Egypt Revolution Part Two

Written 4th July, 2013

Egypt’s Second Revolution

On 3rd July 2013, Egypt’s first ‘democratically elected’ President Morsi, was deposed by military decree, in response to the millions of Egyptian citizens who had signed petitions and turned out en masse to demand Morsi step down. It could be called a citizen-led military coup, but to the millions of Egyptians on the streets, it was a victory against the oppressive regime.

[Note: I highlighted ‘democratically elected’ because the elections were fraught with problems, from intimidations to ballot box stuffing, and there was no outside independent auditors to keep things legal.]

My Egyptian friends are happy that Morsi is gone and that they have a second chance at electing a democratic government again. Their joy is wonderful to see. I remember the euphoria from the first revolution, and everyone felt it, even beyond Egypt.

But this second revolution is different. An online friend commented that he felt “equal amounts of optimism, pessimism, anxiety, fear, caution, and fatigue.” This describes exactly my feelings right now. As much as I want to celebrate with my Egyptian friends, there is a part of me that feels something has just gone horribly wrong.

Let me clearly state that I did not like or support Morsi nor his MB party. If I had been Egyptian with the right to vote I would never have voted for Morsi or his party. I have always stated I did not trust the MB, that they lied over and over again, and that they would be very bad for the country.

So my comments here are not because I don`t understand the desire to rid Egypt of the MB party and Morsi as president. Clearly, he had lost the support of the people. If he had been a man of honour he would have admitted that and called for a new election. That was all it would have taken, for him to address the country, say he realized that he had lost their support, and announce when a new election would be held. Then he would dissolve the parliament, and begin the election process. The people would have gotten what they were asking for, the right to a new election to choose someone who would better represent and run the country.

The military was not needed. The violence that is erupting across Egypt as a result of the military’s actions would not be happening. All of this could have been avoided. But the path has been set, and there’s no turning back.

In the hours after the announcement by the military that it was stepping in, they shut down MB sponsored media, and arrested journalists. If this had happened to non-MB journalists, there would have been outrage that the media was being censored. In a democracy, freedom of speech must extend to everyone, regardless of whether you agree with them or not. I was informed that the decision to take these steps was supported by the people, to keep peace, to avoid the MB from calling for a jihad and retaliation. In fact, the MB didn’t need the media to stir up their followers. They had Friday Prayers.

Another disturbing development is the growing ‘Them verse Us’ mentality, which goes against the revolution’s call of freedom for all citizens.  In the days to come I fear growing violence between citizens with more deaths.

As I read the online posts from Egyptians I can’t shake this sense of foreboding. If this second revolution had been truly by the people, with no military involvement, I don’t think I’d be feeling as unsettled as I do now. One reason for this is SCAF.

Seeing Egyptians putting their faith in SCAF, willing to embrace them as being ‘with the people’, is really disconcerting. Friends tell me they are willing to give SCAF a chance, that they aren’t the same as they were before, that they’ve changed.  I am reminded of how Canadians develop a kind of selective amnesia as they re-elect politicians that previously screwed the country. It is endemic in humanity, I guess.

Two and a half years ago I didn’t even know what SCAF was. Egypt, you taught me that SCAF was the enemy. You showed me the images proving their brutality and oppression of your Egyptian brothers and sisters. I read the first-hand accounts of women subjected to virginity testing at the hands of SCAF; of men and women imprisoned and subjected to beatings, torture, rapes and sodomy at the hands of SCAF. You showed me the faces of those martyred by SCAF. You showed their secret headquarters, the stockpiles of viagra and condoms, the women’s clothing, and detailed the atrocities that happened under their control. You taught me to hate SCAF with the same vehemence you felt for them. Now, you embrace SCAF, the enemy, and are certain the military is “with the people” and will come through on their promises to give back the country.

It is very difficult for me to view SCAF in any other way than what you taught me: as the enemy.

I can’t help wondering how the No Military Trials people feel right now, after fighting for two and a half years to bring some justice to people affected by SCAF. How are they dealing with having to set aside two and a half years of their efforts against this enemy, and now embrace SCAF as being “on our side.”

