The scourge of our nation is not amnesia — as Naguib Mahfouz wrote — in learning from lessons past. The greatest plague is denying what we see with our own eyes and as recorded on video footage in bright colours and flowing blood.
It has been a few days since tragic events unfolded in Port Said during a football match. Parliament held a rare emergency session, satellite stations commented, and statements were issued by the government, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the Egyptian Football Association. There have been mass demonstrations raising flags and banners.
Everyone, without exception, stated all possible reasons behind the incident except the one we saw with our own eyes. Some blamed world Zionism, US imperialism, and even the remnants of the former regime who are sitting in Tora Prison, allegedly able to mobilise, via cell phones and computers, thousands of people to kill 74 other Egyptians.
The perpetrators are not the heroic people of Port Said or the Egyptian Football
Association, rather it was “a condition of the masses” struck by chaotic revolutionary psychosis that has become an Egyptian trait over the past year. This has not only happened in Port Said but also in other villages and towns. It held tourists hostage in Esna and Chinese experts hostage in Sinai; there are have been all types of crime because the country is running wild and can no longer be brought under control.
Meanwhile, 28 million-man marches have taken place along with their aftermath of strikes and clashes. Certain people committed crimes while the police stood by helpless because it they do not know whether they should interfere with “the masses” or not do anything. Before the sun set, tens of thousands of citizens attacked the Ministry of Interior which leads these forces. This did not only occur after the Port Said match, but has taken place several times before when the ministry was put under siege. Even the prime minister was unable to gain access to his office.
Comically, the minister of interior is accused of not restructuring the ministry. But when can he do this while his forces are deployed at a variety of demonstrations and under pressure by them? Would parliament, or the cabinet or satellite channels be good enough to tell us how and with what resources would this restructuring take place?
Even more ridiculous is that inside and outside parliament there is a long list of suspects, such as the governor and the Egyptian Football Association, who were expected to cancel the match. Was this even possible? And would the “masses” of Port Said have accepted this or were they going to go out in rage to smoke out “infiltrators” across the city. Then the question would have been, why didn’t the match take place?
At the core of the issue is combining revolution with chaos and not giving state institutions, including security agencies, an opportunity to recover their stature.