The international media was determined to coin #Jan25 a #facebook revolution at its inception. Following the first mobilization of people on January 25th, it seems that the Egyptian government also bought the idea that it was indeed a #facebook revolution and immediately retaliated by first blocking social networking sites like #twitter and #facebook. When people started using proxies they pulled the plug on the internet. To the surprise of the #Egyptian government more and more people were mobilized, because for years the barrier of fear was slowly, but surely being chipped away, building up to an unstoppable momentum that nearly brought an end to the old regime.
The first cracks of Egypt's barrier of fear started when images of the atrocities committed by Egypt's State security started circulating over the internet, not to mention the reports by human rights organizations, complaints and calls by human rights lawyers for prosecution of those responsible for brutal acts of torture. Finally the strongest power wielded by state security in its ability to remain a hidden and invisible hand was slowly being eroded. The power of surveillance was no longer unidirectional, while the state watched the people, the people finally had the tools to watch the state. Egypt's most ominous institution was now under surveillance. The people's fear barrier surrounding the omnipotent, omniscient institution was starting to crack. Instead of focusing on their fear, people started feeling a sense of anger, indignation at the complete absence and disregard to human dignity that accompanied every interaction with the state's hidden eye and hand of discipline. The man inside the panopticon was no longer a mystery and so the panopticon started to collapse and with it people's fear.
People's hatred for #Egypt's state security apparatus's back-handed brutal methods of maintaining order and stability for the old regime combined with the cracks in the fear barrier became one of the main reasons millions of people were mobilized; calling to an end to regime sponsored brutality and fear production. For awhile, the people became the experts, they knew how to run things, how to maintain safety, how to maintain a semblance of stability for the long-awaited purging of the system, the people had a political vision where human dignity and freedom were at their very core.
Shortly following Mubarak's fall people slowly started giving their new-found power away to experts that told them what the economy was and how it had to be handled, to public figures who told them what needed to be done next and to an army that operated within a black-box to rebuild a nation, while it simultaneously detained, brutally tortured and fabricated charges against those who opposed it. The very core value of human freedom of expression and dignity was slowly becoming eradicated, instead of the eradication of the institutions that were trampling all over these values.
Then came the referendum, while torture and a complete disregard for human life were occurring simultaneously. The revolution quickly transformed into the long and hopeful road of reform. Did we forget why we mobilized in the first place? Was this a case of mass collective amnesia? Did "no" or "yes" really matter? If the same structures of fear and intimidation were still there? What were we reforming, it wasn't the systematic, ongoing torture and intimidation by institutions of the state? That wasn't getting reformed. While "yes" and "no" have their implications, that I am not denying, their implications for changing the very basis of which the state interacts with its subjects in terms of human freedom, dignity and respect is irrelevant. What were we reforming? A constitution that was rendered illegitimate by a revolution? Then why were we reforming it?
When we start to reform and when we start to rebuild we also stop revolting. When we call for reform, we are also saying that what millions fought against has been eradicated, that state sponsored illegal violence was eradicated. Well, if you haven't figured it out it hasn't. The panopticon's hidden surveillance and discipline that thousands have fought so hard to bring down is slowly being reinstated by the army and other institutions. No matter what the outcome of the referendum was we are still ruled by institutions that show no restraint in using illegal, brutal violence and humiliation against its subjects, while 25 million people rush to have their voices heard.
Those of you who have been celebrating the democracy of the referendum need to understand that that this democracy is deeply rooted in an acceptance of the complete disregard to basic human rights.
This post was theoretically inspired by Foucault and Certeau and the content was inspired by conversation (some via social networking) with @sumayaholdijk, @nevsh @bassemkhalifa @fazerofthenight, @yasminb, Aya Sheikhany, Hala Said and Amr Azim
I want to make it clear that I strongly condemn
@ghonim's stance on refusing to post the videos, pictures and testimonies of those tortured by the army on We Are All Khaled Said . Are those tortured by the Army not #KhaledSaid ??
I also want to add that I disagree with @sandmonkey's opinion concerning torture in his blog post playing politics
While most people were concerned with the outcomes of the referendum, @3arabawy continued to address the issue of torture in his tweets and blogpost
I believe that I speak for all of us who of us who care about freedom and human dignity when I say that we are indebted to the brave people who gave testimonies of their detention and torture and those who collect these stories. Without them this dismantling of the barrier of fear would have no chance.
Testimonies of Torture by Army in English
I also don't necessarily think that the revolution has been entirely toppled thanks to #workers, the title is just for dramatic purposes