I haven’t written in a while and if you have been following global news at all you would know that part of it is because the country I currently reside in just went through what they have fondly called here the Lotus Revolution.
This is not unique to Egypt (where I reside) rather Egypt was the second country in what seems to be a cascading domino phenomenon going through the region. It started with Tunisia and with their success the youth of Egypt realized that they too can live free or die trying to achieve that goal.
Tunisia’s leader had been in power for around 23 years. The Egyptian president was in power for 30 and the threat of his Son inheriting the proverbial throne was a real one. It had already happened in the region. Syria’s Hafiz El-Assad left Syria to his son Bashaar and people in Egypt were on edge because if Hosni (the current president back then) was bad… his son (Gamal) would be 1000 times worse.
I have always scoffed at the idea that the Middle East was a dangerous place. I mean I was more in direct danger in Michigan USA than I ever was in any country in the Middle East. I have been in fights in the Middle East… but never been mugged or Burgled (alhamdullilah… Thank God) so its kind of an eye opener to find myself part of the Community Protection Patrol that was setup by my neighbors. Protecting our property from thugs and hooligans the old regime had let out of prisons on purpse to cause havoc and terror.
I don’t want to offend anyone but since the events of Jan 25 started I’ve been a little oblivious to what has been happening in the VO world. It’s not so much that I’m out of touch. It’s that after watching videos of the Martyrs, of their mothers standing strong in support of what their children died for “marketing techniques” and “social media optimization” doesnt really hold that much importance for me. That is not to belittle what others find interesting or important. But there is nothing quite like seeing your family terrified of what is to come, of thinking of exit strategies, of thinking of what to leave and what to take… where to go and who will tolerate your staying with them while you get back on your feet.
All of that kind of changes you. Maybe its temporary. I surf the blogs and read the VO related tweets and just cannot find myself interested in them. I don’t find them important. I am not curious to follow the links or to answer back. I don’t want to be witty or show off what I know.
I think I might have PTSD… a mild form of it. I think the whole country is slowly going through it.
One of the things that get to you is how some of your business partners or agents or clients who had not contacted you since January email you asking for a quote or talking about a job and they don’t ask about you or your family. Like the rest of the world outside their office doesn’t exist. Like people didn’t die and property wasn’t burnt. Like your family wasn’t in danger and you weren’t distraught.
Just another day at the office.
Some had not made the connection between me living in Egypt and the country going through a revolution. The last revolution that happened in most of their countries happened 100 to 200 years ago.
In one case I had left a message to my group members in LinkedIn telling them about what was happening to us (this was before Mubarak abdicated) and I mentioned how Western Media (especially the US media) was feeding the public lies. That even if they were talking scenarios what they were doing was sensationalizing unimportant points and trying to provoke terror… especially about the Muslim Brotherhood taking power. Islamophobia at its best.
I spoke of the terrible history of the US foreign policy, a policy that has killed 1,000,000 Iraqis and around 20,000 Afghanis. Hundreds of Pakistanis and the list goes on. Some retorted that that was Anti-American. I explained that Judging a people by their government’s actions would be like condemning 83,000,000 Egyptians for the actions of their government when they closed the Rafah border crossing during operation cast lead where the Israelis basically massacred 1,500 Palestinians.
Except I know that there were hundreds of doctors on the boarder between Egypt and Palestine ready to sign papers that would release the government from being responsible for those doctor’s lives. They were willing to leave their comfy homes and lives to go into a war zone and help their neighbors, brothers and sisters in their time of need. The government on the other hand stopped them and stopped the aid from going in and allowed hundreds of unnecessary deaths and untold misery.
If Americans are responsible for what their government is doing abroad. Then why is Ron Paul the only voice of reason. Why is it that even though Obama promised that the troops would be pulled out of Iraq during his pre presidential speeches, that there are still troops there?
The truth is that what the government does is not a representation of the people. The truth is that Governments lie.
Back To Normal
No things are not back to normal. Yes I’m back to work and my VO business is picking up again… but there is a fatigue that follows me. I am tired of people’s stupidity, of their greed, of their making the same mistakes over and over… Kind of like that sting song… history, teaches nothing.
