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Posts tagged ‘#Jan25’

The Peak and Limit of Revolution 2.0

Although Activist Wael Ghonim coined the term Revolution 2.0 to describe the Egyptian Revolution, it goes without saying that the roots of #Jan25 preceded the advent of social media (Web 2.0). Nevertheless, the importance of social media over the past five years in raising awareness, mobilizing Egyptians and actually coordinating the protests on the streets is undisputable. Perhaps the significance of social media is best established by the Egyptian government’s decision to shut down the Internet on January 27th.

Yet although the importance of Web 2.0 for the Egyptian Revolution is obvious, it appears that Egyptians soon reached the peak of their 2.0 experience and at the same time realized its limits.

Within a month of Mubarak stepping down, the Egyptian constitution was revised and several key articles were modified in order to allow for a democratic transition. For the amendments to be legitimate, they had to be subjected to a national referendum set for March 19th. However, many, especially the core organizers behind #Jan25, contested the concept of merely “revising” a constitution after a revolution, and of course social media became a platform for their debates. A look at Wael Ghonim’s tweets on March 14th captures in a nutshell the status of Revolution 2.0:

Ghonim: Whats interesting about this referendum is that for the 1st time in 50 years we don’t know the final results in advance! #Dostor2011 14 Mar

Ghonim: A screen shot from my Facebook account. Friends changing their photo to Yes / No to referendum 🙂 Campaigns 2.0 14 Mar

Egyptian Facebook users changing their avatars into the words ‘Yes’ (Green) and ‘No’ (Red) to reflect their intended vote.

As Referendum Day approached, Facebook and Twitter users started changing their avatars into either a green ‘Yes’ or a red ‘No’.  Yet, the zenith of Revolution 2.0 was, in my opinion, when the very icons of Twitter and Facebook were flipped and rotated so that the ‘t’ and the ‘f’ would resemble the glyph for ‘No’ in Arabic. At this point, the Egyptian Revolution had fully exhausted the resources provided by Web 2.0 after adapting them to its particular needs. Only then was it able to reach for its very icons to convey an authentic expression. The moment the Egyptian Revolution engendered a new meaning to icons with an unambiguous interpretation within the Web 2.0 culture is the peak of Revolution 2.0 and is of enormous significance, namely because it meant the revolution had fully ‘incorporated’ Web 2.0 as a means to serve an authentic end.

Caption: The word “No” in Arabic in various scripts and by flipping and rotating the logos of Twitter and Facebook

Zadie Smith reviewed David Fincher’s film “The Social Network” for the New York Review of Books. It was a spectacular piece because not only did it critique the film, but Facebook in general, and our generation at large. She ended by concluding

“In this sense, The Social Network is not a cruel portrait of any particular real-world person called “Mark Zuckerberg.” It’s a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore.”

I argue that the moment Egyptians flipped and rotated the Facebook icon to spell the Arabic word for ‘No,’ was the moment they were no longer entrapped in the thoughts of Mark Zuckerberg. Instead, those Egyptians outgrew the minds behind social media and turned the very icons and logos of Web 2.0 into symbols for their own dreams.

Such is the power of importing popular symbols to express a personal meaning. You become One with the culture, yet Independent in your thoughts. The Egyptian Revolution became One with the culture of Web 2.0, yet transcended it and became Independent in its dreams and aspirations.

Although the Egyptian protestor raising a placard with “Egypt” spelled in the logos of Internet Explorer, Google, Yahoo!, PayPal and Twitter signifies the peak of Revolution 2.0, he also expresses its limit. A close examination of the picture, beyond the eye-catching placard, will bring to attention his winter gloves. This picture was not taken in Tahrir, but in Toronto. The majority of Egyptians living in Egypt however are offline without even an email account, let alone one on Facebook or Twitter. In fact, half the population can’t even read or write their own names.  Welcome to Egypt 0.5.

Reflecting on the referendum results (less than 25% voted ‘No’), online activists began reciting the mantra “Egypt is not Facebook, Egypt is not Twitter” to reinforce the paradigm shift needed for the next phase. With that came a renewed interest in grass roots organizing, this time not for popular dissent, but rather for political and social development. The creative innovations to facilitate an interface between Web 2.0 and Egypt 0.5  are bound to set the tone for the future of the Internet in the Arab world.

