A letter from Mahienour El-Massry on the Fifth Anniversary of the Revolution

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By Mahienour El-Massry, Prisoner of Conscience in Egypt

This is the fifth year of the Revolution… I almost cannot believe that five years have passed since the chants of “the people want to bring down the system” and “Bread… Freedom… Social Justice… Human Dignity” … Maybe this is because even in my cell I am filled with dreams of freedom and with hope. 

Clashes erupted 28/06/2011 between security forces and protesters in Tahrir Square and the streets leading to the Ministry of Interior building. They continued all day the next day.  Police were seen charging demonstrators in Tahrir Square, firing tear gas randomly, beating protesters with sticks and firing shotguns. Some protesters threw rocks and occasionally petrol bombs.  The Ministry of Health and Population said more than a thousand people were injured, including some 40 members of the security forces.  The demonstration appears to have been triggered by the security forces’ violent dispersal of relatives of those killed during the “25 January Revolution” on the 28th June near Al Balloon Theater in Giza, where a commemoration ceremony for the victims of the uprising was due to take place. They were seeking to encourage more families to join them in a sit-in protest they had been holding in front of the state television building in Cairo since 24 June.

Clashes erupted 28/06/2011 between security forces and protesters in Tahrir Square and the streets leading to the Ministry of Interior building. They continued all day the next day.

Some see that after all these years have passed the revolution has been defeated. Others see that there could have not been anything better than what happened. The regime, however, feels that they have won, but is this the correct and decisive answer? Are we defeated and has the revolution ended? Have we always been nothing but victims? Has authoritarianism rooted itself strongly by force and tyranny most of the time and sweet talk at other times?

Maybe because I am among the believers in the dream, and among those who are convinced that we, not only face internal authoritarianisms and tyranny, but also an international system that is inhumane, and to which people mean nothing compared to profits and oil. I therefore see that we are still on the journey to build a humane and just society. We made mistakes sometimes, we were defeated sometimes.. We were arrogant sometimes and hopeless at other times, but we are still in the fighting ring. Glorification, however, is the voice of the stupid, and crying over the ruins is the voice of the cowardly and the desperate. 

There are lessons for everyone… lessons we learnt by chaste blood that have been shed for us

The first of these lessons is that there is no individual salvation, and that desperation and the attempts to escape to the outside or the inside will not help us make our day better. When we only saw ourselves and started calling for freedom only for those we know, and did not move for freedom for the all people (for example, in prisons there are not only thousands of innocent political prisoners, but also thousands of citizens who have been framed, or fell in debt or are serving time instead of others, because of the economic system of the state, and many other cases) if we allow the regime to separate us from the street and from our goals, then they have won the last round. 

Clashes erupted 28/06/2011 between security forces and protesters in Tahrir Square and the streets leading to the Ministry of Interior building. They continued all day the next day.  Police were seen charging demonstrators in Tahrir Square, firing tear gas randomly, beating protesters with sticks and firing shotguns. Some protesters threw rocks and occasionally petrol bombs.  The Ministry of Health and Population said more than a thousand people were injured, including some 40 members of the security forces.  The demonstration appears to have been triggered by the security forces’ violent dispersal of relatives of those killed during the “25 January Revolution” on the 28th June near Al Balloon Theater in Giza, where a commemoration ceremony for the victims of the uprising was due to take place. They were seeking to encourage more families to join them in a sit-in protest they had been holding in front of the state television building in Cairo since 24 June.

Clashes erupted 28/06/2011 between security forces and protesters in Tahrir Square and the streets leading to the Ministry of Interior building. They continued all day the next day.

Second: We were overcome when we looked the other way as others were overcome. Revolution is humane by nature and it does not make us accept any injustice that befalls even those who oppose our opinion and even those who tried to obliterate us. Accepting injustice against one person will make it reach us all. 

Third: We are not satisfied with the honour of trying. We should not continue running in circles. We have to formulate the objectives of the revolution into movements and initiatives and begin organizing ourselves. If the interest of the counter revolution unites them, then the survival instinct should unify us (believers in freedom and those who stand against all forms of authoritarianism and backwardness).

Fourth: A scared regime arrests thousands and cancels elections (the student union elections for example). It shakes at the thought of an anniversary, despite the injustice of a whole year. It equates those who demand life with those who demand death. Oppression never mattered. It deepened the feelings of injustice, which strengthened the resistance. The people who moved for two days of the 18th and 19th of January 1977 but did not touch the head of the regime has learnt the lesson and attempted to do away with the head of the regime in 2011, but this has not been completed yet…

Fifth: Revolution is ongoing as life and dreams are ongoing. It does not stop for a person, and sooner or later, in our lives or in the lives of those who come after us, our revolution will be completed, because people deserve better, and ugliness, no matter how much it tries to disguise itself, will eventually reveal its real face. 

Celebrating the resignation of President Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt, 11 February 2011. Lighting candles "in memory of the revolution's martyrs".

Celebrating the resignation of President Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt, 11 February 2011.
Lighting candles “in memory of the revolution’s martyrs”.

Shaimaa… In your first anniversary send our greetings to our angles; the martyrs.. Tell them that we are still filled with hope, and that their prisons and their injustice increased nothing but our grip on our dream and our revolution.

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