Seven Simple Steps to Ruin a Perfect Revolution

This article originally appeared on my friend Marwa Rakha’s blog:

This post has an Arabic version here – عربى

Seven simple steps to ruin a perfect revolution

STEP ONE: Let bygones be bygones!

Forgive and forget! Turn the other cheek! Do not pursue anyone! No prosecution! No Trials! Be a bigger person and forget about the mean corrupt guys!


People calling for the forgiveness of Mubarak!

People calling for the forgiveness of the members of his corrupt regime!

People accusing those who are insisting on a transparent live trial of ruthlessness and cold-heartedness!


Divide and conquer!

Create a split between people!

Create a counter team of people who are actually sympathizing with the toppled regime.


STEP TWO: Let there be chaos!

More protests! More strikes! More rumors! More confusion!

Example: Strikes in banks, oil companies, factories, and universities!


Make the country come to a standstill

Make people wish for the stability of the old regime!


STEP THREE: Turn the ousted president into a compassion-worthy figure!

Poor old defeated President Mubarak! Humiliated in his old age!


Mubarak is in a coma!

Mubarak’s sons are fighting!

Mubarak is sick!

Mubarak insists on dying on Egyptian soil!

Mubarak has served the country for 30 years!


Guilt-trip: Making people feel like ungrateful brats!

Emotional blackmail: Coercing people into sympathizing with a dictator.

Replacing the image of the dictator by the image of a father who was abandoned by his kids in his old age!


STEP FOUR: Defame those protesters and revolutionary figures!

Plant the seed of doubt and reap the fruits of confusion!


Wael Ghonim is part of a masonic conspiracy theory!

El Baradie is behind the ruin in Iraq!

God-knows-who is an addict, etc!

Purpose: Make people lose faith! Kill their hope in a better future! Destroy their glory and victory!


STEP FIVE: Clear the corrupt slate on TV

Shows and interviews with the very same people accused of corruption and of abusing their powers and authority. Instead of apologizing they present bedtime stories of how they were forced to do what they did or how they never did what they are accused of doing!

Example: Interviews with officers from the Ministry of Interior!


Opening people up to the idea that those icons of corruption could be innocent!

Getting people to calm down and accept step one; let bygones be bygones!


STEP SIX: Creating conflict and tension between the army and the protesters

There is already lack of trust between the people and anyone representing the government! By capitalizing on that tension and adding more fuel to its fire, the army is bound to start attacking the people!

Examples: Many bloggers are now highlighting the torture incidents in military camps and how the army was neutral in the face of the regime during the revolution and over the past 30 years!

Purpose: If the army turns against the protesters; the revolution is over! Change is history before it even starts!


STEP SEVEN: The old regime is reintroduced in its new attire!

A new name, a new face, and a new voice … the same corruption … the same nepotism .. the same injustice … the same abuses!


Back to square one!



Where Do We Begin?

Today, like many others, I am walking on the razor edge of complete despair and profound hope. Deep in my heart I am trembling with fear that tomorrow Mubarak will order his thugs to massacre any protesters. In my bones I am certain–just as the quivering voice of Salma speaking from Tahrir Square declared–that if Mubarak remains in office until September (or November as PM Shafiq later mentioned) many Egyptians who had the courage, nerve, and dignity to demand their human rights will be rounded up, tortured, and imprisoned–if not assassinated.

How have we created such a world? How is it that so many of us move along happily ignoring the numerous injustices plaguing the planet. I just cannot stop caring. Where do we begin to build peace? Where do we begin building cultures and societies that simply do not allow such atrocities to take place. This is not an Egyptian crisis, nor is it simply an Egyptian uprising. This is a global crisis and in my opinion it is a very private crisis too. All I can come up with, all I can grasp, is this: We must each make it our foremost duty to actively build peace in this world. I’m not talking about going to Yoga class and claiming bliss–I mean action. Action at home, action at work, action in our communities. Each one of us holding ourselves accountable and honestly reflecting on our own behavior, choices, and thinking.

