesters had been playing soccer on the
street and the ball had gotten into the building. When one of them went to
retrieve it, he returned black and blue two hours later.
Another story
goes that the protesters had been asking for IDs from cars, and an officer in a
car had refused. They claim he acknowledged himself as the one who’d been kidnapping
protesters the week before and aggressively beat up the person asking him.
No story is 100
percent confirmed. Regardless, however, the military’s reaction is clear enough
on videos across the internet and in the deaths of a Sheikh and several others.
Their actions
have provoked widespread anger as they continue to proclaim that the protesters
were thugs and that there are “hidden hands” at play, trying to spread chaos.
The people want to see these mysterious third parties and have them brought to
justice.
The crowds are
returning to Tahrir and what is now being called #OccupyCabinet on Twitter. A
group of recently elected parliament members have publicly denounced the
military’s actions and proposed methods for the immediate transition of power.
They want
parliament to elect a president who would assume presidential powers until
January, which is when they want to hold presidential elections.
On Tuesday,
there was a women’s march and several student demonstrations from universities
all over Cairo and Alexandria.
One can only
ponder what grand finale this year will leave Egypt as 2011 comes to a close.
And with the
first anniversary of January 25th coming up in a month and people already going
crazy on Twitter with hashtags like #Jan25TWO and #Jan252012, it is impossible
to predict what can happen and if a second revolution is indeed in the making.
There are
already protests scheduled for today. Whether there is a turnout remains to be
seen.
As Steve Jobs
said, sometimes you can’t connect the dots looking backward, you can only
connect them looking forward.