November 13, 2009

La Révolution en Rouge

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!


Anonymous said...

I loved this post!

Shimaa Gamal said...

Thanks Ibhog, you made my day :)

Hicham said...

I think we're on the route of change too but the question is to what? I liked this post and I am observing the fanatic and bigotry trend since long time in almost everything.

Noblese said...

Good post ... and best of luck and wishes to the Egyptian team.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello Hicham
Egypt & the Egyptians never fail to amaze me :) But it is really strange to be part of the change. You can notice things but you can never know for sure how things will end to be.

Dear Noblese
We Won :)))) weshek 7elw :)

marooned84 said...

Wonderful post! I'm writing the comment while the "masses" are still cheering and feasting! I bet the drug trade will have such a boom tonight!

Makes you hate this country even more.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Bonjour Mohamed
Well, the drug market is another wonder about the Egyptians. To an outsider sometimes it seems that all Egyptians do weed!

I actually don't mind celebrations, as far as they are not harming anyone. celebrating football winnings isn't an Egyptian thing. All hardcore football addicts do around the world. It is that it seems that even those who don't even know what football is just do it.

The very thing that I hated about this match. The media made it a national goal, in the time it isn't. It might be a national goal for the players, or even for a football addict. But it is not for the rest of the Egyptians.

There was time when girls didn't care much about football, they still don't but they wear red and go cheer in the stadium because it is becoming the cool thing to do!

Football craziness is common, but to put a whole nation under pressure isn't something wise. Seriously, what if we didn't score the 2nd goal, or even what if we scored the third?! We are speaking about millions scattered along the valley with nothing in mind but that there is nothing good about this country but the football team!

I don't hate the country, nothing really makes me hate Egypt. But I hate stupid people, and I hate those who call themselves patriots in the time for them it is only business. I hate those who are indifferent to whatever is happening.
A friend of mine flee Egypt to live in Canada. He was telling me about a conversation he over heard between one of his Egyptian friends and a Jordonian friend and a Canadian friend who is originally from South Africa.
The Egyptian and Jordonian were complaining about living in Canada, that's considered by many Egyptians as heaven, and how it isn't that good ... etc and the typical Arab talk about hating the country you live in.

The South African told both of them to cut it. Because if they hate living in that country they should go some where else. But as far as they accepted to live in it they should stop talking bad about it.

I don't think the Egyptian and the Jordonian will ever stop complaining about their livings.
They just took their talks away from that very wise woman.

The moment I will hate this country I will stop calling it home. I will find a better place, call it home and be happy.

But, loving home doesn't ever mean that I never try to improve it. Loving home doesn't mean that I will ever stop spotting the ugly mutations. It is like me spotting a white hair, would I hate myself for finding a white hair? No, I figure out a way to deal with it or even better a way to live with it.

Noblese said...

Hi Shimaa
I love the last paragraph of your post to Mohamed. Very thoughtful and sincere.
Congrats to the Egyptian triumph and hope the success will continue in Sudan.
Have a good day.

Ibrahimsamir said...

دراسة ماجستير تتناول المدونات المصرية
بعد التحية،اسف للخروج عن مضمون التدوينة فى التعليق أنا اسمى إبراهيم سمير أعمل صحفى بمجلة الإذاعة والتليفزيون وأقوم بعمل رسالة ماجستير تحت عنوان "استخدامات الشباب المصرى للمدونات ومنتديات النقاش الإلكترونى على الإنترنت.. دراسة مسحية" وكما يظهر من عنوان الدراسة أنها تتعلق بالمدونات المصرية والتى ينشئها مدونون مصريون ولقد اخترت المدونة الخاصة بكم لتكون من ضمن المدونات التى يتم تضمينها بالدراسة ليتم دراستها وهناك جزء بالدراسة يتعلق بالقائم بالاتصال وهم المدونون المصريون ولذلك قمت بتصميم استبيان للتعرف على أنماط ودوافع استخدام المدونون المصريون لمدوناتهم واتمنى ملئ استمارة الاستبيان المرفقة مع الرسالة وهى الجزء الأهم بالدراسة واتمنى المساعدة فى دقة الإجابة للأسئلة حرصاً على دقة النتائج. والاستبيان يتكون من مجموعة من الأسئلة المتعددة الاختيارات يقوم المدون باختيار الإجابة الصحيحة وهناك أسئلة يمكن اختيار أكثر من إجابة وهى الأسئلة التى يرفق بها عبارة (يمكن اختيار أكثر من بديل) وهناك أسئلة يمكن أن تضيف الإجابة التى تراها من وجهة نظرك. وبعد الإجابة على الاسئلة تضغط على ايكونة submit.
ولقد ارسلت لك على الايميل الخاص بك الاستبيان ولكن لم يصلى الرد ارجو أن تدخل على الرابط الخاص بالاستبيان وتجيب عليه وهذا هو الرابط
ولك منى وافر التحية
إبراهيم سمير
صحفى بمجلة الإذاعة والتليفزيون
تليفونى 0128460141

Shimaa Gamal said...

