From an Egyptian correspondent

March 25, 2011

In News

To answer the question you asked me:
What’s the point of elections if there are no real political parties except the Muslim Brotherhood and Mubarak’s machine?
Oh, doooooh – in 6 months THERE WILL BE.  A  whole lot of new, capable, intelligent guys turning politician, too, who could not be before, now forced to become active politically by their HOME TOWN, COMMUNITY or FACTORY etc.  Also some formerly tiny parties with MUCH secret support growing (unnoticed by big media, it looks like, I wonder do NONE OF THEM READ LOCAL, SMALL PRESS?????  Feel like reporting the TRUTH???  Not leaving Cairo to ask around (average journalist mode) is one thing, but it’s all there in print, only they need to check 25 papers from everywhere in country daily).

There’s so very much real exciting stuff going on BEHIND the scenes, behind what is reported internationally —that’s mainly bull, sorry.  DON’T believe either Mubarak’s old machine, or foreign or whoever propaganda machine, responsible for this skewed stuff which appears to be practically ALL one reads in foreign press.  Even Al Jazeera English does not differentiate and report from fully around the country, it’s all very half-hearted -very disappointing and unexpected.  

No big surprise on mainly clueless foreign media:  I saw these hip, celebrated star reporters/ bloggers they all quote eagerly in all-nite Cairo coffeeshops (the new, ‘progressive’ ones with BEER AND VODKA, but traditional, oriental decor, so very authentic, see, WOW, THIS IS REAL EGYPT) – there’s more of them and American University Cairo students THAN EGYPTIANS, and those few that there are, ARE NOT REPRESENTATIVE for a minute, THEY’RE a special class – new activists/ revolutionaries/ bloggers – otherwise known as “the last 10,000 of Tahrir Square”.  I SWEAR they are daily disliked more and more by the people at large (who called them the “blackmailers of the nation” long before the army sent them home last week).
Some quotes from normal people I”ve heard for weeks:
“Nobody cares about them, go home now and shut up”.  
“Stop it, kids in Tahrir – let the country settle first, then we fight for more rights”. 
“LEAVE and get to work, fools, Egypt’s economy needs saving”. 
“Young people, nation is VERY GRATEFUL for what you did, but now TAHRIR IS OVER – we’re on next step”. 
“They don’t speak FOR US, why they carry on making noise, GO HOME”. 
“The PEOPLE are 80 million, not those last 10,ooo, who do they think they are?!”. 
“Stop trying to OWN what comes next, STOP THE BLACKMAIL”. 
People whose opinions I tell you are cross section from all over – cities, towns, well-off bigger villages and tiny, so far ignored rural places where illiterate parents / older generation have news, constitution and amendments read to them by the 3 young men, sons of village, who went to uni, then they debate all together, community, work place, mosque, church, men and women of all ages, day and night, it is THEIR CONSENSUS – from small shop owner to donkey cart man via some office job/ factory worker earning LE150 a month (like 27 $) or waiters/ tourism workers earning LE 400 for work days of 16 – 20 hours (no typo!!!) a day – 
they call it ‘democracy’ – already practised, someone please tell the outside presenting them as clueless- people waited decades for it, have finally TASTED IT, had a chance to LIVE IT, short as it is, they take it EVER SO DEADLY SERIOUS – absolutely mind-boggling.  May be wouldn’t believe myself if I wouldn’t hear it all the time with own ears.  WHAT CRAP anyone saying they’re not ready, know nothing – it’s unbelievable HOW READY/ PREPARED THEY ARE.  Beats  me myself – AMAZING, NOT expected.  But can only repeat over and over 1,000 times – it’s all true, this is how it is, don’t ask me to explain, I can’t, but IT’S HAPPENING. 
FREEDOM, see – once tasted, it’s more treasured THAN LIFE ITSELF.  Never, ever will they go back – for my, your’s and all children of Egypt. Never will they lose it again.  

They (these normal, often uneducated folk) are hell of a  lot smarter than world thinks, totally the right ideas, right plans (like: get this show on the road. Let country settle, peace, no strife – economy must get better, that’s SUPER-URGENT.  Then new constitution, new President, new ministers, new assembly,  all the rest is saved FOR LATER – ALL IN GOOD TIME.  Favourite Egyptian saying:  WACHDA, WACHDA.  (Step by step.  Never been more true or appropriate than now.  Believe me, they – the people – know what they want.  They’ll make sure they get it.  But in slow, controlled, orderly way with PATIENCE AND PEACEFUL, that’s the REAL Egyptian way.  They are watching and READY, holding it down FOR 6 MONTHS WHILE ARMY IN CONTROL (true quote I heard over 100times in last 2 days “You think we are stupid?!?  Of course we won’t deal with all that needs it NOW.  BUT WHEN WE REALLY HAVE OUR COUNTRY BACK, then..” 
You have to understand PRESENT SILENCE on many issues is DELIBERATE/ CALCULATED. 
You ask why Muslim.brotherhood is for referendum???  Because THEY KNOW THEY’LL NEVER WIN ELECTED POWER IN COUNTRY – NO-ONE (really, truly, believe it!!!!!!) wants THEM in charge. WISH OF THE REAL PEOPLE is for 100% TRUE, REAL DEMOCRACY, and that’s SECULAR. Full stop, the end.  They have no choice but to support it/ democracy to stay in the running AT ALL.  Think about it, all very simple.

All over Egypt, PEOPLE – no parties/ activists – organising transport for referendum tomorrow.  SUPER organisation. Expected participation 70% or more of all entitled.  All will vote NO – 9 amendments is big joke, no trust rest will come later – nation happy to wait for totally new, good, real constitution another 4 weeks, no silly rush, let’s get it RIGHT 1st time.  Also Christians all against, Patriarch Shenouda of Coptic Church rejects it because constitution amendments still not to guarantee equality of all religions.

So, all to vote, all say they owe participation to country, all to vote NO, reason above.

Have some faith, I really believe if live-or-death determination and conviction has anything to do with it, they’ll do it again (get the democracy they want with all their hearts). I think nobody seems to understand, HOW ABSOLUTELY SERIOUS and how VERY, VERY PRECIOUS this is to them.  Think they’ll ever let it go????  Think  again.  This is not South Africa.  Or Afghanistan.

Important, since there’s media speculation on what rejection might mean: No-one even thinks of changing the time-table, ie. they  fully intent on holding army to 6 months schedule, also fully sure that’s enough time.  Nation doesn’t dream of changing it.  Simply biding their time. AFTER the 6 months etc, then – it’s all very well thought out.  They’ll do it, too. Believe it. 

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Pls read articles (‘divisions’, too) here:
BEST TO YOU, GOOD LUCK with all things