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It’s the only language the government understands
It’s the only language the government understands
I gave a training session in the morning to a group of local and Arab human rights activists on internet campaigns, part of a workshop organized by HRINFO, then had to rush to Abdeen to see the Kafr Elw residents…
Saturday, December 22,2007 09:00
by Hossam el-Hamalawy Arabist

It’s been a long day…

I gave a training session in the morning to a group of local and Arab human rights activists on internet campaigns, part of a workshop organized by HRINFO, then had to rush to Abdeen to see the Kafr Elw residents…

 

Later I met with the Qursaya Island residents at the Press Syndicate…

… and the Real Estate Tax Collectors celebrating their strike victory…

I heard horrific tales from the Kafr Elw residents about police assaults, still saw impressive militancy among the women, who basically are leading the fight now against the government while their husbands have taken the back seat for fear of arrest…

I felt frustration and sheer alienation are spread among the Qursaya Island residents vis a vis Mubarak’s central government, but heard the phrase “we will die on our island, rather than give it to the government, army or anyone else” more than once…

I met again with the Real Estate Tax Collectors… But this time it was different… Last time I saw them was in front of the Ministerial Cabinet, where they were camping… they were exhausted, disheveled, yet resilient, as they slept night after night surrounded by the pigs in downtown Cairo… Tonight, they felt like heroes, and they were heroes having achieved victory in a bitter fight, in their first strike since 1919… “I walk today in the street, with my head up high,” said Amr, one of the strikers. “I wouldn’t have been able to look into the faces of children if I came back home after the strike with nothing. I won. We won. I tell the people in the street I was one of the Real Estate Tax strikers, and they tell me poetry. I feel our victory is a victory to all civil servants and all Egyptians.”

As I was taking the elevator to the Syndicate’s ground floor on my way out, there were two of the building’s staff workers (either waiters or janitors) chatting about the “beto3 el-3aqariya” (the guys from Real Estate)…

“They stayed for more than a week in the street,” said one.

“I know,”

“Seems everybody is doing it.”

“What do you mean?”

“The e3tissamat (sit-ins)!”

“Oh, I know. I know.”

“It’s the only language the government understands.”


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