محو الأمية بعد ثورة 25 يناير – الأبجدية الجديدة

عيب لمّا شعب سخّر الإنترنت لخدمة ثورته ونيل حريته يفضل أسير للأمية

يلا نمحي الأمية…. قول ورايا:ـ

أ ….. انترنت

ب ….. بلوج

ت ….. تويتر

ث ….. ثورة

ج ….. جوجل

ح ….. حزب

خ ….. خالد سعيد

د ….. ديليت

ذ ….. ذيول النظام (تم قطعهم كما قطع الذال من العامية)ـ

ر ….. ريتويت

ز ….. زنجا زنجا

س ….. ستاتوس

ش ….. شير (بس في الخير وبس)ـ

ص ….. صورة

ض ….. ضريح (حرف الضاد مات في العامية ولازمله ضريح احتراما لمكانته)ـ

ط ….. طرة

ظ ….. ظرطة (لامؤاخدة، الريّس مكانش راضي يمشي والواحد كان مزنوق)ـ

ع ….. عَلَم

غ ….. غاز مسيل للدموع

ف ….. فيسبوك

ق ….. قانون

ك ….. كومنت

ل ….. لايك

م ….. ميدان

ن ….. نوت

هـ ….. هاشتاج

و ….. ويب

ي ….. يوتيوب


إذا اعجبتك هذا النوت فستعجبك هذه التدوينة كذلك

Democracy 2.0 after #Jan25

تصورات دستورية 1/6 – هم الدستور الأساسي

إن المجتمع بوصفه تجمعا لأناس ذوي إرادات مستقلة، بحاجة لنظام يسمح بالتعبير عن هذه الإرادات دون طغيان بعضها على بعض. وهذا النظام يثمره العرف وقد يقنن من خلال قوانين مدونة. وكلما جاء القانون معبرا عن المتعارف عليه كان اتباعه وفرضه أسهل، وكلما جاء منفصما عن المعروف لدى المجتمع كان مخالفته والتحايل عليه أقرب.ـ

والدستور في أصله اتفاق يحدد الطريقة التي تقنن وتفرض من خلالها أعراف المجتمع، لكي يضمن أن القانون إنما هو تدوين لما تعارف عليه الناس واعترفوا به منظما لمعاملاتهم، وليضمن أنه ليس فرضا منفصما عن عرفهم. وكلما ضمن الدستور تعبير القانون عن العرف كان دستورا حافظا للمجتمع، وكلما سمح بافتراق القانون والعرف أدى إلى التفريق بين أفراد المجتمع وطغيان بعضهم على بعض.ـ

ومن ثمة فإن هَمّ الدستور الأساسي هو تحديد آلية تقنين العرف في صورة قوانين منفذة بما يضمن بقاءها تدوينا لما تعارف عليه الناس وارتضوه بينهم، وبما يحول دون تحوّل القانون إلى أداة لطغيان فئة على أخرى. وبالتالي فإن الدستور يعني بالإجراءات بعد التسليم بمسلمتين، وهما أن الطغيان مستنكر مرفوض وأن أية قوانين مفروضة تفتقر إلى اعتراف المجتمع بها. ثم يحدد الدستور الآلية والإجراءات التي تضمن إقامة المسلمتين المذكورتين.ـ

وما عدا ذلك في الدستور فديباجة وحشو، فيهما إثم كبير ومنافع للناس، وإثمهما أكبر من نفعهما.ـ

Jan25, Tura, and the Butterfly Mosque

G. Willow Wilson poetically describes Tura in her memoir, “The Butterfly Mosque”. In fact, the very name of her memoir is derived from a mosque behind the walls of Tura’s prison.

