One hand? When did this happen? I might’ve missed the memo.
We Egyptians can get rather emotional with topics we feel strongly about. Who can deny that it is qualities such as sheer passion that can lead to revolutions happening? It is impossible to push for any change if hope and optimism do not make up the driving force in your struggle. It is easy to give up the walk if you lack vision of the bright and shiny light at the end of the tunnel.
The negative aspect of such positivity is eventual naivety. Many Egyptians believe in a mythical yet mutually beneficial relationship between us, the people, and the Egyptian military. One that is lead by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and followed by the people who can trust them blindly. The repeated encounter with innocent arguments made in favor of our fatherly military is frustrating, to say the least. The following are the five lamest arguments that I’ve had to put up with, and why I think they’re completely unfounded.
You know the rules: this is my opinion (which I’m entitled to), and I never claimed to be an expert on the subject matter.
The army protected our revolution
Even if I were to listen to such an argument, why don’t we see how the families of the martyrs of the camel attacks feel about this? Or those who were killed on the Friday of Anger when military vehicles were providing the interior forces with ammunition?
Throughout the Tahrir days, I witnessed dozens of dead bodies being pulled out of the crowds because our beloved army was kind enough to let thousands of armed thugs attack us at Tahrir square from all angles. In fact, not only did the army disappear when the lives of hundreds (if not thousands) were at risk, they somehow developed the cold-heartedness to have two officers on top of one of the residential buildings facing the museum shoot photographs while both sides were fighting to the death.
A sequel to this point tends to argue that we should be thankful to the army for not shooting at us. Have are standards become so low, that we appreciate the fact that our own army did not opt to open fire against us and forcing us to become like Libya? Is avoiding a genocide an attractive quality of a government body nowadays? It’s not clear if that is due to innocence, ignorance, or just being sad, but judging from the sense of pride of many towards the army’s protection of our revolution, I’d say it’s all three.
The army is not accustomed to dealing with civilians. The personnel are trained for combat in the desert
How many training courses on ‘civilian interaction’ do you need to not use the museum as a torture camp? What human skills are required to stop you from throwing your own citizens behind bars on no legal basis? There is absolutely no excuse to detaining those who speak their mind. And I never though I needed to say this, but there is no justification to torture.
While it might be true that, in theory, the army officers and soldiers are trained to hold guard at the borders and be prepared for combat, it is really not that difficult to avoid humiliating, imprisoning and torturing the people they’re supposedly here to protect.
Even if we were to get rid of Tantawi and the rest at the SCAF, how could we replace them?
The last time I was being hammered this ‘argument’, we were building up to the downfall of Mubarak. Just like it was overwhelmingly ignorant as well as offensive to all potential replacements then, it is the same to think so towards the army now. And if overthrowing a totalitarian dictator of 30 years was not impossible, and didn’t cause complete anarchy and mayhem, why would replacing the SCAF do so?
Let’s not forget that we’ve started a historical revolution. We should not settle for anything less than what we deserve. The mindset of taking the current corrupt regime for granted is backwards at a time when we’re progressively looking towards the future.
We cannot overthrow the army, the uprising has to be from within
For some odd reason, many believe that even though we’re going through a revolution and claiming some of our basic rights, with regards to the army, there are rules to follow. We were never given permission to take the streets and put up a fight against hundreds of thousands of police forces and thugs, but we did it. It was the right thing to do. However there’s this mysterious notion that to change the military, we have to sit back and wait for a handful of courageous soldiers to overtake the system, and then hope they act in the most beneficial way for us. Otherwise, it’s illegal…or something.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to let the revolution fail just because there’s an apparent protocol to how change should happen in the army. If they’re not good enough to represent us, we’ll take the streets and object until our demands are met.
The army ‘s job is to protect the borders in the best way it sees fit. We’re not in a position to tell them what to do
This is the knockout argument that ends any conversation on any sort of intellectual level. How could you possibly answer to that? Game over.
It is truly sad how the army has been able to indoctrinate us over the years to believe that they are a separate entity to the government, completely independent from the government and the people. They know what to do, and when. They understand their responsibilities and are working on them.
Sorry to break the news to you, but that is complete falsehood. The army’s existence is purely to serve the people. This is OUR country, WE tell them what to do, and it is up to US to make the decisions. We have demands and their job is to meet them with their technical knowledge. We don’t need to be education experts, or healthcare gurus to demand from the government and the ministries to provide us with basic education and healthcare. We do not need to be military strategists and war heroes to ask the army to protect us, to oppose a war, or to join one. We choose the government that we think best represents us, and we hold them accountable if they don’t yield favorable results. The army is no exception.
One hand my ass.
This is our revolution, and if the SCAF doesn’t straighten itself up, it will have to put up with the people that tossed over its former employers, the civilization that is only at the beginning of its road, the revolutionaries that redefined victory.