I am Jaded and angry. Angry that my brothers and sisters in Libya are being slaughtered by a Madman and his kin. At this stage I feel grateful for all the kind words and wishes people have sent me, and although I am not the kind of guy who holds grudges… yet I feel like many of the people I’ve gotten to know through my blog and vo business have let me down.
Dropping me a line or trying to call me would have meant the world to me during my time of need.
And even that they were too busy to do.
Gushy Emotional Stuff
I am not the kind of guy that puts his heart on his sleeve. I’ve got a killer poker face but this is my way of purging some of the anger. Catharsis is not an easy or quick process. The Revolutions are still coming and who knows what the world will look like when all is said and done.
For now I’ve let go of some of the weight on my chest.
You’re in my thoughts daily, and especially whenever CNN is reporting on the Middle East. I assume your family is safe, and wish you all the best. You’ve had what’s akin to a major operation – and that takes a long time to heal and rebound from.
Thank you for your kind words. My family is safe but others were not that lucky. My brother-in-Law’s best friend lost a cousin, a 16 year old I don’t know how he died but it was a gunshot wound from the thugs in the ministry of interior. I don’t know when things will go back to normal.. As long as the torrent of revolutions is happening then I don’t think it will really be over. But the people of this country have started to pick themselves up and prosecute the people that oppressed them for so long.
I just hope I live long enough to see these people free and happy.
Thank you for “Within the shadow of revolution”, a thoughtful, provoking and moving piece. I am so saddened that you and your brothers and sisters are suffering at the hands of oppresive regimes, whether domestic or foreign. Who knows what the outcome may be, but I wish you and your family and friends God speed from the hell you’re living through.
Thank you for taking the time to read “Within the Shadow..” since the internet explosion and the sharing of information has become second nature to all. It seems to me like the whole world is functioning under repressive governments of some kind or another.
The CCTVs in the UK are an example of how the “Big Brother” Mentality can seep into countries that we have always seen as “developed”. The mantra now in some of the western countries is … to protect you and give you security I must curb your freedoms a shady and deceptive way of controlling their populations and keeping them in check.
I wish everyone proper freedom without the antics of politicians ruining it for everyone.
Glad to hear from you again, Taji.
PTSD – of course. These are no small things happening. And I am sure that all of North Africa will be vibrating for quite awhile. This is a lengthy process — and I think it is most appropriate to be more concerned with what is going on in front of you at the moment than some clever voiceover related happening. I empathize with your sense of betrayal/ sadness; seeing those you have worked closely with showing no concern, or complete ignorance, about and for your family’s well being during this singularly spectacular and dangerous time of change.
News coverage surrounding Libya, on the other hand, has been incomplete – even from non-Western media much of the time. Hard to determine what is happening in various cities. Or the extent of the slaughter.
Please know you and your family continue to be in my thoughts. And, as always, if there is anything we can do from here, please let us know.
Thank You Hélène,
What we are getting from Libya is a sordid disturbing tale of slaughter on a grand scale. We’ve always known Quaddafi was nuts. I mean he was always the comedic interlude in the political scape of arabia… but that is also what makes him the most dangerous… the guy is certifiable so is very unpredictable and brutal to the extreme. I have seen videos of those slaughtered. Not much of anything left from them. It is kind of like watching that series faces of death. Except the faces that I look upon are my brethren. It is what we expected..but it doesn’t make it any less horrific.
All that is bad, and the response from the “western” countries has been abysmal. Sarkozy wants to implement sanctions? What idiot came up with that plan. The revolution is slowly boxing Quaddafi in and this idiot wants to stop selling Peugeots to Libya.
Wow! … Just … Wow.
Grand and lunatic scale is right. I have seen some of the horrifying footage — but not via the news.
I didn’t even want to go into the western/ NATO “responses.” Makes me ill. Embarrassing and narcissistic (what else is new?). Dangerous to the people of Libya.
Taji – You have every right to be angry. And jaded. And scared, for you, your family, friends. I can’t even come close to imagining what your country and some of the others are going through. Please know that you are in my heart and thoughts every day as I read the news and watch the reports.
“I think I might have PTSD… a mild form of it. I think the whole country is slowly going through it.”
Brother, we are all going through that, I think even the children are, they don’t know exactly what is going on, but they feel it, and it’s making them very irrational and very sad most of the time now.
Allah be with our brothers and sisters in Libya, and make them victorious over that madman and his family of lunatics.
Comments are closed.