What Red Means!

"It was night, and the rain fell; and, falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass among the tall lillies, and the rain fell upon my head - and the lillies sighed one unto the other in the solemnity of their desolation.
Edgar Allen Poe, "Silence - A Fable"" 

I remembered those lines from Poe's - not so famous - fable. I don't know why I always endeared the imagery these few lines set. The grace by which lillies embraced their own destruction, the respect they had for their end. I remembered those lines as I set foot in Tahrir square on the 19th of November, 2011.

I will not recite a story I'm sure you witnessed  or  read about, watched videos about or at the very least, wisely, expected. The amounts of CS and CR tear gas fired at Tahrir square a day before and three whole days afterwards were covered by every single news agency from New York to Timbuktu, around forty five Egyptian patriots were killed and around two thousand injured. Many lost an eye or two including some renowned bloggers and activists. Malek Mustafa, Ahmad Harara and Ahmad Abdelfattah - amongst many others - lost their eye sight in one eye via rubber bullets. Only Harara has already lost an eye on the 28th of January during the first wave of the Egyptian revolution. 

I spent four days in Tahrir basically alone. Most of my fellow "rebels" were not around due to various personal or professional reasons  that vary widely from being out of the country to severe depression. Some preferred to run to the closest Mosque or Church, kneel in-front of a qibla or an alter and pray to God that SCAF would perish into oblivion others just ran to the nearest pub and got totally hammered. 

As I wandered around the midan, distributing masks, eye drops and running hopelessly whenever an attack by the CSF took place, I had enough time to ask myself if I really understand what's going on. I'm old enough to know and notice that things are not what they seem, that the first step in solving any problem is to "identify" the problem, that the MOI (Ministry of Interior) and the MP (Military Police) were committing murder on TV and in broad day light and that they didn't seem to care, that my gas mask leaked, that the MB (Muslim Brotherhood) are not in the midan and that Murphy's famous law was being applied every second for four days - yes things went really wrong and for reasons I did not fully understand.

The political scene in Egypt is really simple. It's the conspiracy theories and excess speculation that make things bizarrely complicated if at all - comprehensible. In Egypt, you have main players and minor players. The main players are: The people (Yes-all of them), SCAF, the old regime supporters, the Muslim Brotherhood and the US . The minor players are the Salafis, the MOI, the Egyptian national media, the MI (Military Intelligence), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, thugs, Israel and the EU (I know some of you want Iran among the minors or even the main players, but alas no Iran so far). When I say the people, I mean Tahririans, the silent majority and every other sympathizer with Tahrir who might or might not have joined during the early days of the revolution, yet their loathing to the old regime is authentic and intact. 

It's important to notice that non of the main powers existing in the Egyptian political scene work in conjunction with another main player. They only work together when their interests coincide, otherwise they work separately and act at times as if they were classical enemies. I do not believe SCAF is on the MB's side, they might have wooed them in the beginning of the revolution but its more like a tiger wooing a prey. For tigers as we all know kill for sport not for survival. The US is on the MB side when it comes to elections, on SCAF's side when it comes to excessive use of violence and criminal use of CR tear gas and on the people's side only when Obama wants to brag about democracy.

Now, every main player gets support from one or more minor players depending on the situation in which this support is needed. SCAF uses the MOI and the MI to carry out their despicable efforts to control if not annihilate the revolution. The MOI in turn may hire the efforts of thugs (civilians with the IQ of trolls and the viciousness of orcs). The MI may manipulate the national media -especially the national TV. The old regime depends heavily on thugs, finances from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman and again they depend on their supporters in the national media channels to fight the revolution as hard as they can. The Muslim Brotherhood gets their support from a considerable amount of the Egyptian people and the US and depend on the accumulation of wealth and successful businesses they run all around Egypt and abroad (each member of the brotherhood pays a percentage of their monthly income to the brotherhood up to 8%). The US of course uses any and all resources at its disposal from classical espionage to twitter.

But why do I say that the Muslim Brotherhood depends on the support of the US? well, for simple reasons: firstly, the US is prepared for a "moderate" Islamic entity to take over the power in Egypt provided this entity respects the peace treaty with Israel, fights terrorism and apply democracy. Any entity would do, the Muslim Brotherhood happens to be the most organised of all "other entities". Secondly: The Muslim Brotherhood knows that there is no possibility for any prosperity in Egypt unless the US is satisfied and is approving of "whoever" seizes power. The brotherhoods thirst for power may force them to implement a hippie-Islamic model to satisfy the US and ensure people's personal freedoms, which by any means will be more profound than Mubarak's own understanding to personal freedom. At the very least, the brotherhood will follow legitimate routes and legal channels to grant or restrict personal freedoms - Mubarak didn't.

But who's on the People's side? If any of the players have their helpers, resources, finances, aspirations to power, or wealth - or both. Who supports the demands of Tahrir? Who will bring justice to a mother who lost her only son? who will put behind bars the torturers? the murderers? the corrupt? the rapists? those who did all sins known to man in the name of National Security? No one.

The Egyptian people are left alone to their noble dreams, legitimate demands and white revolution, probably too white that someone had to make it a little red, very red. The blood of thousands of Egyptians injured and dead, arms torn, eyes ripped off and faces mutilated has covered every inch of the spacious, courageous and demi-holly midan. But the dream is still young and intact. The dream to a better living under a state that respects and enforces the law. Was it a blessing or a curse that we chose our revolution to be white all the way? did we choose the wrong color in our flag? 

No. We made the right choice, they made the wrong choice. 

Now I know what red means!