With each century turn Egypt passed through a dramatic change. To a reader we might seem to be a stagnant nation with more than 7000 years living in the same narrow valley. Some optimists might call us patient; some pessimists will always call us lazy. But the truth is, Egypt is accustomed to change.
Unlike what most of the students history books try to teach the young Egyptians, to sustain life for thousands of years change is your only way. Adaptation is nothing but change. Mutations were the way many of the earth’s inhabitants used to reserve their place in this life.
And Egypt has gone through many small and big mutations that made “her” the country we live in now.
These very mutations left Egypt for many of us, the Egyptians, a strange entity.
Such strange that, probably, 20 years from now a history teacher would sit to tell his students how it felt to be part of the 21st century mutation.
He would sit and tell his students that things were bad, or maybe weren’t as bad but lots of voices were so fed up. Accidents happened, people died. It weren’t just accidents it were incidents of clear lack of governance. Economy left the poor poorer and made the rich richer. Egos were being smashed and nothing seemed to make the Egyptians feel like Egyptians. True patriots lost faith and those who still loved it were called romantic fools.
It was time, when only the little things made people recognize the mutant. It is the same Nile and the same smile. It must be Egypt in disguise!
He would tell them that no one paid attention to how things started. But the one thing no one would miss is that day all Egyptians wore red to cheer for their football national team playing against Algeria to qualify to the FIFA world cup.
He will refer to a page in a book, or maybe an e-book, that tells the details of the crucial role facebook groups played to prepare the masses for that day. The page will tell, that even those who had no access to facebook and knew nothing about internet still got the information because those on what so called specialized sport satellite channels had nothing to do but putting fanatics in the spot light. And in no time, everyone became a fanatic too. Only fanatics were counted as true Egyptians. Those who looked at the match as only a game were condemned.
He may recommend an extra-curriculum reading that would tell that it was business that created the stress. It was a pure business decision for all the multi-million dollars corporations playing in the Egyptian playground to invest on the only left patriotic feeling. It was a mere business decision for everyone to do his best to take the biggest he can from the cake. It was a mere business decision that made every poet, composer and singer creates a piece of art to cheer for Egypt.
I can see now an eager student asking his teacher, “What happened?” And the answer would be “Abo Treika missed”.
The whole 80 million Egyptians did nothing but watching that match. There were huge preparations to secure the stadium. Violence was expected either ways. That’s what happens when you put someone under extreme pressure. And in that case, people were put under the extreme pressure of believing that nothing is good about this country but the football team. And nothing would prove that there will be hope but that one in a million chance to win this match and qualify to the finals.
Violence was expected because this is what masses usually do, so imagine what stressed masses would.
But what wasn’t expected that all those who wore red would go out in streets singing one name “Egypt”.
They had many chances to go, to rebel, or just say no. They had many chances to stop the ugly mutation from taking place, they had many chances to be part of a useful mutation that would have made Egypt a better place for you and me but instead they chose not to do. They chose not to vote, not to act, not to be useful. They only made facebook movements, wrote blogs and supported everything but Egypt.
They hated the only place they could ever call home, never worked for it and waited for 11 players and a coach to run after a ball for 90 minutes and bring them fake glory to ease their aching consciences.
He will look to his students and tell them that he doesn’t know who fired the 1st bullet. All what he knows that that revolution in 2009 was called the “red revolution” not because of the amount of blood that were shed in the streets but because the Egyptian football team wears red!