Shortly after our parents Christmas visit, Jo and I moved out of our expensive apartment in Maadi and into a much smaller one in Tura… Tura is sandwiched between three landmarks: an infamous political prison, a cement factory, and the Nile… I remember it as a harrowing, sunless place, and whenever I say the name aloud a perfectly formed memory surfaces: I am trudging through the filthy dust outside the prison with a bag of fruit in my arms, and when I look up at the dun-colored, wire-topped walls, I am acutely conscious of the journalists, reformists, and dissidents being held inside. Then I see the mosque, a little jewel-like thing that looks far older than the prison itself. Its corniced minaret stretches above the wall like a plea for help; the mosque, like the prisoners,a was trapped there for no other reason that it was in the way.
I began to call it the butterfly mosque, because it reminded me of a butterfly caught in a jar. I would fantasize about freeing it and imprisoning in its place, the modern, ugly, loud mosque that was the focal point of Turan religious activity. [excerpted from The Butterfly Mosque p120-2]

I reflected on the butterfly mosque this morning, as it flutters in Tura’s Prison overseeing the fruits of the Egyptian Revolution. Key corrupted politicians of pre-Jan25 Egypt are now behind its bars including the two sons of Mubarak, who himself is also expected to be transferred there shortly. Perhaps this constitutes the freedom of the butterfly mosque, that it knows Egyptians are liberating themselves from the oppression of the past. Yet in its utter-selflessness, the mosque does not aspire to fly away beyond the walls of the prison, but overlooks, patiently at its new inmates, awaiting them to enter and turn back to their Lord; to shed tears and wash their slates. For the liberation of the butterfly mosque lies in our liberation from the tyranny of our selves… in liberating our hearts from the jars of this world.
Modern, ugly and loud mosques, on the other hand, are such because of their visitors. Let us hope that Jan25 frees them as well.

From the Burning Bush to Tahrir Square: Let My People Go! (Talk at Nehar Shalom)

[This is a talk I prepared to give at Nehar Shalom in preparation for their celebration of Passover]

Soon after the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) immigrated to Medina, he noticed that the Jews there were celebrating and fasting on a particular day. When he inquired, they told him they were fasting to commemorate the Exodus and to thank God for delivering the Hebrews from the Pharaoh. The Prophet happily embraced this occasion, explaining that the bond between Muslims and Moses was even stronger. He had it announced in the city that whoever had not yet had breakfast should continue fasting and whoever already had breakfast should begin fasting till sunset. The Prophet said that God would forgive the shortcomings of the previous year for those who fast on such a blessed day; when God rescued Moses and the Children of Israel from the Pharaoh.  Later, when fasting the month of Ramadan became an obligation and pillar of Islamic practice, fasting to commemorate the Exodus became an optional act of worship still observed till this day.

That Muslims have a stronger bond with Moses is not meant to establish religious territories where Moses is on the Muslim side rather than on the Jewish. Rather, it is an emphasis on the centrality of Moses in the message of Islam. The person most mentioned by name in the Quran is Moses (136 times). What I find interesting is that second most mentioned person is not Abraham (69) or Jesus (25 + 11 as Christ and 23 as Son of Mary). It is none other than the Pharaoh and he is mentioned 74 times. What this reflects is the attention given in the Quran to the interaction that occurred between Moses and the Pharaoh and thus the importance of the Exodus in Islam.

The centrality of Moses and the Pharaoh in Islamic faith, I believe, comes from them symbolizing the relationship between Tawhid and excess. Tawhid is the belief that God is the only one worthy of worship and is the only one who determines the fate of all matters. Furthermore, Tawhid is the embodiment of that faith in ones actions and transactions. Excess on the other hand is to exceed limits determined by God and Pharaoh being a symbol of political excess. Tyranny is a form of excess in which a leader exceeds the limits of acceptable leadership and transgresses against those under their rule.  A core message in the Quran is “Beware of Excess,” and of the first verses revealed were “Man transgresses, once he sees himself as self-sufficient. But to your Lord [everything] returns.” [96:6-8].

Excess compromises ones Tawhid, for it only arise from forgetting the transitory nature of this worldly life and that we all will return to our Lord, the maker and sustainer of all things. For that reason the Quran warns against excess in all its forms, especially in the political form embodied by the “Pharaoh.”