This massacre is not being carried out by Mubarak alone but by many people. There are the thugs, of course, who have fallen in love with their power and have lost touch with their humanity. Hell-bound sycophants who eagerly assault unarmed innocents so that they may hold their grip on their positions. Some people enable the massacre by hiding away in their flats and growing revolution fat. Others enable the brutality by leaving the country and trying to forget about the chaos. Further away, some of us simply ignore the atrocities and justify our apathy in various ways: I am so busy, I have my own problems, that’s just a crazy part of the world and I don’t get it. LOOK INSIDE YOUR HEARTS!!!!!!! What is there! Aren’t you aching for this man above?! Aren’t you aching for Egypt? Aren’t you aching for this entire human mess? Look into your heart and pull aside that dark curtain that prevents you from seeing, from feeling. Look inside your heart and recognize–finally–that there you CAN create infinite space and hold within it every being on this freaking planet.

I cannot stop caring and I am praying that you will have the same affliction.

In honor of the brave Egyptians protesting in the dangerous streets, I am reposting this article so that you may be aware.

Here are the signals I picked:

Omar Soliman claimed the youth in Tahrir now are NOT those honorable ones on 25th! ( A BIG LIE )

Then all int’l reporters started getting calls to leave the square tonight ‘as gov. Can not guarantee there safety!!!’

And all live camers (at least from one side of tahrir have been confiscated!!)

Earlier the military police stormed the Hesham Mobarak center for human rights (not related to Mubarak) and detained at least 24!!

And a probaganda plan started about a foreign groups behind the protests continuing till now!!

I feel They are keeping (who are the foreigners! behind it?) open so they choose later who will not side with the reports after massacre is over by the mafia of Mubarak (US cia or HAMAS or Israili intelligence)

I tried to suggest protestors now to be aware and hide or leave and choose another form of protesting NOW suddenly like hanging a black cloth from each balcony but idea was turned down



Will you begin caring now? Will you look into your heart? Will you make this commitment to yourself and to your community? We must begin building peace in ourselves and doing that requires us to look into our hearts and realize that it DOES hurt to witness atrocities. It is our duty to bear witness, it is our duty to care, it is our duty to take action.

Please share this.

March by the Millions

Best of luck to you my friends as you continue your tireless and courageous fight for freedom.

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,
I understand that everyday you must make difficult decisions. Thank you, Sir, for speaking out against Hosni Mubarak’s violent reaction to the Egyptian people’s protests.
I just spoke with a friend of mine in Cairo. She is five months pregnant and today she is on the street with her fellow citizens and protesting for a better Egypt. When I got through to her phone–finally after nearly 24 hours of disrupted service–the first question she asked me was this, “Is the US putting pressure on these thugs to step down?” I told her about your speech. She assured me, “We will not leave the streets until Mubarak steps down. He will not stop down as long as the US supports him.”
Mr. President, we cannot afford to lose the affection of the Egyptian people. It is urgent that we put ourselves on the right side of history. Let us not continue supporting a repressive regime, let us not make it easier for Mubarak and his cruel secret police to torture and murder journalists, dissidents, and other innocent citizens.
Sir, the Egyptian people are fighting for their freedom. They are in the streets–some are pregnant with a new generation of Egyptians–risking their lives for a better future. They are fighting for grassroots democracy.
Democratic values and ideals should not be reserved for those of us who were lucky enough to be born in the Western world. It is bitterly ironic for the US to suppress a popular movement for democracy. Please Sir, let Mubarak know that you do not have his back.
Sir, thank you for your service.
Warmest regards,
Kelly Marie Johnston

Please contact your local representative and President Obama. You can write to the President here Support human rights everywhere. Our friends in Egypt are being murdered simply because they want basic freedoms.

Please tweet

Dear Congressman

Thank you for your kind attention. Sir, I am writing to request that you let it be known that American voters are outraged by the horrific human rights violations taking place in Egypt. The United States’ support of the Egyptian regime is not only unsustainable and inhumane, it is utterly hypocritical. Egyptian men and women deserve the right to free speech, free assembly, and peaceful protest. They deserve the right to access information and communicate with one another via internet and telephone.


