These days, whenever I’m asked the usual question of “we eh akhbar il thawra?” (What’s happening with the revolution?). I tend to respond with: Not doing so well. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), in my opinion, has succeeded in controlling the minds of the population and are having their way with things.
Reforms are for show, not for change, and while some are pressing on, the majority of people just want to get by with life and get it over with.
Above all that, almost everybody — except those stranded in the square– are hating the revolutionaries at the moment. It’s just not going in the right direction, in fact, things seem to be taking a nasty turn and it’s only getting worse.
The harsh truth: Everybody hates us
No matter where I go or who I speak to, almost all are against what the revolutionaries are doing today, not only in Tahrir but in all of Egypt’s squares.
I even went around four different cities last weekend hanging out with taxi drivers, mechanics, lorry drivers, gas station employees, military officers, Bedouins, business owners and just about anybody else I could sit with. My Conclusion? They all hate our guts and think we’re fucking everything up.
Even the young military officers and soldiers I spoke with have now turned against us and are on the SCAF’s line of thought/brainwashing.
Why is this significant? Because what we need to understand is that we are at war and the Egyptian people are our foot soldiers (metaphorically of course).
What we have now is, in military terms, is a mutiny within our ranks. It reached the point that the residents of Abasseya put themselves in harm’s way to go out on the streets and fight against the protesters coming from Tahrir to stop them from reaching SCAF’s headquarters. The residents were even on standby the weekend after, ready with all their weapons, just in case the protesters thought of going back again.
Now of course, I’m very aware that some say that the residents were pressured / paid / brainwashed / scared into doing what they did. Some even go further and say most attackers were mere “thugs” and not residents. But whether we like it or not, that’s the long and short of it: Residents DID attack, and they would again if they heard of another march going to SCAF’s headquarters.
If we use the war/military analogy, what just happened is that you sent two divisions to fight a battle with the enemy, then one of your divisions sided with the enemy and trapped your loyal troops and attacked them. Our enemy has had a great success in spoiling the image of activists and the struggle in Tahrir with just about everything they could throw at us. Now, Tahrir is associated with Islamists, “Filool,” (remnants of the old regime), foreign agents, baltageya (thugs), unemployed people with nothing better to do, etc.
The objective is to fight a battle and win it, but as it stands, your own troops are against you. If you go to the battle field now you’ll be wiped out (as you have many times before).
The moral of this story and all these analogies is the following: Without the moral support of the people (the silent majority, if you will), we will all fail.
A simple description of SCAF’s main tactics
The skeleton of SCAF’s tactics is clear:
1. Allow protesting
2. Infiltrate with baltageya/amn dawla/il 3afreet il azra2
3. Have agents attack/provoke troops
4. Attack protesters and end it.
5. Use media to highlight the fact that the protesters include baltageya and that there are hidden motives to the protest aimed to create chaos and spread disharmony
6. Another protest happens against violence or to release those arrested
7. Protest is infiltrated
This is the cycle that feeds itself, with the aim of creating more protests with the exception that each time it happens the protest (along with the protesters) becomes weaker rather than stronger.
The more we continue to protest, the more ammo we give SCAF, i.e. it working against us. It has become an old method and they have become experts at fighting it — our cause has become the most vulnerable in a protest.
Alright, so what do we do then?
Let’s say you’re doing a crappy job grilling steaks for your friends, to the point that all your friends hate your guts. Then one person keeps trying to act like a pro and keeps begging to take over and flip them himself, you get sick of it and say “alright, go ahead then! You do it!” Then he does a crappy job too and everybody gets annoyed at that person instead.
That’s what we need to do.
We need to take the MASSIVE (negative) spotlight that is on us right now and put it on SCAF instead. Give them no excuse for fucking up, because when they do (and they will), that’s our opportunity to strike again.
Don’t be in the picture, be on the sidelines. Instead of grilling the steak, sit back and mess up the beef’s marinade (tatbeela). Play dirty.
What must happen is a complete pull-back from protests for at least 1-2 months, and for a well-planned covert media effort to take place to taint the image of SCAF with the people. This must also be done hand-in-hand with smart political lobbying on all levels.
Once we manage to create general discontent towards SCAF for being the ones who can’t get the wheel of production (that we all love) moving again, we can reclaim our troops and head back to war. This time is when we will need them most, because the period between the parliamentary and presidential elections is by far THE most important time for us to be able to get out there and exert pressure.
Those sitting in in Tahrir are now the first and biggest excuse for SCAF to get their way with things. Take that excuse away from them and they have lost their most precious weapon, then we turn around and fight them differently.
Change tactics, be unpredictable, strike where the enemy can not see.
For more of the above, follow me on twitter: @AmrBassiouny