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Critically Fighting for a Goal.

Edward Said, in his essay ‘Secular Criticism,’ emphasized the importance of criticism. I found myself remembering his affirmation that “there must be critical consciousness if there are to be issues, problems, values, even lives to be fought for,” which rings true especially in Egypt today – a country divided after a revolution.
The Egyptian revolution was a unique one because it truly was a people’s revolution; Egyptians from all classes, religious, and political backgrounds bravely risked their lives as they united behind the single goal of bringing down Hosny Mubarak’s regime. After Mubarak’s abdication, however, the union Egyptians experienced started to falter, as they soon came to realize that they do not share the same opinions with regards to the future of Egypt and the Egyptian state. And even though differences in opinion are a healthy phenomenon, media outlets are, not only emphasizing the differences in opinions between Egyptians, but also portray this diversity as a precursor of impending anarchic doom. In the midst of such a distorted view, I remembered Said’s emphasis on the concept of criticism. In today’s Egypt, not only do we need to embrace our diverse views and beliefs, but we need to do so through criticism.
A couple of days ago, I was shocked to read a headline that quoted a fundamentalist presidential candidate who declared that women would be forced to wear the Islamic scarf (hijab) if he were to become president. He relayed that Egypt’s past of corruption and “backwardness” was due to moral laxity, which, if dealt with “properly” will transform Egypt in unimaginable ways.
How can we deal with such opinions, I thought? Definitely not by appearing on a TV show and accusing the aforementioned candidate of backwardness and barbarity, a tactic used by some. Not only will such a retort embolden the candidate further (as he perceives such an accusation of backwardness to be a sign that he is on the right track, given that the accusation came from a “secular”), but such a tactic also fails to illustrate why it is that such a view would lead to counterproductive outcomes. Seeing that there is an issue to fight for in Egypt today, namely arriving at a democratic state that respects the rights of all Egyptians, it is important to be critical. I thus see a community and a country that is critical- of sweeping generalizations, of dubious claims surrounding God’s punishment, of what it means to be “moral” and lead a “moral” life, of claims that this or that policy is exactly what we need to better the future of Egypt, and the list goes on. The way I see it, it is only by renouncing fundamentalism – not necessarily religious fundamentalism, but any fundamentalism that believes in only one way of doing things.
By becoming a Voices of Our Future Correspondent, I think I can help achieve my vision. Having an outlet that does not solely have ratings in mind, and which is thus willing to do anything to flame the controversy and fighting necessary for achieving that goal (even if that means pushing Egyptians further apart), is valuable. I would use this outlet to play a role in reminding Egyptians in the importance of being critical in order to be able to fight for the goal of a better Egypt, to remind them that the dictum ‘solidarity before criticism’ entails the end of criticism, heralding an era of fundamental Egyptian groupings, each living on its own ostracized island.


YAOtieno's picture


Hi Masa,

Thanks for writing such an objective piece. Your sis a journey I would love to keep treading about.You have the makings of one who can help guide and shape opinion r in society

Keep writing


A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Katharina's picture

First hand

Hi Masa,
It is just great to read your thoughts that give us a first hand impression and view into what's going on in Egypt at the moment. It is such a crucial point in time, because even for me as an outsider it feels like as if now the courses are set. I'd reallly like to hear more from you, how you feel when you hear fundamentalists (of any type) fighting for power in Egypt.
All the best, Katharina

Hiba's picture

Dear Masa, I salute you and

Dear Masa,

I salute you and I salute Egypt that it has opened all windows and all doors for oppressed countries in our region to breathe freedom and to see the future in bright colors. The Dictator is gone, and it is now the responsibility of every critical thinker to preserve this victory and build on it for a better and balanced future for my beloved Egyptian neighbors.

The headscarf is a personal choice and I would not have chosen it if it was dictated by a "fundamentalist" whosoever!


Tawjna's picture

You are a Lead Voice

Good Day MasaAmir,

I am going to use an aspect of musicality to comment on your piece. You there are times when a good song comes along and it would sound excellent with chorus of voices, but as a producer, you know that a good solo would take the song to another level. You are that solo voice, leading the chorus for good criticism as a tool to move a nation in the right direction.

You mentioned in your piece to follow through on your course even if it divides. Sometimes, division is good, it allows for different parties to see each other better. Close proximity sometimes clouds our vision. By stepping back, we may see that we are all in our unique ways after the same solution.

Keep on singing!


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