Thursday, November 17, 2011


I just finished watching the graphic and horrific testimony of Samira Ibrahim who was tortured and assaulted by the Military Police. If one substitutes the Military Police with State Security then Samira's testimony takes us back to the days before #Jan25. Where violence, torture and humiliation are institutional practices. Human dignity, is one of, if not the most important aspect of democracy, assuming that by democracy we mean the right of individuals to to live in a state that represents their non-coerced views. With the upcoming elections, a supposed platform for democracy, one must not forget to question the space in which these elections are taking place. Do the institutions and powers currently in place, that are moving and shaping the political sphere show any respect for human dignity? When a political arena excludes human dignity how would you expect human dignity to find itself in the political sphere later on?

Any form of participation in voting, whether it is the referendum or the upcoming elections immediately signals consent and grants legitimacy to those who are shaping the political sphere. In our case a political sphere devoid of human dignity.

In #Jan25, Egyptians tore down what most media termed the "barrier of fear". When we vote, we are expecting to move forward, yet we have not addressed how the Egyptian Military Institution has systematically been rebuilding this "barrier of fear" since Mubarak was deposed on #Feb11. 6 months following the Mubarak's fall, 12,000 civilians have been tried in military courts. Trails that take minutes to reach verdicts often in the absence of lawyers and without the knowledge of their families. @fazerofzanight recounted, how a teacher in a village, told her there are no more youth in the village, all them have been detained by the military police. There have been many incidents not just of military tribunals for civilians, but also videos and testimonies exposing the brutal torture and humiliation of civilians by the Military Police. SCAF has been slowly confining the spaces for dissidence, by controlling information flow and their strategic use of violence and torture.

A few days ago during a "No Military Trials for Civilians" stand on Kasr El Nile Bridge, I spoke to several by-standers. Few knew the purpose of the stand and even fewer knew about the 12,000 civilians that have been court-martialed and none had ever heard of the virginity tests. Despite the fact that SCAF have issued statements acknowledging these situations. Yet, the most terrifying realization was that as I spoke to people and distributed fliers, many people were scared to be seen listening to me speak about SCAF's atrocities. At the sign of uneasiness, I would ask, "Are you scared talking to me?", the usual response was, "Yes, a bit". At the very level of individuals, people fear the military establishment, most people are unable to access honest and credible information, it is naive to even imagine that at this point elections would do anything to serve human dignity, when our participation is compliance to an institution that only wants to serve its own interests and human dignity is not one of them.

A revolution will not happen through complacency, negotiation or dialogue with those who drag human dignity through a pile of horse shit and run it over with their APCs, but rather through an unbridled collective rage of a people who would rather give up their lives than live another day in subordination.

This post was inspired through conversation with @fazerofzanight and @sumayaholdijk

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