I received a phone call one hour ago from a close friend of mine who is Egyptian. She is in Cairo now, five months pregnant, and stranded. The internet has been completely shut down and it is expected that phone, electricity, and water services will be cut tomorrow in effort to prevent the planned protests. If the United States continues to support this illegitimate regime we not only risk further damaging our legitimacy abroad, we also risk contributing to the development of another Iran. PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS FALL OFF YOUR RADAR.


I lived in Egypt for three years. It is a powder keg precisely because of the widespread corruption, ridiculous presidential referendums that are widely mocked, and a police state that makes it impossible for young, poor, frustrated Egyptians to innocently blow off steam. If we do not support grass roots democracy in the making, we have turned our backs on the values we claim to hold dear. Egyptians should no longer suffer under the weight of US support for puppet regimes. I am an American voter and tax-payer and I protest the US support for non-democratic regimes. Enough is enough.


Please fight for an official statement from the United States government–a reiteration of Secretary Clinton’s remarks with some teeth–that we do NOT support this thug regime’s tactics and that we stand behind all peoples seeking to claim their human rights.


Sir, do take care and thank you for your service.


Kelly Marie Johnston

University City, MO

Please write to your local representative, your congressman or congresswoman and urge that the US support Egyptians in their struggle for freedom, democracy, and human dignity.

Please Tweet to spread the word. Feel free to use this letter as a template.

Message from an Egyptian to All Egyptians


Egyptians are calling for a 1 million peaceful march all over Egypt after Friday’s prayers.
The keys for this protest to succeed are for:
  1. The protestors to withstand the pressure and wait long enough until the government gives in
  2. The police and/or army to join.
I completely support people voicing their anger in a civilized and peaceful way. It’s definitely better than sitting silently and doing nothing like old white heads. We’ve been silent for so long. Accept what’s given to us without asking for our rights.
We are the people capable of change.
For those who are scared of change because of lack of options, you have to know that resisting change is a human nature. But Change is mandatory in our situation. We need to realize our power and make our own sound decisions. Even if we walk through another failure. The future remains unknown, but we can also “shape our future“. The shaping of the future will be through the contribution.
The least we can do is to participate in the demonstration. I know some fellows (personally) who contributed by hacking the website of el hezb el watani. I know others who contributed by forwarding emails/sms/bbms/twitter..etc. Others contributed by joining the demos.
The protest intention is not to have the streets filled with chaos, but to have the streets filled with civilized people (basically us). We want to create a diverse segment that will threaten the government. Even for those who are not politically oriented, your head count matters.
Throughout the past 30 years, we’ve been moving around within our “comfort” zone. Nevertheless, people resisting change or inqelab are merely resisting walking out of their comfort zone and getting into an unknown hostile zone. But for the sake of a better future, for the sake of the thousand milesummit, we have to suffer some hardships.
Our rights will not be generously granted without us fighting for it. We have to EARN it.
Tomorrow it’s a call for freedom. We need to raise our voices. We deserve it because we’re a great nation. History will be made by a majority not a subset. When we are free we will be eligible to make a free choice of a new elected president. The consequences might be tough, but we are you willing to undergo worse?
All what i’m asking you for is the following:
Contributing positively towards this protest
  1. Even if you’re against the protest and do not want to participate, your silent contribution is better than your actions to put off the fire. Please stop being passive and spreading the negative energy by saying “nothing will change” or “who’s better than Hosny”
  2. If you participated, please hold on to your principles and beliefs. Do not give up easily. The government will give up if they find enough population. They cant kill their own people.
  3. Join any 7ezb to see their agenda and contribute in the elections.
  4. Use your skills to do something for Egypt.
Please disseminate.


Demand Your Rights, Ya Misr

of pidgins, customs and bras (via Learn.Make.Think.)

Check out Jana’s reflection of Korean office politics, bra shopping across borders, and other pesky little differences that arise when we live outside our home culture.

What comes to your mind when people mention living abroad? Culture shock, creepy-looking food, funny-sounding language, brow-raising traditions? Well, I agree. Quite often, living in a foreign land is all that, and then some. But  if you're lucky enough, living far away from home makes it possible to return with stories like this one: Jordan read somewhere that in Korea, it's customary to bring little gifts to the office's administration staff, s … Read More

via Learn.Make.Think.

