How convenient for the elites that thrive in this hegemony that there is no viable system but the one that places them in a tower of ineffable privilege. How fortunate that there is no possibility of change. How extraordinary that any alternative that is offered is either studiously ignored or viciously discredited.
Mahienour El-Massry is an Egyptian lawyer and socialist activist currently imprisoned by the regime. She wrote this letter on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 revolution.
This is the fifth year of the revolution … I almost cannot believe that five years have passed since the chants of “The people want to bring down the system!” and “Bread … freedom … social justice … human dignity!”
Maybe this is because even in my jail cell I am filled with dreams of freedom and with hope.
Some say that the revolution has been defeated. Others say that there could not have been anything better than what happened. The regime feels that it has won. But is this right? Are we defeated and has the revolution ended? Have we always been nothing but victims? Has authoritarianism rooted itself strongly by force and tyranny most of the time and by sweet talk at other times?
Maybe it’s because I am among the believers in the dream, and among those who are convinced that we face not only internal authoritarianism and tyranny, but also an international system that is inhumane, in which people mean nothing compared to profits and oil.
I therefore think that we are still on the road to building a humane and just society. We made mistakes sometimes; we were defeated sometimes. We were arrogant sometimes and hopeless at other times. But we are still in the fighting ring. Glorification, however, is the voice of the stupid, and crying over the ruins is the voice of the cowardly and the desperate.
There are lessons for everyone, lessons we learnt by chaste blood that has been shed for us.
The first of these lessons is that there is no individual salvation, and that desperation and the attempts to escape to the outside or the inside will not help us make our day better.
Second: we were overcome when we looked the other way as others were overcome. Revolution is humane by nature, and it does not make us accept any injustice that befalls even those who oppose our opinion and even those who tried to obliterate us. Accepting injustice against one person will enable it to reach us all.
Third: we are not satisfied with the honour of trying. We should not continue running in circles. We have to formulate the objectives of the revolution into movements and initiatives and begin organising ourselves. If the interest of the counter-revolution unites them, then the survival instinct should unify us (believers in freedom and those who stand against all forms of authoritarianism and backwardness).
Fourth: a scared regime arrests thousands and cancels elections (the student union elections for example). It trembles at the thought of an anniversary, despite the injustice of a whole year. It equates those who demand life with those who demand death.
This oppression never mattered; it deepened the feelings of injustice, which strengthened the resistance. The people who rose up for two days on 18 and 19 January 1977 [riots broke out after then president Anwar Sadat announced that he was ending rice, flour and cooking oil subsidies] but did not touch the head of the regime, have learnt the lesson and attempted to do away with the head of the regime in 2011, but this has not been completed yet.
Fifth: the revolution continues because life and dreams continue. It does not stop for a person, and sooner or later, in our lives or in the lives of those who come after us, our revolution will be completed – because people deserve better, and ugliness, no matter how much it tries to disguise itself, will eventually reveal its true face.
Shaimaa [Al-Sabagh, a 32-year-old activist killed while peacefully protesting in January 2015]. On your first anniversary send our greetings to our angels, the martyrs. Tell them that we are still filled with hope, and that the prisons and the injustice increased nothing but our grip on our dream and our revolution.
Today is the 37th anniversary of the Iranian revolution in which our country was stolen, hoodwinked, tricked by a ruthless dictator. One dictator removed to make way for an unimaginably worse one. 37 years of oppression. 37 years of resistance.
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Nate Parker’s Film, Birth of a Nation, premiered this past Monday. He recently sat down and commented on the racism in this country and why he chose that film title.
“This is what I think: that we as artists have to understand that there is pervasive racism in Hollywood and in America, and we can either pick the weed, or we can roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty and get into the root. Our problem, what we’re dealing with right now, is foundational. The business of Hollywood was built on the propaganda of D.W. Griffith and [1915’s] The Birth of a Nation. It was the very first feature film that played in the White House and it was an enormous success, yet it said one thing: Embrace white supremacy, and you will survive. That was his message. And America embraced it.
It was critical that I use this title. I wanted to put a spotlight on this film — what it did to America, what it did to our film industry, what it did to people of color with respect for domestic terrorism. There’s blood on that title, so I wanted to repurpose it. From now on, The Birth of a Nation is attached to Nat Turner, one of the bravest revolutionaries this country has ever seen.”
Post By @KingKwajo