Now that my eyeballs have all but dried up and fallen out as a result of staring at TV and computer screens for approximately 20 hours a day, in the vein of Sarthanapalos’ excellent piece, A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt, I’d like to provide a handy companion to the language and discourses surrounding the uprising. Not afraid to be servicey!
REVOLUTION & UPRISING
Calling this a revolution is all well-meaning and good, but I need to emphasize that this will not be a revolution unless radical change is implemented, and facts on the ground suggest that the Mubarak security apparatus is allergic to radical change for the time being. The United States’ commitment to “stability” and “orderly transition” further establishes that a likelihood of radical change is small, at this point. (Have I mentioned how much I hate my administration right now? Radical change in Egypt, and radical change everywhere.)
“PROTESTERS CLASH” & “PEACEFUL PROTESTERS”
I’m aware that the horrific events that occurred yesterday (and that are still occurring, as I write this) have largely been broadcast as clashes, but it seems a little bit (a lot bit!) unseemly to conflate peaceful (peaceful. Do you know what that means? PEACEFUL. Rinse. Repeat.) demonstrators’ attempts at self-defense (never forget that these thugs are out for blood. Seven died in Cairo alone in the past 24 hours) with “clashes”. If someone was coming at you with tear gas, on a camel brandishing a sword, or with chains, or knives, perhaps you would pick up a rock too?
TURMOIL & CHAOS
Al Jazeera English, lord love ’em, has finally ceased its headlines of “turmoil” and “chaos.” Again, make no mistake: Even in the absence of police on the streets, Cairo did not see anything resembling chaos or turmoil until their return. Neighborhoods self-organized and localized defense teams against thug looters. Communities cooperated and fed each other, sheltered each other. It was not chaotic until Wednesday 2nd February, when paid thugs went out in full force.
PRO-MUBARAK PROTESTERS & THUGS
All of the “pro-government counter-protesters” detained and handled by anti-government demonstrators yesterday held state security ID’s. These are men who have been paid by the government to enact the government’s wishes to silence the opposition. Calling them protesters illegitimates the word itself. These were orchestrated demonstrations not-so-coincidentally timed with the return of the Internet to divide opposition movements. Unfortunately, it might be working.
Do your best to not let this 82-year-old curmudgeon and his goons win. Do what you can to hold the regime accountable, do what you can to hold the international community accountable.