Did anyone ever ask us anything?

20 Aug

An interesting discussion at a bar last weekend: what’s better, evolution or revolution? Evolution, people argued. When things change slowly, step by step, people are more likely to embrase the new situation. No way, said others. Revolution is the only way. Since no one simply lets go of power, you sometimes need to help change happen.
The most interesting thing was: both sides used the situation in Egypt as an argument.
‘They were better off with Mubarak’, said the anti-revolutionairies. ‘Did the revolution really bring them anything?’ ‘They should never have gotten rid of Morsi. He was elected democratically, wasn’t he?’ said the others.
It’s driving my Egyptian friends crazy. Everyone seems to have an opinion about their country. The Americans, who refused to call the ousting of Morsi a coup, but recently cancelled a joint military operation and are considering to suspend their support. Neighboring countries in the Gulf, who are pledging their support for the Egyptian armed forces and their fight ‘against terror and extremism’ and are warning other countries not to interfere with ‘internal Arab politics’. Erdogan, who called for UN action and compared General Al Sissi to Syrian Assad. The EU, who are threatening to suspend their aid. Interests, interests, interests.
‘And did anyone ever ask us anything?’ Most Egyptians tell me they only want one thing: peace. Simply going to work, without road blocks or curfews. Tourists who are not afraid to come visit. Neighbors who can be friends again, irrespective of their political preference.
As images of bloody demonstrations and burned churges keep coming in, I think about the last time I was in Egypt, three months ago. ‘We’ll get there’, people were telling me. ‘The revolution isn’t quite finished, but we’ll find a way, just wait.’
Maybe Merkel was right. She said in an interview last weekend that Egypt needs to find its own way. But whether the world is patient enough to wait for that to happen?

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