More importantly, how must the families of those tortured and killed at the hands of SCAF feel right now, knowing that their emancipation from MB rule, and possibly their future, is now in the hands of the very body of people that brought them such sorrow?

Regardless of what the military says, I can’t help thinking: what if they refuse to release control, citing continued violence and the need to stabilize the country? At that point the people will once again take to the streets, but this time against the might of a military that has the power to crush any uprising. If that happens there will be no one in the country to protect the Egyptian people and they will be forced to seek outside help, which is something I know they are loathed to do.

**********

Since hearing the news and listening to the responses of Egyptian friends, I have struggled to understand why I feel so depressed.  As much as I am happy for my Egyptian friends because they are feeling happy and hopeful, there is a part of me that feels disillusioned, uneasy, concerned.

Maybe I’ve become too close to this issue. Although I’ve spent the last two and a half years reading everything I can on the issues affecting Egypt, and have taken to heart the stories, comments, analysis of Egyptians for Egypt, and have cheered every success, and shed tears over every loss, one fact remains: this isn’t my revolution. Even though there is a part of my heart which holds Egypt, and her citizens, in such high regard and with such affection, I am not Egyptian, have no Egyptian blood in me, and have no vested interest in the success or failure of the country. What happens in Egypt should not matter so much to me that it upsets my day, and disturbs my sleep. But it does.

The revolution was full of hope, fused with enormous energy of the Egyptian citizens who could barely contain their desire to extricate themselves from under an oppressive dictator. It was pure and beautiful, and one couldn’t help but be carried along on the euphoria that spread far beyond Egypt’s borders. We all were Egyptians that day as we sat glued to our televisions and computers, watching events unfold, inch by painful inch, until the dictator finally fell. It was a defining moment, globally, because it showed people working together, putting aside differences to focus on one goal, for the good of everyone. It was a David and Goliath moment, and we all were swept away by it.

Between then and now, the belief that Egypt would ultimately succeed in creating a democracy for the people by the people has never left, even in the face of the many disappointments.

When people took to the streets on 30th June, I was worried about their safety, but I felt optimistic that maybe, once again, the people would prevail.  I knew this wouldn’t happen overnight but I never imagined it would happen as it did. I believed that if people stayed the course, as they had with Mubarak, that Morsi would eventually realize he had to step aside and call new elections.

Friends tell me that the military was needed to remove Morsi, but it seems to me that the military has stolen the revolution.  It is hard to be happy about this second revolution as it feels tainted, the power now held by people with blood on their hands, the blood of the martyrs of the first revolution.

I don’t have the right to rain on anybody’s parade. This is Egypt’s battle, their revolution, and I can only hope and pray that eventually they find their way to the democracy they so desperately desire. This is a long journey they are on, and there is no way to know what will happen next.

So I must step away, from politics, and from Egyptian politics in particular. I`ve spent two and a half years of my life daily focused on Egypt and maybe this is the Universe telling me it`s time to let go. My thoughts and prayers will always be with Egyptians as they struggle to achieve the goals of the revolution, and I know that will take time, tears, and hard work. They will make it, eventually.  To my Egyptian friends, may God bless and keep you safe. I stand in solidarity with you, with eternal respect and love.

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A thought

I wonder what your voice would sound like
if you said my name…

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Helping Stray Animals In Egypt

There are so many requests still coming for shelters in Egypt to help animals in need even though many of these shelters have had to close their doors to taking in more animals. Please know, they did not choose this decision lightly and every request they must turn away breaks their hearts. It is a temporary decision until they can find foster homes and adoptions for many of the animals they already have.

Their first responsibility is to the animals they’ve already taken in. That shouldn’t need explaining but some people just don’t understand. The worst suggestion to this situation is to euthanize the animals that have been in the shelter a long time to make room new animals. Why would you euthanize animals you’ve already taken in, given a home to, fed and cared for, nursed back to health, just to make room for more animals? It would be betraying the animals you’ve already given sanctuary.