I didn't get anything on the mail but I filled the survey you sent in the link.

I wish you all the best of luck.

Ahmad said...

we are being hoodwinked.

Protocol 13:

"WE FURTHER DISTRACT THEM WITH AMUSEMENTS, GAMES, PASTIMES, PASSIONS, PEOPLE'S PALACES .... SOON WE SHALL BEGIN THROUGH THE PRESS TO PROPOSE COMPETITIONS IN ART, IN SPORT IN ALL KINDS: these interests will finally distract their minds from questions in which we should find ourselves compelled to oppose them. Growing more and more unaccustomed to reflect and form any opinions of their own, people will begin to talk in the same tone as we because we alone shall be offering them new directions for thought ... of course through such persons as will not be suspected of solidarity with us."

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello Ahmad
Welcome Back :)

Did you read the news about the hidden reason why the Algerian regime escalated the incidents surrounding this match?
Apparently, we are not alone. The whole region is suffering from being ruled by distraction. Actually I believe the ruling by distraction is the way to rule these days not only in our region.

Ahmad said...

Hi Shimaa, thanks!

Even as individuals, we get distracted all the time. I think if we as a nation or as a people had a clear goal, we won't be distracted that easily.

But also I believe that if we had appologized for the initial attack on the bus of the Algerian team when it happened, things wouldn't have escalated like that.

Also why nobody questioned the weak performance we delieverd in Sudan, the Egyptian team was very slow and old, if only Mido was there ! but well Hasan Shihata likes obedient players, not someone who uses his brain.

Shimaa Gamal said...

I think it is just in human nature to get distracted even when we have clear goals, it really depends on how patient we are. We live in the time of getting to your goal with just a click, a friend once summed the problem of this century to be in tabbed browsing. We can't focus because we do many things at the very same time and we expect them all to give us a result instantly. Which might work on the internet but real life, things need time.
Sometimes things need more time that we can afford that's why we get distracted.

As for the attack on the Algerian bus I think it was overrated. We get the same warm reception every time we play there. It is kind of an Egyptian/ Algerian ritual. We hit the buses, we play tough, they waste time and we usually lose. It is the same scenario every time :)

It was expected and I am a believer that an eye for an eye is fair enough.
And really things didn't escalate because of the bus incident. I watched Algerian TV before the match in Sudan and I updated my facebook status saying that some of our activist along Mr. Alaa El Aswani should be shipped to Algeria because they must be having profounder problems are they are shipping fans in army planes. Only one person found that shipping Alaa El Aswani is funny :) I still believe he should be shipped not that I didn't love his Chicago but that his article after the 1st match was so cliche, something someone would write to clear his conscience along his likes. I would write better than that :)

Anyway, to cut a long story short. We lost, because we didn't really deserve to win. We lost since the very first match in Algeria. We lost by 3 goals, it was a great job to get back in competition and making it to Sudan is good.
And we already beaten Italy the world champion we don't need to play in the World Cup :))

And I don't like Mido, enta zamlkawy wala eh?

Ahmad said...

Yes, I agree, it's all now about instant gratification or tabbed browsing like your friend calls it, I miss the old days when we had to wait for minutes for a webpage to load. The pace has accelerated in an insane way, now so many things we take for granted. While even the smallest things can be enjoyed if we learn to slow down our brains and delve into the realm of inner peace. I think we expect things to give us immediate results because we forget that God is the one who allows it all to materialize.
I think what happened in Sudan was hyped up because of those overly sensitive artists who can't walk without their bodyguards, however if we look at the numbers.. out of 10,000 Egyptian supporters, only 15 got injured !? that doesn't add up with the guerilla-attacks which the media was talking about day and night.
So many things contributed to the hyped up clash, first the media and internet, second the Arabs hate of Egypt.. now more than ever because of what happened with Gaza, same like what we did to the Sudanese refugees in Mustafa Mahmoud Square. If you think about it, why would the Arabs respect or like us, when we have failed them on every occasion!, the attack on the Algerian bus was the final straw I believe.
What strikes me is the inability of the government to deal with the attack on the bus however small it was, they should have cleared the matter up before the second game, instead they claimed that the Algerians destroyed the bus themselves! which only added oil to the already burning fire
I don't think any of our players got injured on visiting Algeria before.
As for Alaswany, I like some of his serious newspaper articles, but I don't like fiction at all, there is enough of it in our daily lives already!
I used to support elahly, but recently I have noticed that most of the players have turned into conformist obedient soldiers under the leadership of Shihata, who obviously hates creativity, it shows in the way he plays and the way he chooses his players, Mido has a personality that doesn't fit well with that conformist system, which by the way rules the whole of Egypt.
Now I support Zamalek because I like Mido and Hossam Hasan, I think they are sincere and have the right fearless spirit which is lacking in Egypt. No wonder they are outcasts most of the time. They dare to say No, do you?.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Well, I am a moving no :)