Gamal Hemdan (1928- 1993) was a prominent Egyptian scholar who specialized in anthropology and Egyptian geopolitics. His magnum opus was Shakhsiyyet Masr (Egypt’s Character) and one of his observations was that the nature of Egypt’s geography encouraged the emergence of Pharaohs (or authoritarian rule).  Egypt is a desert with a river running in the middle around which a narrow valley and a delta developed. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood and it depends on water. The water does not fall from the skies from flows in a single river. Thus it is necessary to manage this central water source for everyone’s benefit. From this equation derives the necessity of central rule, and the fact that whoever controls the water controls Egypt. The Pharaoh emerges from such necessity and power.  Although Egypt today has other sources of income such as the revenue from tourism and the Suez Canal, millennia of agricultural dependence have engrained in the Egyptian psyche a certain attitude that enables the continuing emergence of Pharaohs.

However, the same way Egypt is still able to produce the Pharaoh, it is also able to give birth to a Moses, and that is what we saw on January 25th. One of the main differences though is that Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) lead the Hebrews to escape Egypt in order to enter the Promised Land. But for most Egyptians, there is no escape, and even if some do emigrate, Egypt itself remains their Promised Land. Thus on January 25th what we saw was not the People escaping the excess of authoritarian rule, but rather a demand that such excess, represented in former President Mubarak, must leave. It was Mubarak who had to cross the Red Sea and is now spending his days in Sinai. Egyptians on the other hand, are reclaiming their Promised Land.

To stand in Tharir during the revolution was one of the most significant moments in my life, second only to standing in Mecca during the Hajj. The immense power that was in the Square, the focus of the people, the feeling that we can succeed and that we will overcome and prevail, all served to invigorate something that I was afraid I had lost from repeated failures and disappointments. There was a sense of Sakinah in Tahrir, a dwelling caress of hope and assurance that filled our souls.  Mubarak had been in power for as long as I had been alive. He became a constant to me, like the sun, the moon, the mountains and the sea. Countless efforts to develop and improve Egypt always seemed to hit that Rock, and I, like many others, had begun to accept that there are things you cannot change but must learn to live with. With that came wavering faith in the message and promise of emancipation conveyed in the Quran. However to see Mubarak step down was no less empowering and reorienting than what it must have felt to see the Red Sea split before Moses and the Hebrews, and to see the Pharaoh drown. For Mubarak to step down meant to me that even Natural Barriers could fall and I had no excuse to give up hope, and with that came a renewed commitment to my covenant with God.

Yet, the Hebrews crossing the Red Sea and their deliverance from the Pharaoh was not the end of the story. Rather it was the beginning of a new chapter in their spiritual development to enable them to enter the Promised Land. Likewise, that Mubarak has stepped down and that a generation was able to cross that Natural Barrier, only represents the beginning of a new chapter. For the Pharaoh is still alive in each and every one of us as an urge towards excess. The struggle to be true to Tawhid remains. Today Egyptians have been freed from a political Pharaoh, but much remains to be done to free ourselves from the Pharaohs that reside in our hearts.

It therefore honors me to share with you in your preparations for celebrating Passover, as a reminder for myself that the struggle against the Pharaoh within me continues.

ثورة 25 يناير انتهت، وفي انتظار الثورة القادمة.ـ

سيسجل التاريخ أن ثورة 25 يناير انتهت يوم 13 فبراير، يوم أصدر المجلس العسكري إعلانا دستوريا تضمن الإعلان عن حكم البلاد بصفة مؤقتة وأعطى لنفسه الحق في إصدار القرار رقم واحد لسنة 2011 بتشكيل لجنة يوكل لها مهمة تعديل الدستور. فمنذ تلك اللحظة انتقل القرار من الثوار إلى الجيش الذي تحول بدوره من حام للثورة إلى قائد مفروض عليها. أما الذين رضوا بما تم إنجازه وتحولوا من الثورة إلى العمل بمقتضيات الوضع الجديد، فحققوا أكثر مما حققه الذين سيطرت عليهم حالة الثورة وظنوا أنها لا تزال قائمة. ثورة 25 يناير في الأصل ثورة شعب صامت تشجع لإصرار فئة قليلة أمام فئة كثيرة، ثم عاد إلى صمته. ثورة 25 يناير لم تزحزح هرم الشك السياسي لدى المصري إلا قليلا. تبدد زخم التحرير تدريجيا منذ يوم 13 فبراير، وتحول التدافع من تدافع بين الحزب الوطني والشعب إلى تدافع بين الراضين بمكتسبات الثورة حتى 13 فبراير (الأغلبية) والطامعين في انتصارات أكثر (الأقلية). ثورة 25 يناير انتهت، وفي انتظار الثورة القادمة.ـ