Euthanizing is not the solution here. Spaying/neutering, people taking care of their own animals, and stepping up to care for the animals they find on the streets is a beginning to sorting this problem. Adoption instead of buying from pet store and breeders is a beginning to sorting this problem.

Shelters are overflowing because people have abandoned pets, have allowed breeding to go unchecked, and it will take more than just shelters to fix the problem. The public must get involved in caring for the unwanted animals. Don’t just think ‘someone should do something about this.’ YOU are SOMEONE. There are things you can do to help instead of simply telling a shelter to “do something.”

  • You can put out food to feed the strays around your home.
  • Gather them up and take them to a vet to be neutered. Once done they can be re-released back where you got them, and they will work to keep down the vermin and keep out new strays.
  • If you find an injured animal, contact a vet.
  • If you need a vet, ask the shelters for recommendations.
  • If you need advice, post about the issue on the shelter pages and there will be lots of advice available from other animal lovers.
  • If you foster an animal but can’t keep it, get the animal neutered, then post a photo of the animal on a shelter page, with contact details, so someone else can step up and help.
  • Making sure the animal is neutered will stop unscrupulous people from taking the animals for breeding.
  • Ask lots of questions before just handing over an animal to someone else so you don’t end up giving that animal to someone will harm it.

Stray animals are the result of irresponsible pet owners and people who created these lives and then abandoned them. We must not abandon them too. Shelters have their place, as do the many people who foster animals and take it upon themselves to help the local strays, but these people cannot do everything. Let their work be an example to us all to step up and be part of the solution.

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Used to know

I used to know what I wanted
but now…
Have I waited too long,
gone too far?
I can’t go back,
but there’s nothing ahead.
What do I want
now that there’s nothing…
I want you.

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If only…

If only you knew…
If only I could tell you…
There are things I’d want to say,
if you weren’t so far away…

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Animals And Emergencies

General Emergencies

What if you cannot make it home because of bad weather, or you are suddenly hospitalized? Do you have a plan of action for the care of your animal companions? Just as parents do for their children, our animal friends need some extra thought should we be unable to care for them.

If possible, arrange with a trusted friend or neighbour to step in and care for your pets if you are suddenly unable to do so. Make sure they have a list of where the food is located, what you normally feed, any medications that need to be given, and where the food and water bowls are. List any special instructions such as how to lift the lid of the mouse’s cage, or what kind of litter to put down for the rabbit, where the leash/muzzle/harness is for the dog, and whether  the cat is supposed to be let outside. Make sure they know your routine and details so when an emergency happens you will take comfort knowing your fur babies are in good hands.

Heat Waves:

There shouldn’t be a need to remind people of this but every year pets succumb to heat stroke. Do Not Leave Your Pet In The Car, even if you leave the car running with the A/C on.  Also, limit exercise on hot days to only mornings and evenings. Pets are susceptible to skin cancer just as people are so keep them out of the direct sun during the heat of the day. Animals with short noses can have breathing problems in the heat and humidity. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn an animal’s paws. Humidity can dehydrate an animal, making it hard for them to cool themselves.

It is up to you to protect your pet from heat exposure so walk them on the grass when possible, keep them out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, and make sure they have access to plenty of shade and cool water during the day. You can add ice cubes to the water, and if you have a dog, a small wading pool in the shade can provide some welcome relief from the heat.

Watch your pets for signs of heat stroke: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivations, vomiting, a deep red/purple tongue, seizure, unconsciousness. If you see any of these signs get your pet into the shade, or an air-conditioned area, quickly, and apply ice packs or cold towels to head, neck, chest, and feet. If you don’t have ice packs, run cool, not cold, water over the pet and let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Then take your pet to a vet to be checked out.

During heat waves the power may go out due to overloaded/overheated circuits. If you must leave your home because you don’t have any electricity, do not leave your pets behind. If it is too hot/unsafe for you to be home, it is also unsafe for your pet. Take them with you to a shelter or motel that allows pets, or to friends and family who can give you and your fur babies a cool shelter until the power comes back on.

