Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Note on Justice and Its Ministers

What happened with the justice minister is that he expressed in words out right what has been policy for decades. He expressed that only certain people will be allowed privileged positions. This does not apply only to the judiciary but to the police and perhaps even higher ranks in the army.

Perhaps nepotism is one thing and expressing it outright is another. The backlash against the justice minister’s discriminatory remarks that contradict Article 53 of the 2014 constitution seems exaggerated. It’s not that they weren’t classist and deserved that much of an outburst, it’s that people sounded too shocked about it, knowing full well this is standard government policy. That’s how state institutions empower themselves, it happens in universities, with doctors, with judges, with police and with army. The head of the army is related to the president who was the former defense minister and head of military intelligence.

In an interview the head of the judges club Ahmed El Zind also made the statement along the lines of ‘We (the judges) are the masters and the others are the slaves’.

This attitude is prevalent and there have been other leaks that show the head of a security directorate making the same claims, that they’re the masters of the country.

Intelligence agencies don’t have anything other than Sunni Muslims. You don’t find Christian General Intelligence officers, or Bedouins or god forbid Shiite or Baha’i.* The entire system is built not just on class, because many of those who rose to power had humble origins, but on a collection of adhoc discriminatory criteria.

There is a current security wave, and the evident signs are politicized verdicts and state security threats to activists. It is highly doubtful that the Minister of Justice had to go solely based on the public outcry against his statements, although there’s no denying they may have contributed, but it depends on his successor. In the midst of the raging battle between security agencies, the next minister of justice will be highly politicized serving a security agenda. It is almost inevitable he will be just as bigoted as his predecessor, but this time he might just keep his mouth shut about these unadvertised discriminatory policies.

Nevertheless it is good to imagine there's a precedence for an official being removed for making bigoted statements.

*Correction: There are high ranking women, bedouins and Christians in General Intelligence I've been told from someone I trust.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Dig That Hole

Egyptians have worked very hard to be inconsequential, to take themselves out of the political equation, to hand power over to corrupt institutions and individuals in such a manner that disempowers them. They were provided a shovel to start digging a hole to shun themselves out of political life. That hole is more like a grave.

Never have I seen people dig their own political graves so quickly and passionately, pausing only to attack those trying to stop them. When they’re done digging the hole, the dirt to bury them starts flowing both from their peers and those who they’ve entrusted with politics. They help make sure as many people who object are in the hole next to them, cheering for our undertakers, and rejoicing in the dirt shoveled by their oppressors on their heads as if it were rain.

"Burry us some more," they shout, as if their distance from all the decisions about their lives was a blessing. “Shoot those who don’t want to join our hole,” they scream in a mob like mentality that condemns anyone who dares to look outside and point to the ills of what’s around.

They still see the corruption from the spaces that haven't covered their eyes so much, but they're happy where they are. They convince themselves that they can’t see and that those shoveling the dirt gleefully know what’s best. They convince others that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

The dirt fills the hole and they’re knee deep in it, they slow down, but don’t stop. There’s less cheering and they’re deep enough inside the hole for the oppressors to slow down. Those who want to move and stop the theft they see before their eyes cannot move from all the dirt that surrounds them. They feel paralyzed, that they're of no consequence, but it was they that did that to themselves.