Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ded el Hekomah …What does it mean?

Roots of the January 25 Revolution in Egypt

The powerful Egyptian rap Ded el Hekomah is the anthem of the Egyptian Revolution. News analysts, security experts, orientalists and all types of talking heads have for decades talked of the grim choice the USA and the West have in Egypt; corrupt dictatorships or Islamist western hating, war mongering instability like that of Iran. Pity they did not take some time to look beyond their prejudices and listen to “Ded el Hekomah”. Egyptian Rapper Ramy Donjewan song is a beautiful passionate cry against a brutal government, against injustice, thuggery and torture against the killing of innocents.

Ramy rages against dictatorship and even against the victims of oppression for their silence, for putting up with injustice and for thirty years of dictatorship. Ramy urges people to speak out against the oppressive government …”kefayeeh noam” enough sleep! … “kefayeeh moat” enough death! ... “kefayeeh sekoot” enough silence! ...“kefayeeh zolm” enough injustice … ”ana ded el hekomah” I’m against the government! …”ana ded illi ya’abel yetthan” I am against those who accept humiliation! “ana leya aeemah” my life has value!

The beautiful poetry of Ramy Donjewan speaks to universal values of freedom & justice; the American Founding Fathers would have strongly approved of every word and sentiment in “ded el hekomah”. What a surprise to the western talking heads and policy makers … Egyptian youth share the same basic universal values of other people, they do value their lives, they want freedom of expression, they want justice and opportunity; and guess what, they are not too keen on getting brutalized, tortured or killed. What a surprise! And, it is not just the youth we have seen Egyptians in their sixties and seventies take to the street to support the revolution.

The policy makers and their orientalists advisors failed to see the revolution coming as they projected prejudices against the people of Egypt through a process of generalization and stereotyping; lumping in different countries and cultures. The absurdity continues as “experts” talk of their concerns of Egypt splitting up confusing tribal societies in countries thousands of miles away with Egypt; perhaps the world first nation state with substantially same boundaries for millennia.

The reality, before all of us to see on CNN, BBC and Aljazeera, is that Egypt has a foot in the first world with millions of educated people; heavy users of internet and modern communication; they rap, they tweet, have lots of tweeps and Facebook friends, they work for Google, they demonstrate with iPhones, blackberry and even iPads and many are multilingual. This perhaps is the world’s first revolution led by what we Egyptians call “mistreheen” or the “comfortables”, those with education, jobs and some material wealth, the middle and upper classes of the society. Yet Egypt is a third world country with tens of millions of people living on below $2 a day. Daily tweets remind the pro democracy protestors to help the poor on their way to Tahrir Square.

The Egyptian Revolution is no bread riots; it is the “mistreheen” revolt for dignity, self respect and freedom on behalf of all of the people of Egypt. This is about an old nation waking up; finding its voice and showing the world values of social justice & cohesion, religious tolerance & unity. What may come of the Egyptian Revolution is still up in air, for now silence and wavering in supporting the brave people of Egypt is complicit support of thuggery, brutality, torture and criminal oppression of the will of the people. We should all be singing … ana ded el hekomah .. ded el hekomah … ded el hekomah.

February 9, 2011

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