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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Friday, July 29, 2005

Details: Yesterday

So here is what happened: On Thursday I was scrambling, talking on the phone and begging to everyone to get an approval for the protest. The higher-up in the National Security apparatus informed me that they like the idea, they will discuss it and get back to me. That same afternoon I got a phone call from another person I was lobbying: the deputy minister of interior. He gave us his verbal approval to do the Vigil and asked me to send him yet another copy, so that he could get the Minister of Interior signature and approval on it. I was informed that it would be one hell of an exception, especially that the Egyptian President has nominated himself for a 5th term and the opposition is supposed to take the streets in protest the next day. Ehh, I could care less, I thanked him, cause in the end we got the approval. I got my mother's office to send him the fax and we were assured we would get it back around 9 pm. This happened around 4 pm, which meant we had to get started immediately. I called everybody involved in this and informed them that we did get the approval and it was time to get to work. I sent countless SMS and made phone calls. Karim's friends called people and created banners that said "Islam against terrorism" and "Egypt against terrorism". The people Nagla hooked me up with, the Andalus center Human rights activist headed by A., sent sms messages, called the media and created banners that held Osama Bin Ladin's face with the words "Wanted by the Egyptian People" written underneath it, and other Posters with Ayman Al Zawahry with an "X" painted on it. It was beautiful. We were getting confirmation that the SMS campaign was a huge success, that people all The energy was high with everyone and we were incredibly excited. And then I got a phone call at 11 pm from that Higher-up guy at National Security. He informed me that due to security issues related with the presidential nomination, and the protests that are sure to ensue, our Candle Light Vigil was canceled. I asked him how that was possible, especially that I got the approval just a few hours ago. He informed me that it was revoked, that his office was the only place that could grant such a permit anyway, and that I am advised to stop this thing immediately and not to go there. I again pleaded for reason: It will be a peaceful Candle Light vigil inside the park. There will be no ruckus. It's already too late to stop it, even if we wanted to. We don’t know who received our text messages or e-mails. Just deal with it, he said. "It's your responsibility". Again I pleaded "But don’t you understand that the media already has been alerted? They know this will happen. Now, instead of writing that there was a peaceful candlelight vigil against terrorism in Al Azhar Park, the story will be that the Egyptian authorities opposed an anti terrorism vigil at Al Azhar park. It will be a scandal" He informed me that such a scandal is better to him then having a foreigner getting hurt or attacked at a peaceful candlelight Vigil at Al Azhar park. "With everything that's going on, we can not ensure your or their safety. This thing can not be held. I know you understand. Have a good night!" Fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk! I didn't know what to do. For like 10 minutes I just stood there, tearing up, not believing what just happened. What am I going to tell the others? How can we stop this? If there was really rowdy protests around that area tomorrow, and some foreigner we couldn’t reach on time went there and got hurt by protesters or by the security people, then it would be our fault wouldn’t it? "Nope", the little voice in the back of my head said: Not our fault. It's my fault. I am the one who got the original go. I am the one that was assured approval. What the hell am I going to do now? I decided to call my mother and inform her of what happened. Call someone, Oh mighty connected one. Find me a solution. Find me that deputy secretary of interior. Call Hosny Mubarak. I don’t care. Help me salvage this. I went online and imed Karim and informed him of the developments. He was shocked and dismayed. "What the fuck? What is this flip-flopping bullshit? Is there anything that can be done"? he asked me. I told him that I was working on it. We decided we shouldn’t tell anybody so we don’t start a panic and wait just in case the situation gets resolved. I agreed, but I also decided that the responsible thing would be to call A. from Al Andalus and informed him. His reaction I did not expect. " They can’t do this. It's impossible to stop this. Fuck em. I am going to have it anyway. And if they stop us, the FrontPage of every newspaper on Saturday will be how the government stopped an anti- Terrorism protest from happening. Let's see how they like a scandal!" Oh No. I urged him to calm down and wait till tomorrow. That I am looking for a solution, one that doesn’t require disgracing the image of our country more then it already is. He agreed and we hung up. God. I didn't want this. This wasn't what I signed up for. I wanted to do this to make this country and its people look better. For the world to see that we are not like those fuckers who kill innocent people in the name of god. That we too oppose terrorism and fanaticism. Instead, I found myself in a mess that I could not contain and was responsible for. Now, if this is not resolved by tomorrow, we have the working of a huge scandal on our hands. And it's all because our security apparatus is run by a bunch of chicken littles. Scared rats that know they can’t secure anything and therefore avoid anything that me resemble a hint of trouble or has the word "protest" in it. And those are the people that handle our security. Jesus, if those people can not differentiate between an opposition riot and anti-terrorism vigil and silent protest then this country is in more trouble that I thought. Feeling helpless, I called GM and told him what happened, and he was like "I bet you there are no protests tomorrow. Inform me if anything changes". I then checked with my mom for updates, and still nothing. I decided that it was already too late and I was too tired to do anything. So I went to bed, without feeling a inch of hope for tomorrow. To be continued


At 7/29/2005 01:24:00 PM, Blogger Adam Gurri said...

This is not your fault or responsibility. You were given the go-ahead and the security people simply aren't doing their jobs. You shouldn't feel like you're at all the blame for any of this.

At 7/29/2005 01:27:00 PM, Blogger Kat said...

I am definitely waiting for the second part of the story. How many, who came, what it was like. I didn't know what to do on this side of the pond with the on again off again thing.

But, I'm glad to hear it went on anyway.

At 7/29/2005 01:34:00 PM, Blogger GNN Staff Writer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/29/2005 01:38:00 PM, Blogger GNN Staff Writer said...

Remember, it is often easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.

At 7/29/2005 02:45:00 PM, Anonymous Robert Mayer said...

If your idiot government breaks up an anti-terrorism vigil, it won't be the Egyptians that look bad. In fact, you will all look like heroes. It will be your government that will be shamed, and with it will come more pressure to liberalize. I think you should go through with it, but it is ultimately your decision. Best of luck deciding, it's an incredibly tough one.

At 7/29/2005 02:56:00 PM, Blogger thewiz said...

Dude, don't be beatin' yerself up so much. You have done more than most anyone, Egyptian and American. And you will continue the good fight. And don't let them discourage you, that is their plan.

How did the vigil go? How many people were there? Press coverage?? Police/security reaction??

At 7/29/2005 03:57:00 PM, Anonymous Alaa said...

hehehe yeah us nasty scaryoposition would have paid 5LE went up to azhar park which is miles away from where our protest is supposed to be just to get into a fight with you guys.

do these guys believe themselves or what? for your info we hold peaceful protests.

oh and I thought you'd enjoy knowing there was no protest on firday its to be held on saturday.


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