الثلاثاء، 16 يناير، 2007

Eye witness account on the events of 18 & 19 January 1977

When the prime minister of Egypt at the time, the famous economist Dr. AbdelAziz Higazy implemented a new economic plan lifting subsidies on basic commodities, major demonstrations and chaotic scenes broke out in the streets of many Egyptian cities.

I was 13 years old at the time. While going to a grocery store on Al-Haram street where my family lived, I saw heavy smokes coming from two famous night clubs (Al-Haram street was filled with night clubs at the time), and maybe some other buildings. My family lived close to Ramses night club. I saw the workers at the club preparing empty whisky bottles to defend themselves and prevent the mob from breaking in!

The mob started moving towards my direction (from about 600 feet away in Al-Haram street), I saw them; I believe they looked like a bunch of thugs and teenagers holding sticks and bottles. I didn't wait, I ran back home! of course I was scared.

Later, I saw the traces of the battle that took place! Ramses night club was burnt to the ground; in addition, anything that had value inside was looted. I remember that the son of one of the neighbors in my apartment building took a chair but later had to return it when the police gave amnesty to anyone who returns looted items. One scene I couldn't forget was seeing a local woman with black robe (Melaya Laf) holding a whisky bottle she looted from the doomed night club, I remember saying to myself that she probably didn't know or never tested whisky in her life, but took it anyway!

later and until now, there has always been a debate on whether this was a genuine popular revolt against the government or chaos by mob of thugs. the leftist movements in Egypt are commemorating the events as a popular revolt, but I what I saw on that day was exactly what the late president Sadat described at the time: "The uprising of thieves"!

هناك 13 تعليقًا:

Egypeter يقول...

Hi dear professor.

This is my first time posting on your blog although I have been following it for some time. I absolutely love your message here!

I'm a 31 year old Copt born and raised in Chicago. And I DEEPLY love (and worry) about the land of my ancestors. I still have some extended family living in Alex and I try to get back and visit Egypt every few years.

I wanted to make a couple of points.

First, you are obviously a very different and special Egyptian than I have met in the past. The posts you have written are so wonderful!! With all the sad news that I hear from Egypt your posts are DEFINITELY a breath of fresh air.

Your post on a "Unified law for building Churches and Mosques" put a HUGE HUGE smile on my face. Copts have been asking for this for a LOOOONG time and are asking for nothing more than equality. Is it not fair to have the same laws for ALL religions?? And of course, the religion category on government I.D.'s serves no purpose other than to enable individuals to discriminate against others based on religion. Why have a religion category??? It would be unheard of here in the states.

And then I read your post on, "Our culture of hatred" and while it saddened me I was so impressed by your reaction.

Why? Why must there be such enmity between the two communities in Egypt (and now the Bahai'i too)? Aren't we all EGYPTIAN?? If all Egyptians; Muslims, Christians, Bahai'i, men and women worked together, in an equal partnership, to improve Egypt maybe Egypt wouldn't be in such a mess today. Sounds simple. But why is it so hard??

Well, Nah det Masr, I wish you GREAT success in spreading your message of tolerance and equality all over Egypt. Your suggestions make complete sense to me and it would be wise for Egypt to follow them. But, alas, it seems people like you are a dying breed in the once great Land of the Nile.

Salaam wa Rabenna ya khaleek!!

I look forward to many more enlightened posts :)

Nah·det Masr يقول...

Dear Egypter, thanks for stopping by and leaving your very nice comments. I agree with what you said, but the problem we face as Egyptians is that so many Egyptians are not capable of thinking out of the box. They don't realize that by alienating their non-moslem brethern, they are ruining the country, provoking a reaction, and we will all be negatively affected. There is a significant percentage of Moslems who think like me. In my comment about the new proposed law of building worship places provides a possitive sign, in the same breath, when an MP states for the first time in public that they are working to eliminate the religion field from ID, that's another encouraging sign. Anyway, I am grateful to have this platform to voice my views and meet good people, and patriotic Egyptians like you, and maybe help heal our nation to reach its potential.

Tsedek يقول...

how do the 'average' egyptian react to this (new proposed law) nah-det masr?

Nah·det Masr يقول...

Thanks for stopping by Tsedek, I guess you are commenting on the new proposed law unifiying the requirements to approve building places of worship! Well, I was surprised to see positive reaction even from people whom I considered conservative which is a good sign towards tolerance. I think any intolerance we have in Egypt could be categorized under the following two categories: either extremists who want impose their twisted interpretation of religion on the others, and this is a tiny minority, and, ignorants who are lost in a series of miscommunication of facts, and rumors and don't bother, or don't have the means to know the truth about events. You have to remember that Egypt has 40% illiterates! this should be our biggest enemy: Ignorance, and we should fight it by providing more education, more schools, and to review our curricula and remove any inciting materials from them! and this is an uphill battle but there are more and more people talking about it on Egyptian TV and newspapers!

Tsedek يقول...

That's good. I'm glad to hear it, Nah-Det Masr! (Except for such high illiteracy percent) -
Thank you for (quite honestly: hopeful) your answer,
Tse.

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