Writings from when I lived in Egypt, 2011-2012, and a few since then
Friday, October 7, 2011
Armed Forces Day
Originally published on Huffington Post Blogs:
Even if you could not see the military jets flying over Cairo on October 6th, you could hear them. Throughout the day, in nearly every part of the city, the air would fill intermittently with a loud passing roar, as if a single sound effect from a war film had been plucked out and played everywhere.
If you stood in the right place, you could see six or eight F-16's in a tight formation leaving behind them streaks of red, white, and a third color. I assumed the third stripe would be black, completing the color set of the Egyptian flag, but to the naked eye it really looked more like blue. On Twitter, comments proliferated suggesting that the colors represented the billion dollars plus of American military aid still being given.
On the first Armed Forces day since the revolution, the sound of the jets laid out in the open the tension that has defined the revolution's immediate legacy. Mubarak is gone. On that front, the protest movements have succeeded. But since early February, Egypt has been run by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), usually collapsed into the single figure of Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, the de facto head of state. The Emergency Law, one of the main grievances of the anti-Mubarak movements, has been reinstated for months. When I read articles in newspapers criticizing and defending the law, I have to remind myself that the revolution really did happen, that I haven't stepped a year into the past.