Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A Momentary Relapse of Values
Where we go from here depends on how much we believe in the values we preach. Despite the values we adopted for a brief period of time during the 18 days that overthrew Mubarak, we relapsed into a state similar to that we've been in over the course of the past decades. The state I'm referring to is a combination of denial, ignorance, fear and apathy.
These elements are intricately linked in a loop. They feed off each other and one has to wonder what it would take to break this cycle. State media and other news sources are spreading lies which leads to ignorance, but that of itself is not enough. Denial must exist in order for you to act against every logical bone in your body that tells you not to believe state media that is well known for lying. Denial comes from fear; fear of authority, fear of a uniform, fear of the future, fear for safety, fear of change. In a country that has been at a stand still for decades, change may be more frightening than one would expect. And because the truth lingers in the background and seeps in, apathy is there to fend off any impulse to act against injustice.
The cycle needs to be broken, but what was it that brought about such a relapse after a miraculous awakening of dead Egyptians? The biggest change since the fall of Mubarak was the absence of the face of the smug leader smiling as his people suffered. The bitterness of thirty years directed at that face. Many may have went out with a pretense of scorn against injustice, but in reality the matters had become a personal matter between them and Mubarak. That is why many Egyptians will not speak up today against injustice. Those who opposed Mubarak during the 18 days before his fall and do not speak up against the SCAF injustices never really stood for something, it was always a personal vendetta between them and Mubarak.*
Egyptians have reverted to the same signature shortsightedness that haunted them throughout these years. The main question is 'How will this affect me?'. The self serving attitude is the norm that has simplified life for Egyptians over the years. That's not to say there aren't other flavors and reasons as to why Egyptians have backed down. There are those who firmly believe in the wisdom of their choice of silence. Many believe that things are not what they appear and numerous others are deceived by what the regime wants them to see.
It is saddening that protesters are more respected in the free world than they are in their own country. In the 18 days the international pressure to respect revolutionaries forced the couch party and other apathetic Egyptians to respect those calling for change. That pressure is now relieved by the lack of international media coverage and Egyptians are free to despise their proud countrymen.
Effectively, it comes down to values. Do the majority of Egyptians believe injustice to be unacceptable only when inflicted upon them personally or when inflicted upon just anyone? The answer to that will determine how we move forward or whether we move at all. Injustices must be taken personally, but not only when inflicted upon our person, otherwise, we have no hope of escaping failure at merely being human.