One year later, and the revolution’s rollercoaster ride hasn’t yet ended. We’ve seen regimes toppled, new faces were introduced to the scene and youth lost to martyrdom. Lots of courageous women led marches, NGOs fought against corruption and lots of courageous Egyptians made sure that the martyrs’ rights won’t burn among the things that we lost in the fire. Throughout the whole ride, there was a group of people who remained silent until Islamists won the elections. This group furiously came out claiming that their lives will soon be doomed as Islamists will get them veiled, sexless, sober and locked up in a life full of misery.
I kept on ignoring this group each and everyday throughout the past phase, but it’s about time to zoom in. This group matters simply because they are a part of where we work, where we go to school, where we hang out and they’re next door. Ever since parliamentary elections began, everyone is talking about the future of Egypt in the hands of Islamists. Mind you, by talking I don’t mean just sitting at local cafes staring at a hanging TV and improvising politics like we used to do years ago. By talking I mean texting up to the minute jokes, tagging you in all large beard photos and threatening your ‘cool’ identity that will soon be gone astray. According to the infamous Egyptian saying, “The ghost appears to whoever fears it”, there is no wonder why Islamists conquered the parliament. Egyptians are marked by their sense of humor. It’s no news that we will laugh at our failures, bad marketing, hideous political decisions and local events. We were always laughing until Islamists came about and told us “Look who’s laughing now”. It’s a fact they’ll have an effect on our social statuses of being ‘socialites’ or ‘IT people’, but to what extent? We’re people who toppled a whole 30 years of corrupted regime in less than 20 days, no one could force anything on an Egyptian. We won’t reach the point that says ‘Eat what you like and wear what Islamists like’. Yes, we are a minority, but still no one is able to force anything on an Egyptian. An Egyptian woman will wear the veil whenever she wants to and no one can take your drink from you unless you want to.
Islamists are people who want active assertion of Islamic beliefs, prescriptions, laws or policies. Some of them (Salafis and members of The Muslim Brotherhood) came out in the media saying that they’ll force the veil on women and ban other habits rejected by Islam like alcohol, dating in public places and every practice against Islamic beliefs. Others, for example Dr. Abdel Moniem Abo El Fotouh, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and a Presidential candidate, claimed that he won’t ban anything and everyone is free to choose the path they want to live by.
All our lives we’ve learned to live in a home where someone is praying Fajr while the other one is coming home tipsy from a late night out. We are people who pray not to stand in the line in front of Sky Bar. We say we will go on a diet to fit in this swim suit ‘Insha ‘Allah’. Public affection between young veiled girls and boys is seen on daily basis on the Cornishe or in the last row in theatres. We’ve seen famous Belly dancers run ‘Mawa’ed El Rahman’ and we’ve learned that some Cabaret owners refuse to drink. We’ve seen veiled women wearing stretch pants and we’ve seen hung over guys at Friday prayers. That’s who we are and who we will always be because it’s a huge feature of the Egyptian identity.
Crying over spilled Vodka isn’t what Islamists are after; politics is what’s driving this country to where it’s going whether to a minaret or a disco ball. We need to wake up and smell the spilled coffee instead. In my opinion, everyone needs to figure out why Islamists won and try to adapt with this situation, whether by finding a solution or by accepting it.
It’s still ok to party, it’s still ok to go out on dates, it’s ok to leave the country for a while, it’s still ok to take a long break from TV. But what’s really sad is that while our women were forced to undergo virginity tests, their bodies were exposed in front of the whole world, men were detained and electrocuted, and martyrs buried underneath us each and everyday, some of us had the nerve to debate the impact of banning booze’n’babes in Egypt!
Happy Jan 25 Anniversary and Cheers Egypt!