So many people tell me, “Thank your lucky stars you’re not in Egypt!” They tell me that if it was up to them, they’d pack their family onto a plane in a shot, in a flash, in a second. The country is not stable; it’s going down the drain, they say.
Over facebook, I stumbled upon the news that a train crashed into a school bus in Assiut. The fact that the children were Lara’s age and your age made it even more personal for me. Whenever anyone posts pictures of dead or injured children, even children who are crying, I avert my eyes because anything to do with children gut-spears me. But I looked at the pictures of the dead children this time, and looked at the pictures of their shattered parents. I was a mess afterwards. I don’t know what made me look; I wish I hadn’t.
Weeks later, over facebook, I stumbled upon pictures taken by a dear ex-student of mine. The pictures were gruesome featuring rubber bullet dents on skin, blood, blood, blood, fire, smoke, policemen throwing stones at protestors, policemen smiling from their hiding place, directly staring into my student’s camera lens. I quickly checked the date of the pictures and was crestfallen to find out that they were freshly uploaded: November 20th and 22nd, 2012. I sent a zillion messages to whoever was on facebook chat. What is going on? What is happening? Is everyone okay? Is anyone at Tahrir?
It’s happening all over again, Seif. I was hoping that a new, elected president would be our savior; would be what the people and country needed. But the sheer numbers protesting in the street are huge. Morsi has made some changes that are worrisome to the highest degree. He claims that in order to protect the revolution, his decisions are to be above the law. The constitutional changes he wants to implement are also non-negotiable. He did make some decisions that seem to be good, but nothing compares to the dark shadow he casts by working towards being above the law. Of course this won’t sit well with people; hence the large protest at Tahrir where, again, men, women and children are camped out. And again, a stone is thrown which leads to tear gas, rubber bullets, bloodshed and uncertainty.
Uncertainty. Being away from it all, being continents away may seem like a blessing. I think so many people would do anything to trade places to get out of Egypt. It feels weird for me, though. I feel so disconnected. Even though I have a live feed of what’s going on in Tahrir, it’s not the same. I feel like a soda can that has taken a good shaking and is bubbling up all over without any release. I have obsessive thoughts about what’s happening in my country; how my family are doing; what the consequences will be.
When we were in Egypt amidst political mess after mess, we were all in it together. I’d vent to co-workers and family, they’d vent to me. We’d cry, we’d tell each other the latest satirical jokes to get through the day. At night, we were a phone call away. Now, we’re in the middle of another political mess, and I have nothing but a laptop screen and a live feed to look into, and a small chat window to cram my questions inside. There’s no catharsis for my fears.
In a few days, Morsi supporters will head to Tahrir where anti-Morsi protestors are camping out. This does not bode well. I know many of my friends will be in Tahrir; perhaps even some students. All I have is Facebook and Youtube and my pessimistic, obsessive mind to bide time with through this three-dots moment. All I can do is pray from continents away.
Your apprehensive mother, Rania