If you opt to stay home while the power is out, keep the doors and windows open but cover them with shades to keep the sunlight out. Especially cover the glass part. Dark paper taped to the window can work in this instance. Be sure to provide lots of water for your pets, and stay in the shade. NOTE: Dog houses can become little furnaces of heat. Do not put your dog in a dog house. If you don’t have any shady trees, hang a bed sheet, blanket, or tarp to create shade.

Major Emergencies

Should a tornado, flood, fire, or other disaster strike, do you have an emergency plan for your animal companions? The following are suggestions on things you should do to keep your pets safe.

Before An Emergency Happens:

Just as it’s wise to have an emergency kit for your family, it is also wise to have one for your pets. The kit should include: a harness, collar and leash if you have a dog, a carrier for smaller animals, bottled water, food and water bowls, dry and tinned food, a copy of your pet’s medical information and any medications they are on, litter and a litter tray for cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs. Also a good idea is to have photos of your pet in case they get lost, and some towels, blankets, and toys to keep them occupied, a manual can opener for the tinned food, a flashlight and batteries. All this can be stored inside the pet carrier, a duffle bag or plastic tub with a tight fitting lid that can be easily accessed in an emergency.

Plan the possible destinations you can go to in the event of evacuation. You should have a list of emergency shelters that accept animals, or motels/hotels that will, during an emergency, allow you to bring your animal companions. Perhaps you can travel to family or friends who will be willing to accept your pets too. Preparing for this possibility before you need it will make things so much easier when an emergency happens.

Arrange with a friend or neighbour to check on, and if necessary remove, your animal companion should you be unable to get home when disaster strikes. Leave them a written list of instructions on where to locate things and on care, as well as phone numbers where you can be reached, and for the vet.

An Emergency Happens And You Must Evacuate:

If you are to evacuate your home, do not leave your pets behind. If it is not safe for you to stay home, it is not safe for your pets to stay. There is no way to know how long you may be away or what will happen to your home while you are away. Pets left behind may become injured if there is damage to your home, or drown if the house is flooded. They may become malnourished and dehydrated.  Turning your pet loose outside will not help it to survive as the animal will have no idea where to go, and will be at the mercy of the environment and displaced wild animals.

Evacuate early. Don’t leave things until the last minute. Often when people are forced by officials to evacuate they are told they can’t take their pets. Give yourself time to get you and your animal companions to safety.  Also remember, when animals hear high winds, loud noises, smell smoke, or hear people yelling, they panic too and are harder to get into their carriers or to get leashed. Their first instinct is to hide, and that means you may not be able to find them when everything happens. Be prepared!

For smaller pets such as small dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs etc, you should have a carrier with a secure door. Depending on the pet, keep suitable bedding in the cage and let your pet get used to going in and out of the carrier. This is especially useful with dogs, cats, and large rabbits that can become panicked during a disaster and might resist going into a strange carrier. Smaller animals like gerbils and guinea pigs are easily popped into a carrier. Even mice should have a secure carrier that will keep them safe if you must evacuate. For large animals like dogs, they should be leashed and wearing a harness. Fish can be put into an extra large ziplock freeze bag with a long straw for oxygen. Insert the straw into the bag with water from the fish tank and the fish, zip the bag almost closed up to the long straw. If you have a small plastic food cooler, the bag can be propped up and held in place with towels. For whatever pet you have, take time before a disaster hits to check what sort of evacuation carriers might work for your pet. It bears repeating: Be Prepared!

Remember to bring your Pet Emergency Kit.

PETA offers emergency window stickers and advises that you place them near your front and back doors, and on side windows. In the event of a weather emergency, fire, or other evacuation reason, rescuers will know that animals are in the home. NOTE: If you evacuate with your animals, write EVACUATED, on the stickers, or remove them so rescuers won’t waste time checking for pets.

If you are forced by authorities to leave your animal companions behind, do not turn them loose. They will not be prepared to survive on their own out in the elements. There are untold dangers during a storm and your pets will be terrified and have no safe shelter. If there is absolutely no way to take them, at least leave them with a two week supply of dry food, and water, on an upper floor of the house. Fill every bowl, pan, container, basin, sink, and even tub, with water. If the toilet bowl is free of chemical disinfectant, leave the lid up on that as well.

