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Avoiding the Media

In an attempt to avoid all media on Friday, I stayed at home and worked on a website. The day after, in spite of rather pressing social commitments, a friend kidnapped me and took me to a Schumann (Bert? I may have the wrong Shu here), mostly to keep me from going crazy from watching the current round of violence in Egypt. 


Having missed an office party, clashes in Egypt, a Tsunami in the Philippines and dire warnings for the Eurozone, some festivities in Wedding, I woke up one morning feeling the world was, in its own weird way, alright. My parents have flown to Cairo and are happily on holiday there.


Except, as it turns out, during my self-imposed media blackout, civil war seems to have erupted in Egypt. My only indication of this was a comment by a friend "Why is Goldfish posting so many horrible pics on Facebook?" This morning, scanning my feeds, I read of "clashes", "fires", "military attacks protesters", "Prime Minister denies violence". What happened in the interim of 24 hours?


24 hours after that, the picture is murky and apart from those dear to me in Egypt, I now can worry about those dear to me who have travelled to Egypt for Christmas, or work. On Facebook, the rumor mill has started again, news of killings, burnings and violence towards women is being posted by the second. The Egyptian Scientific Institute is in flames, no-one quite sure who started the fire. Demonstrators rushing in seem to indicate that the fire was laid deliberately by forces rumored to be soldiers. 


The best advice for demonstrators I have heard in the last few hours is that, as the military is protecting the Property of Egyptians, Protesters should act like Property to escape violence. The admin of the SCAF site, in an act of amazing verbal bravery (and command of the Arabic keyboard) just posted this on the official SCAF page. Whether it's a hoax, hack or it really happened, the message is clear :
أدمن الصفحة : يَسْقُطْ يَسْقُطْ حُكّمْ العَسْكًر

to which I would like to add this snippet from globaltahrir (A very idealistic name, yes):






Seldom have people felt more connected to events while watching the from afar. About any conversation I've had today was about what we can do. From afar, in the heat of events, all that can be done is lend what support can be given and make sure the voices are heard. The echo may be as important as the origin, the warm bodies risking their lives. It is important, once in a while, to be reminded, amidst the rapid and unceasing developments that there is a goal to all this.


What from here lies before? 


A call with Cairo reassures me that normal life continues, yet that the anger, expressed in smoke and death on Tahrir and other places. What exactly is happening is difficult to understand from afar. Apart from protests, numbers and violence, not much is being reported in the media.


Amidst all of this, the picture of a girl in a blue bikini. Bikinis are very much in fashion these days. 


The message that is being broadcast is very much one of violent protesters being confronted by an overpowering mass of violent security forces. It does not help to say that they are exceeding their orders, or that all this is not intended. This is a discouraging narrative, but one that has to be overcome, maybe by a return to a more light-hearted and creative approach to a civil uprising.


It is, amongst all the chaos, important to know that even though we are seeing brutal images, many people are all right, and active, each in their own way. Lack of trust, disbelief fact and rumor seem to have created an atmosphere in which anything can and will happen. So wait. And demonstrate your support. 


PS: The media blackout was imposed in order to generate some media of my and our own. Click!

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