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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

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Story of the protest

I am really really tired. I have had the longest day ever! The day started like any other, with the exception that, in the back of my mind, I knew that today I was supposed to go to a protest. I recalled agreeing to do this, and actually help organizing it the night before in a long IM conversation with Karim on one side and Twosret on the other. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to do it, it's just that the whole thing was so sudden and chaotic and I was the only one in Egypt that I just felt the pressure caving in on me. But I wanted to do this. This was necessary, and between you and me ,I was almost just a little jealous that Karim thought of it before me. However, we had the slight problem of getting the security clearance for the protest : He couldn’t get it and I couldn’t ask my family for help for obvious reasons, so that was left hanging. Anyway, before I went to sleep I called Big Pharaoh – who was at a wedding- and told him about the protest. I knew he wanted to do something like that, so I knew that he would be game. And he did not disappoint me. He was. So this morning I woke up with a number of objectives in mind: 1) Try to rally up support for the protest amongst the Egyptian bloggers 2) Try to get the security clearance problem all worked out. 3) figure out how exactly to make this thing work. The first was the easiest, and also the greatest disappointment: I wrote what I thought was a "rallying" post and then sent it by e-mail to every single Egyptian blogger I knew or could fine. I figured some of them might actually show some patriotism and show up. The only person that actually replied to me was Mohamed , and me and him kept e-mailing each other back and forth and it seemed that he will show up. I figured as the day went by more people may contact me or say something. They didn't. The Egyptian blogosphere is almost as apathetic as the Egyptian public : Big on words, small on action. Actually when I think about it, that's the problem of our country as a whole. Big Pharaoh proved that too when he called the Hezb el Ghad and Youth for change people and was informed that "such a protest wasn't on their current agenda, since it may benefit Mubarak politically". Weasels. Anyway.. The third step was also easy: Given the big stretch of space this was going to be at, I figured a meeting spot was necessary. So I took it upon myself to create one and then posted it on my blog and on Karim's. With that out of the way, it was time to tackle the second objective: getting the security clearance. I knew how hard it may be, but I had a secret weapon: I had Najla on my side. I figured with her "democracy advocacy" job she had enough contacts to help us pull this off. I figured that the second objective, with her help, shouldn’t be too hard. Right? Wrong! The second objective proved to be a bitch. I spent the majority of the day following up with Najla, who didn't spare any efforts on her part to try and to get us this permit. Our efforts were met with failure every time. And just when I was about to write the whole thing off and while all of this is happening, I end up talking to Dee who received this e-mail regarding the protest and-get this – apparently knew Karim's brother. You know what? For a country of 70 million people, Egypt is freakin tiny. Anyway… So she showed me the e-mail, which suddenly encouraged me. People seemed to be forwarding this around. While the Egyptian blogosphere was dozing off, Karim and Tamer's friends were actively trying to get this to work, and some of them had just turned 18. The young Egyptians were taking charge of this. I loved it. So anyway, I kept trying to reach Karim and iming him for updates, because I needed to know what the deal was, and I was getting no response. I was getting really frustrated, especially since the police guy that was going to help us was busy securing a soccer match and had shut off his phone. It was almost 4 pm, we had an hour and a half to go, and I still did not know if this thing was on or not, and if we even can do it. I was getting really really frustrated. And then things started happening really really fast. Nadine, Dee's friend and the person forwarding this e-mail called me, while Karim started iming me. While I was talking to her and iming him, I started getting phone calls from Big Pharaoh and Najla, asking me what the story was. I informed Karim and Nadine of the situation, asked Big Pharaoh to wait and Najla to hold. I then started talking to Najla trying to do some last ditch efforts to get the permit to work. Nadine then would call me and inform me that without a permit many people won’t show up, so I assure her that I am working on it. Big Pharaoh starts asking me if the thing is a go or not, especially that he has a female co-worker coming with him. Karim keeps trying to call me and succeeding once and failing 5 , Dee started iming me asking me for updates, Najla was wondering what I was going to do. I was freaking out. Karim then calmed me down, gave me the numbers of his people, I contacted them, we started arranging and coordinating ourselves. We still did not have a security permit, but it was too late now. We all wanted to do this. So we agreed that we will just go and protest silently, not even shouting, and if anyone from the police approached us, and asked us to leave, we would just do it. That was the plan we all agreed on. Naturally, like all best laid plans, the plan was not followed at all. Part 2 to come


At 7/24/2005 02:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Impressive job Sandmonkey!

At 7/24/2005 02:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you missed your calling buddy…can you say screenwriter? You did good for her though, shes proud of you.

At 7/24/2005 03:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done! You guys put the rest of the apathic population to shame.


At 7/24/2005 04:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

obviously people who organized this demo have no clue how to arrange a protest, espcially in egypt.
good intentions and all, but guys this isn't enough to make it work.
there's reasons why this demo failed (only a shella of 7 attending it and no media overage) and not coz other people are apathic or wussies, but coz u've done a terrible job arranging it, or actually not arranging it.

At 7/24/2005 08:02:00 PM, Blogger Louise said...

anonymous the second doesn't know what he's talking about. What you guys did was fantastic. You need to do it again with some more lead time. I think you all know how to organize and you've got a great tool, known as the internet, which is gonna be really, really helpful.

At 7/25/2005 03:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is anonymous the 2nd!
in fact i do know what i'm talking about.
i have friends who arranged protests and i was part of it. i've seen some of them work out and some fail miserably. good intentions aren't good enough, this was badly coordinated. and one thing i know about such events is u don't blame people for not showing up when u've failed to arrange it and glorify yourself as the anti-terroism brave hero when a 3askari bi daboora kicked u out when u should have stood up.
and hey!
what's with the english banners?
this is cairo u know where we speak arabic. at least give them a small line in arabic.
i didn't want to be harsh and in fact wanted to salute u for the good gesture but i found u as snarky, judgemental, arrogant and self righteous as ever.

At 3/08/2006 11:45:00 AM, Blogger Patrick said...

picture of zoroastrianism
Declaration of Heaven on Earth!
picture of zoroastrianism
Please chant this prayer to recieve heaven on earth:
picture of zoroastrianism
Dearest, greatest, holiest!
Please give us all, the full heaven on earth!
I thank you, & I worship you.
picture of zoroastrianism


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