17 responses

  1. Sherif Nagui
    November 10, 2011

    Although I agree with all the premises that base your argument, I see (from my point of view) a few logical flaws in your conclusion:

    1) Conditions 2,3 and 4 that you set in order for you to vote are all enforced/ backed up by legislation. Guess who’s going to be responsible for amending / approving / monitoring them a few months from now.

    2) You seem to confuse and overlap two very distinct authorities, legislative and executive. Power is attained through the executive institutions, i.e. the government. The parliament is merely a legislative and monitoring unit, hence your “balance of power” arguments aren’t very valid in this case

    3) You claim that participating in elections gives SCAF legitimacy. I don’t see how you made this link. Elections are a common democratic process that takes place periodically. Actually, elections, in itself, is the largest representation of the people’s legitimacy and it is part of the key pillars of Citizenship – which I assume you would be a big proponent of. The only way this claim is valid is if the elections were orchestrated in a way towards the SCAF winning seats in parliament. If you argue against the supra-constitutional laws they’re trying to impose(which I’m very surprised you haven’t mentioned), I would then agree with your legitimacy argument.

    4) Logically, from your tone, pessimism and evidences, which I don’t necessarily disagree with. You believe its naive to think that SCAF will hand over power any time soon or, as you’ve mentioned in point 1, they’re too big to completely collapse. Then when do you see them abiding by your conditions to vote?

    5) If you are boycotting as a form of continuation of the revolution, why isn’t it in Arabic language as well so you can broaden your support, send your message through and ‘revolutionize’?

  2. TT
    November 10, 2011

    Tarek, thanks for this interesting blog post. I hope that more people are sharing these ideas or will come to the same conclusion. The majority of the western media and people are still ‘sleeping’…
    Stay safe!

  3. HZ
    November 10, 2011

    The revolution is lost. The bad guys won. To vote or not to vote is irrelevant now. The people have clearly spoken. They want no more than “mild reform” — perhaps sprinkled with a more Islamic facade. I have therefore emotionally cut myself off from the future of this country. Fuck it all. And fuck the people who believe in the media. They are blameless, but fuck them nonetheless.

  4. Amr
    November 10, 2011

    I am a great believer in the goals and aims of the revolution. And I do agree that the fight against the military dictatorship is yet to be fraught and concluded. I am however totally against boycotting the elections, it seems to me that you have become rather addicted to the struggle on the street, enjoying the revolutionary high while ignoring a greater demand for a return to a degree of stability even if it might be a fake one. It is because of actions like this that the general public has become disgruntled with revolutionaries like yourself. It doesnt sll have to be tear gas and bullets, room must be given for dialogue and some politics to play. Regardless of how defunct the coming parliament will be, it is by no means going to be a 99% win like the old days, and it will atleast offer some resistance to SCAf’s unquestioned authority. Furthermore even if u do boycott and manage to convince thousands to do the same, the SCAF won’t lift a finger to make u happy or change the status quo vis a vis parliament, if anything ull be doing them a favor. Don’t let your idealist principles blind you from reality

  5. taha
    November 10, 2011

    Thanks for the post ya Shibbles. Well thought through and provocative. Not to mention a conversation that needs to be happening/popping more.

    I wonder too about places like Turkey and Tunisia. Granted they are in very different situations then we are but still there seems to be plenty we could learn and adapt to ours.

    In comparison to the way Tunisia (from the little that I looked into and understand about their elections) have run things we are looking unbelievably (disastrously?) unorganized – and generally very messy. It is like there is a deadline (which already passed) and we just need to have these elections – no matter what.

    I do hear advertisements/campaigns to go out and vote on the radio here occasionally – but when you look at the excitement/enthusiasm and the will and the way elections were prepared for and executed in Tunisia it leaves a lot to be desired from those running things here.

    In Turkey it seems they are still moving towards complete civilian rule. The secular state has been backed somewhat dictatorship-y/authoratarian-y by the army. They are moving, slowly but surely and the army’s power does seem to be eroding but it has taken quite some time. Perhaps this is the more optimistic model – that through a diplomatic process the people can regain power/control from the army eventually (although in Turkey it is yet to be realized in full).

    But then again why go through all of that, why can’t we learn from the lessons from the Turks and not cede power to the army at all in the first place and then have to go through this lengthy/painful process of regaining it.