I will tell you a secret, there is a good reason why I was never into playing a team sport. The thing with team playing is that you should blindly trust your teammates. You both are supposed to play for the team not for personal glory. I don't like the latin American's football I tend to enjoy the European more. There is no "I" in a team, regardless that this "I" could be brilliant but without his teammates he wouldn't win a game by himself.

Individuality is something appreciated else where. You can't preserve being a distinct individual in a team. The only room for individuality is left to the team leader. And even his individuality is supposed to serve the team. A team is one person made up of different pieces. If one piece decided to work alone it will be like cancer to human body. It will kill it.
I see Mido as cancer that's why I don't like him. He is a good player, he has skills but he alone can't win a match. He needs another 10 players to help him do it. Shikabala too is an individual player who thinks that he can win a match alone. He is a good player but not of my taste. That's actually why I don't like Zamalek, it is the team that has the best players in Egypt all knowing they are the best and all playing alone.

And that's why I have always been a fan of Al Ahly. They are a team.

Ahmad said...

I recommend watching the next match of Zamalek on Sunday, the players needed a leader and hossam is doing a very good job at that.

Ahmad said...

aslo I think we shouldn't choose between individuality and team work, they should go together hand in hand. Each person is unique, but should use this uniqueness for the benefit of the team. Balance is the key.
But I still think that Alahly and the national team are run with a dictatorship mentality, individuality is not allowed at all, that's the dominant culture in Egypt, like the communist systems.
Check this strange news today for example:

من ناحية أخري، قرر هادي خشبة مدير الكرة في الأهلي تغريم حسين ياسر لاعب وسط الفريق 10 آلاف جنيه بسبب الهجوم الذي شنه علي الجهاز الفني في التصريحات التي أدلي بها مؤخرا لبعض وسائل الإعلام.

ووجه خشبة تحذيرا أخيرا للاعب وطلب منه عدم تكرار تجاوزته والخروج عن النص، وهدده بتغريمه مبالغ مادية كبيرة.

الخروج عن النص!!?

In this conformist system, one should not object or stand up for his rights. Same thing happened recently with Ameer Abdel Hamid, the Ahly goal keeper, when he dared to object he was immediately silenced, actually they got rid of him all together!

Stay in line/conform (Ahly) VS Step out of line (New Zamalek led by Hossam) ,

that's my opinion of what the two teams represent today. We need this new-zamalek's spirit if Egypt wants to change.

Shimaa Gamal said...

I am going to watch the next match for zamalek :) Not only because of the new style because I am actually that into football. I keep an eye on the Egyptian league :)

As a person, I hate chaos. I like people to follow rules unless they are really big enough to break them. I don't repsect anyone who thinks that breaking a rule is really an innovation because rules were put to make things better. It is just like breaking a traffic light just because there was no one else in the street. This is not innovation, it is endangering someone else because our assessment showed no risk.
I understand how some leaders end up dictators. Because leaders are responsible for the results. If you are to assume full responsibility you better do things your way. Because no one would step in to take the blame when the team fails.
The difference between a good leader and a bad one is that a good leader is a dictator who gets his people involved in the decision making a bad one just enslaves them :)

Ahmad said...

see what i mean, Hossam did it at the last minute of the game. Determination is his trade mark, masha'allah.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Ahmad this is when I will play mean and tell you "Hossam is made in El Ahly" ;) He just introduced the spirit to Zamalek :p

I am just kidding :) It is really good to see El Zamalek back to winning :) I hope they keep on like this :)

Ahmad said...

Actually Ahly couldn't take his spirit and got rid of him, he then went to zamalek and won them the league 3 or 4 years.

I always admire the spirit not the skills, Hossam didn't have much skill as a player, but he had a teremendous fighting spirit.

Imagine if the clumsy civil servants had this dedicated spirit, the country could work miracles.

Hossam lost the first game with zamalek, check out his reaction giving hope to the players,

I like it !

Ahmad said...

