Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Letters from Egypt: Message from the Army

With no one in control, civilians have taken to the streets even directing traffic
The first text message went out under the guise of Vodafone on February 2 at 11 am. It said: “The Army says to all people in Egypt to please save us, our relatives and our love for Egypt.” I remember when these messages, written in Arabic, first appeared on my mobile. I also remember the news headline, “Egypt Hijacked Mobile Phone Networks.”

And just like the numerous misleading or one-sided news reports (only showcasing Tahrir Square and certain aspects), that title is also misleading. It’s all subjective really. There is one point I will make though: the messages under the ruse of “Vodafone” have a different tone than after Mubarak resigned and the messages from the Armed Forces.

Sure to others that very first message could have signified a call for protesting to stop. And in part it was. However, that was also the height of the looting when all men and boys were out in the streets trying to restore order. Some people in Egypt took it as referral to the looting that had begun taking place on Saturday, January 29 and others felt it was a call to stop protesting.

Later that same day (February 2) at 8:33 pm another message came through saying, “For young men, be care about any talking and listen to the voice of reason. Egypt is above all. Take care.” Followed by another message three hours later at 11:25 pm that said, “For all mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, for all the good people: save Egypt so that it will be forever.” Four minutes later (11:29 pm): “The Armed Forces is scared about our peace. We won’t use any fire on the great people.”

Then on February 14, messages began coming in from the Armed Forces, no longer under the name of Vodafone. At 11:17 pm, the message read: “The Armed Forces has dissolved the constitution, the People’s Assembly and the Shoura Council.”

February 16 at 11:17 pm another message came in saying, “The Armed Forces calls citizens to create the appropriate atmosphere to run the country in preparation for delivery to civilian authority, elected by the people.”

February 27 at 1:58 am: “We waited 30 years so there’s no problem to wait a little longer. The future is better.” This is a direct call for the protests and strikes to stop in order to restore stability. This is a very rational statement as each Friday a new protest starts either for the week/two week/longer week anniversary of Mubarak’s resignation, protests for wage increases, protests for job creation (to be created overnight I suppose) and the list goes on…and on… and on.

The Armed Forces created its Facebook page understanding the need to utilize social media to its advantage. However, who is in control? There are growing fears about the sudden increase in crime rate (a recent shooting between a microbus driver and a policeman occurred in Maadi on February 24) and just the overall government proceedings.

So the main message that I would like to receive from the Armed Forces is telling me the man in control because as it appears now, there's no one.

Even when the cops were out, they rarely directed traffic. Good job boys

1 comment:

  1. Hard to say what is going on? Hopefully, the army, or whoever is controlling the army, will be committed to restoring Egypt to some sort of democratic rule. I hope for this result yet fear the typical results of armies taking control of countries will play out where after they take control a dictator emerges to rule the country. Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Mubarak rise to power this way, albeit in a military coup but still...?

    My hopes and prayers go out to Egypt. May democracy remain there.