Ever since Tuesday January 25th, I've been in a fighting mode. At first it was the fight to oust Mubarak, then it was the fight for the Referendum. A fight that I thought we lost to Islamists and the apathetic majority, which – as it turns out – was a fight we both lost to the SCAF. Nevertheless, at the time, I took it like a true sportsman and decided to turn my attention to
working on the ground, fixing problems at the base; so I joined several initiatives working with the injured and informal areas. But slowly I realized that the fight was not to help people, it actually started a long way before that; we have to fight to convince those same people that we could support them. Then came Maspero and I saw with my own eyes, how we as a population can be cruel, barbaric or at best completely apathetic. Today, I don't know who I'm fighting. Am I fighting the per-historic Islamic forces that crawled out of the caves? Am I fighting a government that spares no effort to dismantle anything of worth in this country? Am I up against the extreme leftists who have lots of good intentions and no sense of reality? Is it the SCAF who is reproducing that same regime we fought to remove? Or is it a whole culture that grew in 60 years of ignorance? What am I fighting for? And who am I fighting for really?
How can we fight against police brutality when Egyptians call on them to torture wrong doers? How can you fight for freedom when the people themselves want the government to impose restrictions? How can I ask for equality when Muslims and Christians alike think that they should each abide by different laws? How can I fight for political reform when activists want to boycott elections instead of influencing them? How can I fight for democracy when people believe that it simply means the absolute rule of the majority?
I really don't know what I'm fighting for anymore. What I thought was a battle to change a structure turned out to be a war to change a culture. There are so many lessons that our society needs to learn. I don't even know if I'm fit to be part of this experience. Many of those lessons, I've been extremely privileged to learn early in my life. I don't need to learn about coexistence, tolerance or the true meanings of freedom and democracy. I don't need to live through the consequences of divide, hatred, oppression of freedoms to understand that this is not how a society flourishes. But it seems that these are experiences that we as a country still have to go through in order to grow. I often wonder what role I might have in such a journey.
At this stage it is futile to try and make changes to a structure when the society does not have the "right" vision (or at least according to "my" values) for what needs to be fixed nor how. We - as a society - need to have those values first. In the same time, you can take a horse to the water but you cannot make him drink. Nobody can force beliefs upon a society; it is its collective experiences that creates its values. The question that I'm trying to find an answer to is whether we can influence those experiences, or do we have to sit and watch while we hope that our society will learn the right lessons?
I'm not a defeatist; I just believe that I need to pick my battles.