Monday, August 25, 2008

When will apartheid fall?

At times its hard to believe that pressure, protest, opposition, have the power to bring about real change. Its not always easy because you can't always see the result right away. In this case it took SEVEN years.

The Palestinian- Jewish Unity (PJU), a Montreal based group, have been organizing protests against Israel's apartheid policy every week since 2001, infront of Israel's consulate in downtown Montreal. Apparently, the bad publicity has finally embarrased the Israelis enough to move their consulate to a more discreet location where they wouldnt be publically criticized. Every week between 20 to 30 people got together in protest and pushing for international boycott of Israel.

Sometimes I wonder how in the Arab world we could never get this amout of order and determination to protest anything on a weekly basis. Granted, that would also involve getting beat up by the police on a weekly basis too, but I imagine some national causes would be worth getting together once a week and saying something about it. Maybe I have an unrealistic understanding of the political context? Maybe. But more so, I think I have a realistic understanding of the mismanagement and disorder of Egyptian opposition and civil society movements. I think the main problem would be to get five or six NGO's to decide on one cause to support for a prolonged period of time and to sacrifice their name as THE organizer of that event. If it takes seven years to get ONE consulte in ONE country (Canada, no less) to MOVE, not even banished, then perhaps we should get started on our own problems now..


Anonymous said...

The thing is,Diva,that it's not about the people here, and what you so call (opposition) and (civil rights movements) which are actually negligible and very minute they can be disregarded aslan. But there were strong, more active opposition movements in the 80s and 90s, ranging from small leftist and communist groups to arab unionist naser-like groups (Thawret masr for example), reaching to jihadis and islamists, whether you agree with them or not, and I'm sure you don't, and I don't as well, but they were all moved-mainly- by corruption and failure of the system (I didn't mention the Ikhwan, coz they are part of the system), even if they stated other wise. I know that because I know some of their major leaders in person. The personal frustration was always a motive and always a common cause and a predisposing factor gathering all of those ideologically variant groups.
They took action, real action.
They were crushed to the bones, brutally and relentlessly. And when I say crushed, I'm talking about Egyptian state police, Egyptian laws and Egyptian prisons, where Simple means of Dignity and Humanity do not exist.where torture is a daily ritual, torture beyond imagination.You know it, I know it, everybody does.
Those protestors will not be jailed in Canada, and if they do, I'm sure it would be heaven compared to jailtime here.
Political prisoners are released only if they reached the point where they are only human wrecks, not fit for anything, physically and psychologically. And they know how to do that, they sure do.
Now, when all this was happening in the 80s and 90s, the economy wasn't that bad, people were making money and happy, especially the middle class, the intelligency, intellectuals in particular. They didn't have to support violent groups, but they should've supported human rights back then as well (Unless the term human is restricted to certain people and certain conditions), and I learned when we breakdown a principal to pieces, its not a principal anymore. They should've also discovered, or should I rather say noticed, saw,spoke out against,exposed the nature of the regime. I would not describe this nature, it's all clear,decades ago!
These people really fought real battles, and noone really cared, moreover they aided the regime in its ruthless war against them in every way.
Now, who would sacrifice himself, his family, his future, their future, for poeple who don't care, and if they do, it's for how much money there is in their pockets.
I won't, I was about to, but I won't.

zeinab said...

To anonymous:

I never really think about it that way. I mean, to sacrifice yourself for people who don't care. Don't care about what? I am sure they care that their lives are painted everyday with all the colorings of living under an oppressive regime, or in poverty or with the constant threat of random police brutality. I care about making their lives better, because I care about certain principles, not because they care about the good of the nation. That these people are apathetic is only more reason to want to change things, it makes taking action that much more urgent. I am not being brave and chivalrous here, and I am not saying that I am willing to sacrifice my life or future for a political protest for example, at least not in the current context, but that doesn't mean I've given up on the possibility, or rather, the necessity of action.

Anonymous said...

I meant people who don't care about their own interests..and don't care about you and what's going to happen to you. It's like loving someone who won't love you back.
I agree with what you said first, but then you said you are not willing to sacrifice yourself and your future for this. So what's the point. Whether we fight for principles or figures, are we willing to fight or not..I think we are not, because it takes sacrifices and we are not willing to give sacrifices, we even sacrificed people who gave sacrifices.
I think we have to change on a personal level first, do u agree to the fact that lots of those calling for change, cannot change their simplest and most revealed shortcomings in the first place?

Anonymous said...

If you take a chicken and hold its head down for a minute then remove your hand, it will keep its head down.... Violent suppression is all too effective. But, as in much of Latin America, human beings can take only so much and will lift their heads up high.

More insidious though is pacification through the new consumerism: CityStars, Rehab City, New Giza - once people get on the treadmill of consumption, then all hope is washed asunder. Even those who have no hope of ever even walking into CityStars easily buy into the idea.

Great blog by the way! Acerbic pessimism spiced with a dash of anticipatory optimism.

EgyDiva said...

"Acerbic pessimism spiced with a dash of anticipatory optimism.:
hahah wow! remind me to use that as a review when i publish my book....