Monday, June 17, 2013

Letters from Egypt: Renewed Revolution Scheduled for June 30

Taken on Jan. 28, 2011

For any of you who are not aware, June 30 is scheduled to have large protests throughout Cairo (and possibly spreading to other areas). Desperation can make a situation spiral out of control, and there are plenty of reasons that anger is on the rise throughout Egypt. Basic necessities are increasing at a steady pace making it more difficult for locals to afford. Bottled water has reached LE 7 in some places. The problem originated with fires and contamination at some plants (especially Nestle) yet venders have all but refused to bring the prices back down to normal levels (around LE 2). The lines outside gas stations for diesel are growing exponentially. Power cuts are occurring more frequently. Businesses that depend on tourism are dropping like flies (e.g. Kite Loop in Ras Sedr, a kite surfing place that provides lessons).

June 30 could see a comeback of violence in Egypt with protests geared to start in Cairo and just like the revolution, spread to other cities. In 2011, Cairo kicked started the revolution, Alexandria joined in, followed by Suez and then other smaller outbreaks around the country.

A petition has been circulating for awhile reportedly with millions of Egyptian signatures expressing no confidence in the current government. The military is supposedly gearing up to deploy troops to protect historical sites, government buildings and anything else that is important. Al Masry Al Youm reported that military forces stationed at the presidential palace are prepared to “confront and deter” up to two million individuals. Doctors are gearing for disbursement in main areas of planned protests to offer any needed medical attention should clashes occur, and NGOs have planned to monitor the situation for any human rights violations.

Many are hoping that the army will intervene once again, but why should it? Last time the army took the people’s side, Egyptians eventually turned against the military claiming that it was trying to seize power. So now they want help, but what makes anyone think they won’t again “bite the hand that feeds them”?

It will be interesting to see if the liberals have finally united under one voice instead of millions of individual screams, but I’m still wondering when Egypt seemingly gained a democracy overnight that signified petitions being instrumental in government happenings. Many of my Egyptian friends and colleagues have been discussing these plans for over a month now, and it’s obvious that people are growing more impatient with the Morsi regime. Highly doubt females will be on the army’s list of protection, so while I’m not here to tell you ladies what to do, be smart. If you decide to participate in these demonstrations, you need more than one man to protect you (and layer up on clothes).

A Few Pointers in Case of a Renewed Revolution
First of all, it’s obvious that people are growing more fed up by the day with the increasing prices of basic necessities, fuel shortages, chronic power outages and the deteriorating value of Egyptian currency. So the potential for things to spiral out of control on June 30 is present, and if so, the planned demonstration day could spill over into many more days or longer. You need to be prepared and some of you were not present during the original Jan. 25, 2011 revolution. Here are some things to consider:

  • Exchange landline numbers with all of your closest friends in case mobile phones and internet is disrupted
  • Fill your bathtub, old large water bottles or any container with water
  • Stock up on food and necessities
  • Keep your passport handy and a “go bag” in case you receive evacuation orders
  • Steer clear of demonstration areas, particularly if you really look foreign, as you never know if the crowd might turn and/or consider you a spy
  • Don’t wait for your embassy to issue any warnings or offer help/advice, have your own plan in place

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