    Generally I would agree with the view that we need to move to civilian rule as quickly as possible – so having elections as early as possible would be best. But under what conditions?

    The questions are as you mention – do these or can these elections mean any real transition to civilian rule?

    Since February the SCAF has been all over the place, incompetent and unorganized (which might have been more acceptable had they addmited to this) and most importantly very unclear and very, very uncommunicative/untransparent with us.

    Suffice it to say I have no idea what to expect of these elections that are supposed to happen at the end of the month which in itself is hard to believe. And I have to say at the moment they remind me of elections under Mubarak.

  6. Tarek Shalaby
    November 10, 2011

    Sherif Nagui: Thanks for the comment. I guess you know where you an I do not agree.

    I’ll tell you, though, you’re right about Selmy’s ‘laws above constitution’, I forgot to mention that. But it’s still a minor issue for me, and was completely predictable.

    And you’re absolutely right about writing the post in Arabic. Unfortunately, my written Arabic isn’t as good as my English, but I’ve asked a friend to translate it for me.

    TT: Thank you very much.

    HZ: hahaha!!! That’s hilarious. I think the people will mature with time and learn from their mistakes. Until then, I recommend you go live in Pakistan or somewhere that makes you feel better about us! hehe

    Amr: Thanks. I obviously disagree, but it’s good to know that, regardless of the arguments, those who have already decided whether they’re voting or taking part, are not going to change their minds. We’ll see how things develop.

  7. Tarek Shalaby
    November 10, 2011

    B-pops! I liked your response so much, I’m dedicating a comment just for you.

    You’re right about Tunisia and Turkey being case studies that we need to look at, even if they’re different. I would consider Tunisia’s elections a big success (but perhaps I don’t know enough to make a proper judgment).

    I don’t know how I feel about Turkey though. Like you said, it took them a couple of decades to be ‘almost there’. My bigger problem is that while most of the Turks might be fine with their army, Kurds aren’t exactly fond of them. And I think you simply cannot assume Turkey a success in anyway as long as the Kurds are oppressed in such a way.

    What makes us different is that SCAF, backed by the US, is our biggest obstacle. I believe that #jan25 is not just about changing the regime, it’s really about independence. We need to be able to make our own calls without foreign interference. We want to be able to act on what’s best for us, not what would guarantee the US and Israel remain pleased with us.

    Especially given how the armed forces, as an institution, is overwhelmingly large and powerful, toppling their corruption while they’re fully backed by the West makes it extremely difficult.

    The reason why these elections look a lot like the ones we had in the Mubarak era is because not much has changed…at all. It’s takes a lot more than taking the president to the hospital and imprisoning a handful of business for a regime to be ready for change.

    I feel that, whatever happens, we will win. It’s just a matter of time before the people’s voice is heard. The current setup is in noway sustainable. Especially with the debt crisis in Europe, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US, we can be optimistic that soon, we will be independent, and overcoming the obstacles will be even easier.

    Taking part in the elections is a step backwards, but it’s certainly not going to end the revolution.

  8. TT
    November 10, 2011

    Tarek, this might be outside of the topic and I dont want to draw to much attention to this issue, but I wonder based on what kind of observations do you say that ‘Kurds are oppressed’ at present time in Turkey? One shouldn´t mix PKK with ordinary Kurdish people. Again, I don´t want to spoil this post, but please do write someday(night) a blog post on this issue, based on reliable facts…And hey, you can still have Turkey as a good case study, since Egypt don´t have Kurds ;-)
    Stay strong!

  9. Tarek Shalaby
    November 10, 2011

    TT: I’m by no means an expert on the subject. My observation is based on my visit to Turkish Kurdistan (where Kurds are not even allowed to speak the language, learn it in school, put up signs, or name their kids), my Kurdish friends and loved ones from the different parts, and some reading. I have not come a single place/person/source that suggests that the Kurds are not oppressed. You’re the first (after some angry Turks in Istanbul).

  10. Shy Girl
    November 11, 2011

    Thanks for inspirate us. Egypt and Tunisia encouraged to many spaniards. Without you, spring never would have rise this year.

    I hope the Army won’t back to appropiate the revolution, and Tahir Dream won’t become a nightmare.

