Sunday, February 5, 2012

When Egyptians kill Egyptians

I posted recently about some thoughts I have on the Egyptian Revolution one year later, and it made me think of something else that has been bothering me recently, also in Egypt. On Wednesday, a riot broke out in Port Said after underdog El Masry beat Cairo's Al Ahly on the football pitch. 74 people lost their lives. Seventy-four people.
A friend of mine recently posted this from MSNBC's World Blog by Ayman Mohyeldin, a reporter who I specifically remember for his reporting from Tahrir Square during the revolution on the only English-language station available in Cairo, Al-Jazeera English. Mohyeldin provided excellent coverage then, and I continue to trust his reporting and opinions since his move to NBC.

I could not agree more with Mohyeldin's point: Egyptians have grown too accustomed to pointing fingers and the country cannot move forward at this critical point in its existence if its people are so divided. Egyptians are divided by religion, by soccer allegiances, by class. While religious beliefs and level of wealth are likely to influence one's political beliefs, allowing so many things to divide a society will only make it more difficult to elect a representative government.
Wednesday's events have led to even more finger-pointing, and as Mohyeldin points out, those fingers are being pointed at the government and at security forces, whose inaction is being labeled as complicity in the violence. I hate to be cliche, but you know that saying "for every finger you point, three point back at you?" Well, this seems to be a perfect example of that. Egyptians are to blame for what happened, those who stormed the field, those who threw things, those who hit and killed their fellow countrymen, over a soccer match. I understand that sporting events are contentious, rowdy events, and soccer is known to have some of the most ridiculous crowd actions, but these Egyptians were hitting their fellow Egyptians. Egyptians are to blame.
Much of what I just said is a reiteration of what Mohyeldin has said in his article, so I would like to finish with something I also posted separately, but was also inspired by this article.

Is this what you want for your country, ya masr?
You made history last year, ya masr, Egypt, you took to the streets and did not leave, send they camels or tanks or snipers, until Hosni Mubarak had stepped down. You want to have a say in your government, ya masr, and the first thing you had to say was erhal, leave. There were many times when you weren't sure you were being heard, ya masr, but you did not go home. For two and a half weeks you lived in tents in Tahrir, ya masr, being tear gassed and shot at, creating your own hospital to treat the wounded. Then, horreya, freedom, ya masr, or so we all hoped, but SCAF seems to have other plans. The problem, though, ya masr, is that you also have some of the blame for your county's lack of unity. You have allowed yourselves to become divided over so many things, ya masr, and you have let them take advantage of you. There are so many things that you agree on, ya masr, but you have divided yourselves over soccer, over religious beliefs, over so many issues that you forget that you are all the same shabab, people, who stood together for what you believe. You chant ta7ia masr, long live Egypt, but you will fall apart, ya masr, if you do not stand together.

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