To avoid this eventuality, it bears repeating: Leave early! Don’t wait until the last minute to evacuate and risk having to leave your fur babies behind all alone at the mercy of the storm/disaster.

If you are unable to get back to your house when an emergency happens, contact a reliable friend or neighbour to check on the pets and get them out of the house. This is where prior written instructions will come in very handy.

An Emergency Happens And You Opt To Remain In Your Home:

If you cannot evacuate, or decide to remain in your home, it is wise to find an area where you and your pets can wait out the storm, preferably an interior room without windows such as a bathroom, or a basement (in the event of a tornado and if there is no possibility of flooding).  Put small pets into their carriers to keep them from hiding in small unsafe spaces. If there are windows in the room, tape them or tape cardboard over them to prevent shattered glass from spraying the room.

Bring your pets indoors, and remain inside to wait out the storm. Keep larger animals under your control and smaller animals in their carriers. This way, if you must evacuate immediately, you won’t have to search for them. Keep your emergency kit with you as well.

Make sure you tape shut any pet doors, open fireplaces, and vents with plastic sheeting.

Remember to have your battery powered lights and radio with you and the pets. Follow the directions given for your area.

After The Disaster:

Do not let your pets run loose. There could be downed electrical wires, broken glass, shards of metal and wood strewn around the area. Your animal companions will be disoriented and can easily get lost. Keep dogs on their leash and smaller pets in their carriers as you assess the damages. It is safer for them and easier for you to locate them if/when you must leave.

As frightening as it is for you during a disaster, it is just as frightening for your pets. They may be more wary of sounds and smells, and in their fear they can act out. Try to keep to your routine and be patient and soothing to your animal friends as they need some extra TLC.

Another issue to keep in mind is stray animals and wild animals also affected by the disaster/storm. These creatures may be displaced, frightened, and wandering about looking for a place of safety and refuge. Be aware and keep your pets safe from them.

If you take precautions before a disaster happens you will be better prepared to handle issues that arise.

© Tallulah, 2013

 

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A Message Worth Sharing

dog poster

On my facebook page I came across the following, from ACE, and knew I had to share it here. Spreading this message is very important.

“I died today.”

You got tired of me and took me to the shelter. They were overcrowded and I drew an unlucky number. I am now in a black plastic bag in a landfill. Some other puppy will get the barely used leash you left. My collar was dirty and too small, but the lady took it off before she sent me to the Rainbow Bridge.

Would I still be at home if I hadn’t chewed your shoe? I didn’t know what it was, but it was on the floor. I was just playing. You forgot to get me puppy toys.

Would I still be at home if I had been housebroken? Rubbing my nose in what I did only made me ashamed that I had to go at all! There are books and obedience teachers that would have taught you how to teach me to go to the door.

Would I still be at home if I hadn’t brought fleas into the house? Without anti-flea medicine, I couldn’t get them off of me after you left me in the yard for days.

Would I still be at home if I hadn’t barked? I was only saying, “I’m scared, I’m lonely, I’m here, I’m here! I want to be your best friend!”

Would I still be at home if I had made you happy? Hitting me didn’t make me learn how.

Would I still be at home if you had taken the time to care for me and to teach manners to me? You didn’t pay attention to me after the first week or so, but I spent all my time waiting for you to love me.

I died today. Love, Your Puppy.

Remember, the animal you bring into your life is a living, breathing, reasoning, understanding creature who bleeds the same blood you bleed, feels the same things you feel, and needs the same things you need. This isn’t just an animal. This is a sentient being, worthy every good thing you could want for yourself. This is not a toy, or inanimate object to be minimized, abused, or shunted around like worthless garbage. What you do to this creature determines the kind of human being you are. There is a higher power, and you are being judged. How will you measure up?

Share this with everyone you know, especially those who don’t get that there’s no such thing as “just an animal”. Be the voice of the voiceless.

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