    Please, enjoy democracy moore than us. We left all our sovereignity in hands of politicians, and then Markets bought them. Now that we realise that, left parties are a parody, referendums “put the European Union in danger”, and FMI decides who can present himself to democratic elections. People who protest in streets, are arrested and defamed as antidemocratic terrorists, or marginal “dog-flutes”.

    Sorry for my bad English

  11. TT
    November 11, 2011

    Tarek, when did you travel to southeastern of Turkey, 15-years ago? It is really weird that your friends aren’t allowed to speak Kurdish, when TRT6 (Turkish radio and television institution) exists. This channel is only broadcasting in Kurdish. There are a lot of signs in southeastern of Turkey that are both in Turkish and Kurdish, how come you´ve missed them? Turgut Özal, formar and late Turkish president, had Kurdish origin. Many popular celebrities, politicians and other famous people in Turkey have Kurdish background (and sometimes Kurdish names), which many of them are proud of. I´ve got friends with relatives that can´t speak Turkish, and yet they live in the heart of Turkey. Look up the number of politicians in the Turkish Parliamentary that have Kurdish background, you´ll be shocked. An oppressed ethical group would never have been given these opportunities/rights, right? Oki, this list can be made very long and which proves the contrary of what you are saying. But sadly, yes, some of the things that you/your friends, are describing were true before. And during that period, when Turkey was under military regime, leftist, Kurds or anyone against the regime were oppressed and often jailed…This was THEN. Nowadays the situation is different, actually, if you have time to follow the Turkish news, you´ll notice about a case called “sledgehammer”…you can see it as a ‘payback time’ to the old regime/and the supporters of it, interesting and weird case. And PKK (plus it´s sister organisations and followers) are the only ones, which involves Kurds, that the Turkish army and people are conducting struggle against nowadays. Btw, I hope that you are not supporting PKK? If that´s the case, well the only thing that I can say is that you are naive…
    Believe you me when I say that I am not alone with these thoughts/facts among people that have knowledge about this issue and that are not affected by pro-PKK propaganda. I know that you have your ‘heart at the right place’ and feel solidarity with oppressed people. That´s probably why I have followed you for the last 9 months, that plus your sense of humour. But to put an end to this comment, and as you said, that you are not an expert on this issue (nor am I, but I think that I do have some knowledge/facts), you might need to study it more and have a second opinion?

    Goodluck tomorrow with the meeting!
    Kindly (or should I say angrily)

  12. Tarek Shalaby
    November 11, 2011

    Shy Girl: Gracias por el apoyo! Nuestra revolucion ha perdido mucha gasolina, pero gracias a vosotros hemos vuelto a creer que podemos llegar a la victoria, sobre todo cuando vuestros gobiernos corruptos intentan impedirnos. Juntos, lucharemos hasta que haya pan, libertad y justicia social en Egipto, en Espana, y en todo el mundo.

    Lo de perroflautas me he dejado muriendome de risa! jaja…

  13. Tarek Shalaby
    November 11, 2011

    TT: I have a lot to say, but this discussion goes beyond the blog post. so I’ll share with you the link that summarizes why a lot of what you said regarding Kurds in Turkey is complete falsehood:


    And just in case you were having any doubts, I do support a free and independent Kurdistan. And since their flag is officially banned in Turkey, I’ll take advantage of free speech on my blog and share it here


    I think we’ll have to agree to disagree, my friend. Thanks for all your support.

  14. Amira
    November 13, 2011

    Thanks i actually formed my opinion regarding elections after reading this .. No way i am going to participate in such a “Mahzalaa”

  15. dr Tamer Harfoush
    November 14, 2011

    Totally agree
    please contact me to collaborate
    dr. Tamer Harfoush

  16. Chombey Wemps
    November 14, 2011

    It’s just ridiculous.
    People revolted, a revolution broke out, SCAF took over, detained the revolutionaries and sentenced them to 3, 5, 7, and 12 years in prison, once these revolution voices were in prison, SCAF now wants to have a free and fair election in the name of the revolution.. wtf?

    It’s just depressing that the average Egyptian is never enabled to see just how blatant these actions are..

    I don’t believe in voting either.. The whole election is a dark joke.. and I feel depressed about the future of the revolution at this point..

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