نحو خطاب ثوري يتوافق مع موروثنا الحضاري

سيخسر الداعون إلى دولة مصرية ديمقراطية مفارقة لحقبة الطغيان الماضية إذا ما تناطحوا مع الإخوان والتيارات الإسلامية، كما حدث في الاستفتاء. ستخسر ثورة 25 يناير إذا ما وجدت نفسها في موقف الند أمام التوجه الإسلامي. ذلك بأن معظم المصريين (وهم خليط بين أميين وبسطاء لا أكَونتات لهم على الفيسبوك أو تويتر) إذا ما رأوا تلك المواجهة سينحازون -لا إراديا –  إلى الناحية التي تعبر عن تاريخهم الحضاري الإسلامي العربي في مواجهة ما يمثل لهم اللآخر الغربي (الصهيوني أو المستعمر). سيحدث ذلك لأن ببساطة الديمقراطية ستمثل عندئذ الحضارة الغربية والتيارات الإسلامية ستمثل الحضارة العربية الإسلامية، ولن تطول الحيرة أمام الإثنين.
سيخسر الداعون إلى دولة مصرية حرة عادلة تحترم كرامة الإنسان لوصمة اشتقاق الديمقراطية (والدستور) من ألفاظ أعجمية وسينتصر التوجة الإسلامي وإن أدى إلى نفس المناخ السياسي الكابت لمجرد أنه يتسمى باسم الإسلام ويتخذ من الدين المعبر عن الثقل الحضاري أساسا.
إذا أردنا دولة مصرية حرة عادلة تحترم كرامة الإنسان، فيجب أن يتواجد كلتا الكتلتين على نفس الجانب وليس في مواجهة بعضعهما البعض. كان الإستفتاء نموذجا لكيفية وأد الثورة من خلال وضعها في موقف تبرير الذات أمام التوجه الإسلامي، ولن تكون آخر الهزائم إذا ما تكرر نفس السيناريو. يجب – من الآن – صياغة الخطاب السياسي الثوري صياغة واضحة لكي لا تكون المواجهة – ضمنا – بين “أعداء الدين” وأهل الدين (راجع غزوة الصناديق)، وإنما بين الراغبين في دولة عادلة تحترم الإنسان في ناحية والمصالح الطاغية التي تريد استغلالنا من أجل مكاسبها المادية في ناحية أخرى. يجب التأكد من أن الألفاظ المستخدمة هي ألفاظ تعكس صراع حضاري بين أمة ذات مجد تريد استعادته في جانب، وغرب إمبريالي – بشكل أو بآخر – يريد الهيمنة على المنطقة العربية وثرواته. يجب أن يظل الدعاة إلى دولة مصرية حرة عادلة على نفس الجانب مع الدعاة إلى الدين ويجب أن يكون كلتاهما في مواجهة الراغبين من النيل من استقلال مصر السياسي والحضاري.
ستخسر الثورة إذا ما رفعت شعار الديمقراطية في مواجهة الإسلام . لأن في الآخر … الديمقراطي ده ده … ده كافر، ملحد وعمره ما ح يورد على جنة!ـ

