It is simply amazing how – almost - a year and half has passed since February 11th, yet politicians and activists remain extremely disconnected from the general mood on the ground and the gap continues to grow. I'm not claiming that I have the inside story on what the Egyptian population is collectively going through and I'm also not suggesting that the "silent majority" has any real impact on where the country is going outside of the polling stations. However, I am pretty damn sure that January 25th would have never made it with the bunch of revolutionaries alone and I wonder – the way things are going now – how many of those people that took the streets during the revolution are actually willing to go down again given how things are developing.
Over the past year, SCAF managed to discredit all the civil powers; be it Islamists, revolutionaries or politicians. To be fair, those powers have done incredibly well discrediting themselves on their own. Each one of those players has acted selfishly and – exclusively - in its own interest, which resulted in clashes between the potential "leaders" and eventually to the disagreement on the most basic of demands.
The above is nothing new and it has been scrutinized to pieces by all analysts, what surprises me are the delusions of politicians and activists. I do not understand the calls for a "revolution". A revolution by whom? And to achieve what exactly? Who is going to join this revolution? With no leadership, no clear vision and a bunch of discredited political powers? What makes anyone think that after a year and a half of complete chaos, of total disregard to the simple demands of everyday people, that Egyptians will rise one more time and remove the only power (SCAF) that has been consistent. The fact that SCAF has done such a bad job over the past year and a half is one thing but who has offered a better alternative? Who has proven to be able to do a better job? Even I – someone who's joined January 25th from day 1 – am not willing to fight for the removal of SCAF, not because I believe they are doing a good job but because I see that everybody else has been doing a much worse job.
Not only have we – civilian forces - made a big caca in managing ourselves over the past year and a half, we also have delusions of a peaceful revolution that will force the army to fully hand over power. That same army that controls 35% of the economy, has its ex-members planted in every government organization and that has all the intelligence money can buy? Now, I'm not calling for a violent revolution but anyone who thinks that the process of removing the army from power will happen with sit-ins of a couple of thousand people needs to have his head checked.
We've learned over the past year and a half that we're not working against individuals but against a deeply rooted network of power and interest and the process of uprooting this evil machine is going to be a long one. This uprooting is not only concerned with the removing of a few people, it is dependent on our ability to create a collective conscious; our ability to influence education and awareness; our ability to change the structures of this society but before all on our success in changing the mentalities of our people. The next president will have little "real" power but he will have some and he has to use that power to slowly acquire more power. And we – as a civil society – have no choice but to gather around such a president and unify our efforts.
I'm sorry to say that without a coup lead by democracy friendly fractions of the army or a violent – Syria like – revolution we can't expect a different scenario. And to be honest, looking at all the conditions of this society, I definitely don't want neither a coup nor a Syria like revolution.
We're still learning as a civil society (political powers, activists, etc.). We have yet to understand when we need to work together and when we should compete. A civil society that looks like that should not be entrusted with running the country. And funny enough, that ignorant "silent majority" understands that. It's not that they are overwhelmingly impressed with SCAF's fantastic performance; it's just that they saw that the civil powers are incapable of leading the country. They also understand that those dreams of immediate change are the product of delusional minds. Ones that think that change will happen by removing a bunch of people. Those same people that regardless of their incompetence have at least managed to remain consistent when things were a major chaos.
It's about time that we start seeing things as they really are:
- The army will continue to have significant power for years to come and we have to live with that
- The next president will not be able to put the army on trial
- The military will be uprooted slowly and it will only happen with a strong civil society that agrees on key basics
- Change will happen when people are educated, housed and in good health
- Our role in the coming period is to work at the grassroots and to continue to build a collective conscious, not only as individual players but as a civil society interested in seeing change
Now, you can close your eyes and continue to picture yourself running (in slow motion), dodging those bullets (Matrix style), flying over the barbed wire fence to land gracefully at the doors of the Ministry of Defense. You can continue to dream of that moment when you arrest Tantawi yourself and hand him over to a revolutionary court. Or you can open your eyes and realize the size of the gap between what you dream of and what you can actually achieve. When we realize that, maybe we can start working together as a population to make this place better. However, if you chose to continue to dream, mind the gap when you're coming back to reality.