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.