Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Interpreting Victory: "Smashing Bodies is Not Welcome"

This final "chapter" of the memorable afternoon with Aly, his mentor, and his father records Aly's evaluation of the pre-election spate of clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud Street.

As background, Aly was injured in those clashes (In Your Face in Cairo). Some days later we met and were joined by his mentor Dr. Heba Raouf Ezzat who admonished toward evolution in revolutionary attitude and behavior (Stones are Easy - Raise the Price of Your Blood); followed by the unplanned meeting with his father and the consequent disclosure to him of Aly's injury (Father on Son: Trading Life for Dignity).

Although in many ways she saw the effort as a failure, Dr. Heba had advised her youth nevertheless to frame it as a victory and move on. After she had left, Aly offered the following as his interpretation of the victory of those costly days of struggle:

1. The clashes reactivated violence against the regime.

2. It made clear that the security forces/military would not "regain their combat face" against civilians. He saw them having lost this postential to defeat civilians on the brutally violent day of January 28 (when security forces killed more than 800 Egyptians across the country in response to the evolving revolution).

3. Thus, "violence as a tool of oppression is not functioning anymore with people".

4. The renewed clashes made it "very, very clear that we will fight for freedom to the death."

5. "Violence allowed us to unite generations and deligimize SCAF."

6. "Power over bodies is going to be eliminated and transformed in the next couple of years", an issue that he saw as important not only on the political but also the social and cultural levels. "This form of power that smashes bodies is not welcome, and will not be legitimized by the people."

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