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A flawed constitution of the ageing

January 27, 2014 at 9:48 am

Weeks ago I said in a talk that the place of this constitution is underneath the shoes of the new generation. Yet, I did not expect this to happen so quickly. Successive news reports inform that old people were the majority of those who took part in voting over this backward constitution, which turns Egypt into an estate owned by the rich, the influential and the military in the face of the majority that consists of the poor, the needy and the civilians.

The abstention of the youth from voting sends a clear message. It is the message contained in my own talk when I said “indulge in your illusions, you ageing ones”. (Linguistically, it is more accurate to describe them as the sheikhs, but had I uttered that word in this particular context I might have been completely misunderstood. So I apologise to the linguists.)

Artist Mr Khaled Yousef, who is a member of the Fifty Committee, was the first to talk about the abstention of the youth from voting. A witness from within the household has spoken. But even if he has not testified, millions of people have testified. The videos also testify. White hair was the overwhelming feature of the limited queues. Dancing men and women voters in front of election committees were utterly ridiculous; they were clad with white hair. It is an aged and flawed constitution.

I had hoped that Mr Khaled Yousef would testify to the rigging of the vote. He is the one who said in a debate in which I had the honour of taking part: “If international supervision is absent that means the referendum is rigged.” Yet, it would seem that my brother Khaled Yousef considered the false supervision sufficient. That is his opinion and he is free to have it, with all due respect. However, I believe this is not sufficient at all. The referendum has indeed been rigged. It was a referendum without local or international supervision. It was a referendum void of all guarantees. It is the referendum in which those who called for a ‘no’ vote were jailed. Despite all of this they dare appear on television screens to talk to us about fairness and about the people’s right to choose.

I wrote this article on Friday. All pointers on the ground indicate that the number of voters throughout Egypt did not exceed 8 million, most of them were old and ageing. Yet, these pointers also indicate that a huge number will be announced. This will definitely be a falsified number.

The election committee hoists the slogan, “I’ve always frustrated my enviers”. We had hoped that their slogan was about fairness and transparency. Yet, what can we do when the whole of Egypt is burning “to frustrate the enviers”.

The constitution of the past will not prevent the future. To the contrary, it will provide a push forward. We have learned during the past three years how to write failing constitutions. Millions of Egyptian citizens can today write books about the failure that leads to a political deadlock and bloodshed in the streets.

The alliance of the revolution and of the counter-revolution is breaking up. The alliance of the counter-revolution has actually begun to collapse. There has been an enormous cost for the blood that has been shed. That cost has to be borne by some of those in authority. Everyone in authority today is asking himself privately, “will they sacrifice me? Will I be a scapegoat?” From the biggest head to the smallest tail they are all trying to have others for lunch before these others have them for dinner.

Everyone in authority today is having conflicting feelings. Everyone of them preys and is being preyed upon, chases and is being chased. The crisis of those in authority is huge. For everything is exposed. The slogan of “down with the military rule” thundered inside the Engineers Association during the memorial for the great poet Ahmad Fuad Najm.

The conclusion, oh you who wish to comprehend what is going on is that you have written one of the pages of the past and it’s about time you disappeared with it. The train of the future is approaching and will crush everyone foolish enough to stand in its way. Oh youth of Egypt, who have boycotted this referendum, you have done well. Come on! Navigate the ship.

Do not wait for the old and the ageing, do not pay attention to the ageing broken generation. Do not wait for the generation of the elderly that are my age because we do not understand what Egypt should be like. Whoever understands you from among the old and the ageing will soon find himself behind bars but waiting for you to make a move.

I have conveyed my message. God is my witness.

Oh God, you have gifted me with a tongue and a pen which I have dedicated only to supporting the truth. I have never stood by an oppressor. I have not used my gift except in the cause of supporting the oppressed and against oppressors. So, God, as you bestowed such bounties upon me, I ask you to end my life before I concede to a murderer or a traitor.

Oh God, I am content with what you have given me in this world in pursuit of what you have promised in Hereafter. So, bestow your mercy upon me, upon my parents and upon my progeny.

Oh God, I’ve never compromised my faith in favour of a tyrant. I’ve never accepted a post I know would bring doom to me. I’ve never turned my sight away from an act of injustice. So, forgive me for any failures.

Oh God, I’ve spoken the truth right to the face of oppressors. I’ve done so openly and loudly. So have mercy on my soul.

Oh God, if I am granted an acceptable prayer I shall save it for Egypt and its people. Oh God relieve us of our plight and grant us the victory you promised us.

Long live Egypt for the Egyptians and with the Egyptians.

The author is a poet and political activist. This is a translation of the Arabic text published by Arabi21 on 18 January, 2014

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.