Sunday, February 27, 2011

Guest Post: Who's Your Enemy

Who's Your Enemy?

by Iyas Sartawi

I can't explain the feelings that I had once I heard the news on the morning of Friday, February the 11th. I was woken up at exactly nine in the morning by a text message that said, "Mabrouk Egypt! Mabrouk Arab Nation." By that text, I found out that "president Mubarak" resigned - finally. I didn't have my glasses on so I jumped out of my bed, put my glasses on and reread the message. I hurried down and read the news on Aljazeera, and that's when all those feelings of joy, happiness, and triumph intensified and I could not help but drop a couple of tears. I put Aljazeera Live on and started watching the events about Mubarak and Tahrir Square. All of a sudden, the image of the assassination of Anwar Al Sadat on TV came to my mind. That image is one of the earliest scenes from TV that I can remember. I was seven years old then and I remember how it was big news for my father, who was watching anxiously, and seemed very much into it and seemed happy, and joyful. I did not realize the immensity of that assassination then. But, how would I know? I was too young to comprehend.

I did not see the celebrations of the inauguration of Hosni Mubarak to become the next Egyptian president then. I saw this 30 years later, on Aljazeera on the day when he resigned and delegated his presidential powers to the Armed Forces Supreme Council. Very ironic!

I spent some time watching the celebrations of the brave men and women of Egypt. Most of the scenes were transmitted from Tahrir Square in Cairo, occasionally showing from other Egyptian cities such as Alexandria and Suez. Aljazeera showed some scenes of the celebrations taking place in Ramallah and Gaza. Officially however, these celebrations were banned by both the Palestinian National Authority in Ramallah and self-appointed Hamas government in Gaza.

I didn't take too long to get over the feelings of joy, as I realized the president's resignation is just the beginning, and also the easy part. What's coming ahead is where the hard work is. I am a proud Palestinian, but at that moment I felt that I wished to be an Egyptian so I could fly and be there among those millions in the streets of Egypt and be a part of the planning for the future, be one of those guards of the Revolution. I realize how many will want to hijack the revolution and steer it toward their own agenda and benefit, where hijacking the the popular revolutions and people's aspirations isn't something we did not experience in the history of the Arab World. I remember what my late father always said, and again, I never really understood back then. He said: In the Arab World, never be happy for a change in regime; who comes after is just worse, and you will just cry on the predecessor. This time, and for this popular revolution, I don't think so. I hope and pray this won't happen to these holy revolutions of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, they're pure and holy, as pure and holy as of the blood of those young Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan men and women who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the rest of us to live in dignity and for a new dignified and corruption-free Middle East.

That's when my thoughts turned to the core of this crisis, Palestine. I thought I'd copy Wael Ghoneim and create a page on Facebook that calls for a Third Intifada in the Palestinian territories. (In fact, I have been thinking about it for a while now, long before the unrest started in Tunisia and Egypt). An intifada against corruption, tyranny, and occupation. The hardest was not the plan, it was choosing the enemy. Unlike Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, and elsewhere in the Arab world, like Bahrain and Yemen where the enemy is just one--the corrupt regime--in Palestine, our enemy is many, whether the occupation forces of Israel, the corrupt regime of the illegitimate presidency of Mahmoud Abbas, the domination of the self-appointed Hamas government in Gaza, or the corruption in Jordan, where a large number of Palestinians reside, along with their Jordanian brothers and sisters, under harsh conditions of corruption and poverty. Tough job, isn't it?

My series of thoughts took me to a clip that I watched on Facebook the night before, where the clip showed footage of some of our fellow Tunisians being victorious after their revolution ended, shouting and calling for an Arab Unification. In the Middle East, we have this "dream" of an Arab Unification. We always viewed this unification as a dream. Well, just the liberation by itself from those evil regimes of the Middle East seemed something I never thought I'd live to witness, though I lived enough to see Baghdad fall to the American occupation forces.

The Egyptians woke up the morning of Saturday February the 12th, as free men and women since decades. I was thinking that when I woke up this morning, and I thought to myself, do they realize that it's a reality? Or is it just a dream? The sweetest of the dreams though? I would! Well, if my fellow Egyptians can wake up one day in liberty, freedom, and dignity, I believe this unity dream might come true one day.

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