A picture is worth a thousand words

Shimaa Gamal said...

you know this very incident when mido objected his coach's decision is one of the reasons I don't like him :)

Plus Amr Zaki scored right after that :)

I think I just don't like him :) I am mean :))

Ahmad said...

That incident happened because shihata was unfair towards Mido, it happened again this week when he made him join the list of the national team for 4 days then kicked him out in a humiliating fashion. It seems that Shihata wants obedient robots, who don't stand up for their rights, same mentality rules the whole country. But this means he is gonna lose big time in Angola this month, since he is unfair and dealing with double standards with the players, just wait and we will see.

Shimaa Gamal said...

I don't think they will lose in Angola coz Shehata doesn't allow creativity. He is the very same person who won the last two cups :) He won the match he kicked mido out and he won the whole championship twice :)

They will lose because this is what happens to champions. We are the African champions yet it is time to have another one. A new team with new style. This is how life is.

dawam el 7al mn el mo7al :)

Ahmad said...

expect a big scandal, 3 defeats. he won the 2006 cup because of the Egyptian cheering in Cairo, and in 2008 he won with a team well trained by Manuel Joze, the Ahly coach. I hope Hossam takes the helm after Shihata gets defated.

Ahmad said...

Also bear in mind that at that match, Mido was playing well while Emad Met'eb played badly, so that's why Shihata should have replaced met'eb and not Mido who was way better. Shihata favors players not according to their effort, he just trusts some players like Met'eb and Shawky (even if they weren't playing well) and doesn't trust others like Mido (even if he plays well), we see this double standard in the way the whole country is managed, it's a sick mentality that ruined our country.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Actually Jose's team won both 2006 and 2008. And there are sayings that the Egyptian team is at its best when el Ahly is at its best and that's why the performance of the team this year has been unstable, because El Ahly is undergoing change.

And if Shehata has to go, I think Jose will make a candidate. He is hated by the media but no one could deny that he has done what none else did. And so did She7ta :)

I still don't like mido, and I prefer met3eb even lw mesh beyl3ab :) I like met3eb more and I think Mido doesn't worth to be a star. There are better players. But it is just me :)
And I can see that Hossam Hassan wants to coach Egypt but I think he still needs experience. We will see how he will end this season, and then how he will perform the next season and after a couple of seasons training different teams only then he can think of coaching the national team. he should be up to it. With all my due respect el zamalek is now struggling to stay in the premiere league. Which makes it a regular if not a weak team. It is just an old name. fa coaching el zamalek isn't something that counts in favor of Hossam. Only if he managed to get through this season with good results. Only then we can say el zamalek is back. el tersana was a strong team once. It was equal to el ahly and el zamalek.
And now it is nothing. She7ata won the Egyptian cup with a 2nd league team. He has an impressive CV.

If I am to hire, I will always go for the more experienced unless a new talent proved competent. I am waiting for hossam to prove that he is not just a temporary fix.

Ahmad said...

why do you think Mido is not worthy of being a star, he has an impressive cv if that's what you like about shihata.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Actually my reasons not to like him isn't related to his very impressive CV. And it is not that he doesn't have a style. I think it just that I don't like his style.
You know when you favor a player over another for no clear reason :)

I have a long list of football players that I don't like, Ahmed Eid Abd El Malek for instance, I never liked sayed mo3awad but I am starting to like him now. I don't like shika bala, i never like 3abd el satar sabry. Ahmed el Kas kont 7aba a7ebo we 7aba la2.

I loved Hany ramzy, I hated Ahmed Ramzy and I still do :)

I am just not a fan of Mido that's all.

Ahmad said...

I learned that judging the people by first impressions is unfair, sometimes you watch a person reacting in a difficult situation and taking a courageous stand which makes you respect him, i learned to be objective.

Shimaa Gamal said...

It is one of many many flaws, I trust my instinct. And sometimes I am wrong but most of the times I am right about the first feeling.
I told you I used not to like Sayed Mo3awad, because every time I saw him playing he was just fighting, mis-passing and running too fast without an aim. Later after watching him play regularly with El Ahly, I liked his style. Maybe I will like Mido if I saw him playing more :)

Ahmad said...

trust your instinct, but only if your mind confirms your feeling.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Usually my mind takes longer than the my instinct but I do revise my decisions frequently just in case the mind of the instinct failed :)

Anonymous said...

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Ahmad said...

check this out,

Shimaa Gamal said...

@ Anonymous: Thank you :)

@ Ahmad: Actually Shehata later explained what he meant. I posted a link on FB that explains mawdoo3 montakhab el sagdeen dah. It is becoming provoking by the minute, but I loved the explanation. Check it out, I am less provoked after reading it.

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