Deep Sea Raccoon

Image source.

A little known fact about me: I’ve got a soft spot for hyper-corny Americana. Another surprise: I love boats! I’m on a boat! Everybody look at me cuz I’m sailin’ on a boat!

It all started with a family tradition. My grandfather, whom we all called ‘Pop,’ had a small boat that he kept in Cape May. When we were little, he would take us ‘down the shore’ fairly often to hop a ferry ride and go out on the SS…good God, I’ve no idea what the heck my Pop called that little boat! I’m going to call it the SS Awesomeness and here’s one story that will make it clear why that modest vessel deserves such a name.

It was a typical day. Pop took three of his grandkids, my older cousin Chris, my younger sister Michelle, and me down the shore to go on the boat and take in a bit of deep sea fishing. Sounds fancy, right? Wait, in order to really visualize this there’s another important crew member that joined us on this particular trip: Chatter, my pet raccoon.

FINE! Back story! Pop was a bit like Dr. Dolittle (and he did do little in terms of medical science but he was one with the animal world). Squirrels would eat out of his hand, he had dogs, goats, a monkey at one time, horses when my mom was a kid, and who knows what else. Anyway, one day Pop found a baby raccoon crying in the middle of the street surrounded by his squashed mother and siblings. He didn’t have a chance. So, reasonable and soft-hearted man that he was, Pop scooped up the little critter and took on the task of ‘taming him.’ The taming process went a bit like this: Pop sat in his seat at the head of the kitchen table holding the baby raccoon in one hand and petting him with the other while my Grandma cooked a bottle for the new baby. Pop then fed the baby with a bottle and talked to him. He named him Chatter because he cried a lot in the beginning, “He misses his mom, that’s right” Pop told us.

Soon, Chatter graduated to cereal and then to table scraps. I would ask to take him for walks and Pop would remind me not to walk too close to any trees. So I’d put the little collar around Chatter’s neck, attach the leash and head out for a stroll. Soon after, “Pop! PAHHHHHHPPPPPP!” I’d shout while pulling my weight on the leash. “Chatter’s in the pear tree!” And Pop would shuffle from inside the house or away from his ‘shanty’ (where he worked on fixing neighbors’ lawn mowers and riding mowers) and help get Chatter out of the tree. Soon enough, Chatter was a sturdy playmate and a necessity on any trip to the shore.

You know, there was also a midget alcoholic living in my grandparents’ attic but that, as they say in academia, is beyond the scope of this article.

We all piled into the boat. Sun screen: check; cooler with sandwiches and stuff: check; cool Def Leopard caps with ear flaps: check; pet raccoon: check; fishing bait: on our way. Pop and Chris fired up the engine and we headed out into the bay. Chatter was hanging out just in front of the cabin doorway on the landing situated at the base of the three steps leading from the deck.

It was a beautiful day. We swung by the bait shop on the pier and got some supplies, filled up with some fuel, and headed back out into the water. The shops on the pier slowly faded into the distance when suddenly my grandfather shouted, “QUICK! Everyone run to THAT side of the boat!” The engine was smoking and water was finding its way into the boat. I put saucers in my eyes like Orphan Annie’s–metaphorically, of course–and watched the scene in Slo-Mo.

My sister bent her neck and threw her face skyward, “WAHHHHHHH!!! WAHHHHHH!!!” My cousin was diligently following Pop’s directions, which I’m sure were hilarious and I wish I could remember them verbatim. Chatter, thank God he was with us, was running with ever-increasing speed in very small circles just before the cabin door. Soon enough a tugboat arrived and pulled us in the short distance from the great open raging sea with its sharks, its lochness monsters, and raccoons to the safety of the bait and fuel shop. Though, I do remember in the midst of all that pure mayhem stealing a look at my Pop who, is it possible(?), was chuckling.

Update: According to my mom, “Pop’s boat (that caught fire) was called Rock ‘N Rye for the fruit filled whiskey Pop used to drink. David [Chris’ younger brother] named his boat Rock ‘N Rye II in honor of Pop.”

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