ستنتصر الثورة إذا ما رفعت – مع التوجه الإسلامي- شعار الاستقلال أمام التحكم الغربي
ولذلك يجب إعادة صياغة الخطاب السياسي الثوري من دعوة إلى الديمقراطية إلى ثورة على مبارك بصفته من أذيال الإستعمار الحديث ومحافظ على مصالحها. نستطيع أن نكسب ثقل التوجه الإسلامي من خلال الدعوة إلى أمة قوية مجيدة، مصر احدى عناصرها المستقلة، تتكاتف مع بقية الأمة العربية والإسلامية التي نشاركهم الجذور الحضارية والثقافية، مع تمايزها لخصوصية وادي النيل. نستطيع أن نكسب ثقل التوجه الإسلامي من خلال تبني أطروحات من طراز (من حق المسلمين الاحتكام إلى شريعتهم من خلال محاكم شرعية، إذا ما توافق الطرفان على ذلك – في حين أن الدولة ذاتها لا تتبنى مذهبا من المذاهب عند الاحتكام بين أفراد الشعب بل تستمد من الوحي السماوي القيم المطلقة الأساسية).ـ

نستطيع أن نكسب ثقل التوجه الإسلامي من خلال العمل – مسلمين ومسيحيين – لإستعادة الدور الحضاري للأمة العربية والإسلامية، أمة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، من خلال الترسيخ لكرامة الإنسان وحرية الإعتقاد والتدين والإستقواء المادي والروحي.ـ
إياكم والدخول في معارك داخلية في مواجهة التوجه الإسلامي، “فتفشلوا وتذهب ريحكم”.
تخيروا ألفاظ الخطاب لتملكوه، ولكي نمضي كشعب، سويا، إلى الأمام.ـ

اقرأ كذلك: ثورة 25 يناير والانتقال من الحرية إلى الأهلية

The fate of Revolution 2.0 in Egypt 0.5

The results are out and 73% said ‘Yes’ for the amended constitution while 27% said ‘No.’ The huge surprise is the gap between the two numbers in what was projected to be a tight race. The secret lies, I think, in the influence of off-line Egyptians who voted, are pro-stability and were amused by #Jan25 but never fully invested. Remember, this was a Revolution 2.0 in an Egypt 0.5 where only half of the population can read. These results predict that the new Parliament and constitution committee will echo an Egypt still far below its revolutionary edition.  #Jan25 is at stake by its incompatibility with the  broader society, and the main task now is to reach out and get down with the barseem-roots community organizing and activism to work hard, hard, hard against being sucked into the whirpool of the Egyptian cynical status quo. We’re trying to move pyramids here … much of what is against us is ingrained deep in the our psyche and heritage and it will take years of sustained effort to budge.

The socio-political lines are being drawn; a cautious block tied to the predictable rhythms of Nile and Pharaoh, and a change-yearning out-shoot trying to bring a virtual reality into existence. The Muslim Brotherhood and NDP are rooted in the cautious block (by virtue of pre-Jan25 allegiances) and will learn to play with each other. The various groups behind #Jan25 will be the core force in the change-yearning current, and the pre-existing parties will probably continue to hop from one table to another.


Read also: Is the Revolution being hijacked by Normalcy?

Is the Revolution being hijacked by Normalcy?

Is the Revolution being hijacked by Normalcy?
With most Egyptians backing the constitutional amendments, it is a reminder that for the majority, the revolution was a risk that luckily didn’t back-fire and normalcy is now desperately needed. Normalcy, however, means falling back into the pre-#Jan25 political configuration, which beyond Cairo seems to be hued with entrenched in NDP and MB alliances. The ultimate challenge for the revolutionary spirit in Egypt is to prove relevance at a sustainable level amongst the 70 Million that are *not* online. The danger, is that at the end of the day, when all of Egypt speaks, the revolution discovers that dismantling the Mubarak regime only made a dent in a larger pyramid, an Egyptian psyche well protected against sudden change and a cynicism that accepts as fate that the Nile flows and that Pharaoh (in one form or another) will rule.
The Revolution is at stake, not by a counter revolution, but by our deepest complexes and millennia of history. There is no way to effect a larger change without in-the-trenches, one-on-one, outreach and real conversation with rural Egyptians that are influenced not by ‘events’ and ‘tweets,’ but by harvest, custom and sincere appreciation.

Read also: The fate of Revolution 2.0 in Egypt 0.5