The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Alaa al-Aswany on the people who run things

The Egypt Report has translated a recent piece by Alaa al-Aswany in which he imagines a conversation between two senior officials (you can imagine what four-letter acronym they might be a part of). Depressing reading — and you get a better idea of who the two might be at the end.

1: And what ever became of the boy in Tora Prison?

2: Well, the boy’s name is Essam Atta. He had been serving a two-year sentence after being convicted in a military trial. It seems that he smuggled a mobile SIM card inside the prison. He then spoke out to an officer in an annoying way, so the officer put some pressure on him on in order to teach him a lesson. The boy couldn’t endure it, and he died.

1: Be careful, this might become a big case like the Khaled Said case.

2: Rest assured, we’re making our account of the incident perfect. All the relevant agencies have decisive evidence to prove that the boy swallowed a packet of drugs and died as a result of a drop in blood pressure.

1: Fine, but the reports of Khaled Said said the same thing, and the whole world went crazy.

2: But the world can’t go crazy right now. The people are exhausted, and have become satisfied with anything we do.

1: But if the people are satisfied, why did they rise up and rebel against our legitimacy? Do you actually believe that to this day I don’t understand what happened during the events of last January?

2: Well, your Excellency, I hope you can accept one observation from your student. The reason behind the events of last January was that the security apparatus got it wrong. It allowed the people to gather together, having confidence in its ability to break them up by force. The important thing now is that from the outset we don’t let them gather together. We now are focused on violent preemptive actions in order to prevent demonstrations from even starting.

1: Yeah, we should have hit them stronger. We were mistaken. We thought the Egyptians were all just simple people. I never imagined they could have done something like that.

2: The people are simple, sir.  The problem lies in the children on Facebook, they like stirring up problems among the people.

1: These are agents, traitors, only looking to sabotage the country

2: Well, thank god, we have righted our country. I hope that you can rest assured, your Excellency, that the children of Tahrir have lost their popularity in the street.

1: How so?!!!

2: Sir, the situation in Egypt is unbearable. No security, no tourism, no economy. The entire country is in a state of chaos. The community groups are even somewhat against them. Everyday there are strikes, and sit-ins, and thugs, and killings and cut roadways. The Egyptian citizenry has become scared of itself, and of its children.

1: Better…make them learn. The most important thing is that people understand that all these calamities are caused by the children of Tahrir.

2: Of course, the people understand this and have begun to hate them. We’ve exposed them in the media, and we’ve shown the people that they are agents. Now when they go to make a demonstration or a sit-in, you’ll find honorable people striking back at them and handing them over to the military police.

1: These are the real people of Egypt, the ones that need no incitement.

2: I hope, your Excellency, you forget about the events of last January.

1: Are you serious?!! The scenes from last January were terrible. I couldn’t possibly forget them.

2: Sir, believe me. The events of last January are finished forever, and it will never repeat  again.

1: Are you sure?

2: It was a short flood that left things unchanged. Politically, we’ll take from it as much as we spent on it. Right now most Egyptians hate what happened last January and they regret it. They hope to return to how things were. The people have started to say “At least in the old days there was security.”  All that incitement that occurred last January, they will never fall for that again. They’re divided and split into groups…the Islamists against the Liberals, Salafists against the Copts – Tahrir square is finished. We learned our lesson, sir. The true men in the state security did an excellent job. We know the weak spot of every group, and we’re using it to play with their minds. After a while, their million man Friday demonstrations turned into demonstrations of at most 1000 people.

1: May god bless you.