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Egypt falling prey to a circle of violence

On February 1st, a bloody massacre took place at the Port Said Soccer Stadium in Egypt that left 74 fans dead and over a thousand wounded. The next day, Egypt saw mass demonstrations where thousands of Egyptians gathered to protest violence at the stadium, and more importantly, to hold the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) accountable for the recent violence and thuggery incidents the country has been witnessing over the last few weeks. Many of the protestors held banners that called for the execution of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of SCAF. Many Egyptians were torn between who to blame for the bloody massacre: soccer hooligans who went to the stadium carrying weapons, or the SCAF and the security forces who masterminded revenge against the Ultras Soccer fans who had so visibly and aggressively supported the revolution in Tahrir Square and throughout Egypt.

Being away from Egypt, I followed the tweets and Facebook updates of my Egyptian community and other activists to get updates about the general atmosphere in Egypt. I noticed how the tone had become more disillusioned, sour, and, at many times, violent. At the end of the day, it is hard to keep one’s sanity and self control intact amid all those bloody scenes of innocent children and youth being murdered brutally. Many tweets were calling for revenge, for the execution of the bloody "invisible" hands behind all that is happening. The question most often posed in regard to the violence on February 1st,was "Who is to blame?" Many people were full of anger and hatred that made them think only of revenge and bringing down the authorities without presenting real and applicable solutions to the state of chaos in which the country has been drowned. Ironically, many of the convicted parties, like the military council, took the role of the victim and pointed their fingers out to the "real" criminals, or as they called them “the invisible hands”, leaving the country with many “victims,” but with no real perpetrator.

This never-ending circle of hatred and blame solves nothing. In fact, it leaves a lot of people feeling hopeless about any possibility of a better future. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who almost forgot why we, the Egyptians, revolted in the first place. I look back to the 18 days of the revolution where the protesters were motivated by feelings of love towards their country, hope and persistence, the days where the protesters met the tear gas fired by the police with kneeling prayers and shouted, "We want a peaceful revolution!"

The whole world was inspired by the Egyptian revolution, merely because of the civility and the bravery of the protesters; the protestors who knew that non-violent resistance was the most powerful weapon one could use to scare off the enemy. Unfortunately, many protesters weren’t able to sustain the non-violent resistance in face of the brutality of the army and the security forces, and instead of fighting the real enemy, they were seeking to take revenge.

As I mourn those who fall victims to violence, I pray that Egypt will not fall prey to this circle of violence and blame that threatens its future more than any bureaucratic tyrant or regime ever could.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

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Stella Paul's picture

It's sad

Dear Mirette

Yes, even we were stunned to know of the soccer violence. To me it seems that people's frustration over the final outcome of the revolution which is erupting now; despite a great uprising, the real democracy is yet to come in Egypt .

Since this is an opinion piece (editorial), I would be curious to know what's the solution/strategy you suggest to end this violence?

Love

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

mirette's picture

Thanks Stella my committed

Thanks Stella my committed follower! It was shocking to all of us, but I see that the majority of Egyptians know it wasn't just a soccer hooligans violence, this was well planned! However, I can't deny that violence is well spread in a country like Egypt. I believe in the power of education, especially peace education and dialogue that develops one's skills to express their opinion without being violent.

Jan K Askin's picture

Falliln Prey to Violence

Dear Mirette,

The satisfaction of revenge is short-lived and never produces a positive outcome over time.

As you point out in your article, this is true in Egypt in the current situation. By broadcasting this contrast between the powerful demonstrations in Tahrir Square and the violence in Port Said, may we all come to our senses and work to end this meaningless violence.

Your sister,

Jan

Jan Askin

mirette's picture

Thanks Jan for your comment!

Thanks Jan for your comment!

Leslie Stoupas's picture

Keeping an eye on violence

Mirette,

I was moved by this piece quite a bit, as you express your frustration with the way the message feels changed in Egypt since the revolution. It will take voices like yours to make people aware of how influential their actions are, and how the choice of violence by any party affects Egypt's outcome poorly. It will be interesting to see if there are any substantial recriminations against the SCAF for the events of February 1. Keep watching, keep noticing, keep reporting!! You are an inspiration!

Leslie

Leslie Stoupas

Hummingbird's picture

I pray with you

I was following the bloody events during the stadium riot in Egypt, I was very sad and I could not understand how a football game turned into a carnage. I believe the Military Council is not doing a good job in Egypt and there are people from the previous regime who are bitter and powerful want to sabotage the achievements of the revolution. But I believe that the amazing wonderful youths of Egypt can take the country into a better future, I just wish that people would know better.

Thank you for this op-ed, I always follow the news of Egypt, after all, we learnt a lot from you.

A drop of rain can revive the earth, be the drop.

Hummingbird

mirette's picture

Thanks Hummingbird! The

Thanks Hummingbird! The police forces indeed played a part in this massacre by their unusual absence fom the stadium.

Pushpa Achanta's picture

Thoughtful writing

Mirette dear,

Thanks for this honest piece. Let's hope that such stories stir people to positive action.

Warmth,
Pushpa

mirette's picture

Thank you Pushpa for reading!

Thank you Pushpa for reading!

usha kc's picture

Dear Mirrette,, thank you so

Dear Mirrette,, thank you so much for this powerful voice. I enjoyed.

hugs

mirette's picture

Thank you Usha for reading!

Thank you Usha for reading!

noreens's picture

Yes Mirette, the whole world

Yes Mirette, the whole world was inspired by the Egyptian revolution, merely because of the civility and the bravery of the protesters. How sad to see something like this happen after what Egyptians went through to create a better country. I hope that Egyptians will be able to accomplish the goals they set out to achieve.

Noreen

mirette's picture

Thanks Noreen. I believe

Thanks Noreen. I believe there is still a lot of work to be done with people on the grassroots level, especially when it comes to the level of violence we have in the country.

laurabstull's picture

Dear Mirette, Your attitude

Dear Mirette,

Your attitude toward this devastating issue is inspiring despite the darkness of the situation at hand. You've expressed very clearly the immediate, contentious, and dangerous nature of the social and political climate in Egypt. My thoughts and hopes and prayers go out to you and your fellow Egyptians! I hope that all can have as peaceful and thoughtful a perspective as you!

Laura

Greengirl's picture

Dear Mirette

Egypt has been on the news lately, both for the right and wrong reasons, which you have also comprehensively mirrored in your article.

In anticipation of a much coveted restoration of peace by a vast majority of Egyptians and non Egyptians, alike, I say Amen to your prayers!

Hugs,

Olanike

Vega Tom's picture

Thank you Mirette

Thank you for sharing your perspective on this tragedy. It is always a shame to see tragedies or acts of violence collective degrade into blame games in the aftermath. I do hope that more can be modelled with the peaceful protests and creating space for itnrospective and responsible dialogue. Revolutionary change often is followed by violence and upheaval as new paradigms are defined.... it's unfortunate and one would hope there is a smoother way to bridge past regimes with the new, even as the past may have entailed a lot of abuse and violence.... Continuing it forward and having it percolate in various public arenas is hardly a good alternative....
Thank you again for sharing and I hope better examples can be set for Egypt and the world.

Vega

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