Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"OUI" the people(s) of Egypt, its subcommittees and its pregnant widows.

Tony Cragg - Subcommittee
Like every other person in Lebanon, I am following the news from Egypt closely. In one photo someone wrote on his banner "choose the peoples of Egypt or Hosni Moubarak" - and I laughed because of the grammatical error but then it hit me how jealous I am of them, their homemade signs, their grammatical errors... Why? Because they did not have two of the town's hottest creative directors doing that famous logo with that typo and those colors, they did not have Saatchi&Saatchi's production department working overtime to give us those pitch perfect signs and banners, they did not import all those consultants from abroad to imitate the gimmicks that worked in other revolutions (I personally met the guy who handled the Orange revolution in Ukraine who was brought here to give some of his tips)... They are the genuine article in Egypt while we were merely an Astroturf movement (a mass action by people who think they lead it themselves but which was eventually trigered by big wigs - ex: The tea part which is financed by the Koch brothers in the US)...
Anyhow, today I remember Alexander Herzen's quote: "[T]he departing world leaves behind it, not an heir, but a pregnant widow. Between the death of one and the birth of the other . . . a long night of chaos and desolation will pass." I feel that for the the Egpytians, some time of chaos will be necessary for them to regain control of their independence, but frankly, this is much better that our own microwavable version - or to quote comedian Mario Bassil "they gave us independence but forgot to include the manual or instructions with it".... Anyhow, on March 14th 2005, I was one of the first people to get to Martyrs' square and one of the last to leave, and yet - two years on the same day - I wrote the prose poem below entitled "Subcommittee", and my only hope is that two years down the line, an very disillusioned Eyptian youth would write something similar:
"My soul a bubble gum stuck underneath a table, left to drain from its saliva, rock hard to be scalpeled by janitors, with nothing but memories of the beatniks, two years ago on this day when we went and made ourselves counted with everyone having a celebration though maybe not for the same cause, not for the same reason, leaving reason and getting high on emotions, on smuggled hope bought from the black market, how we thought we could matter, until the matter of fact caught up with us, with just a memory of spitting adrenaline, and slogans of truth/freedom/nationalunity, screamed from the top of Marlboro blackened lungs, with throats now sore and needing Strepsils, with heads about to blow needing bullets, with now 42% admitting they would use arms, brothers in arms though back then, March 14 with good-willed people trying to, nevermind what they tried to, until it had follow-up committee, which orchestrated its highjack, which made it a bureaucratic process, an organized prostitution ring with its own madams and black books and secretive wealthy clients and Beiruti bombshells, leaving us with the bill, like that advertising agency that does not bill you for your prostitutes, but someone ought to pay, ought to pay for the last supper bill, we were Jesuses stuck on earth for forty days washing dishes in that Jewish inn, making up for an unpaid dinner for thirteen, there are no free lunches, we had none, we just had subcommittees with stamps and red tape, with phosphoric tape of police line do not cross, free wills have been hit and run here."


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