On the one hand, I can see the Cabinet's logic. They're not really targeting mass protests. They're after the day-in-day-out protests that have plagued every government office across Egypt. It's as if all of a sudden, after Jan25, every single employee has woken up from 30 years of apathy to demand higher wages and a new boss!
I am not saying I don't see these workers' side or that I don't sympathize with them. I definitely do. But I also realize that things won't change overnight and that we need to work together to make things happen.
From the protesters' side, I can also see why they are angry and why they decided to hit the streets. I think this new law was just the last straw for them. It's been almost a month and half now since Mubarak stepped down and the army took over temporarily. Let's review our progress since then:
- Essam Sharaf leads a new government and boosts our trust and optimism for a better future;
- We're told that Mubarak & his family cannot travel or leave the country;
- We're also told that Mubarak's money has been frozen;
- Former interior minister Haib el-Adly and several others are in prison and in the midst of a trial;
- We went out and for the first time ever participated in democratic elections on the Constitution referendum.
- Progress in Mubarak's questioning over his money is either non-existent or super slow;
- The three musketeers: Safwat el-Sherif, Zakaria Azmy & Fathy Serour are still out there enjoying life, with no indication that they will be question any time soon. I know the media announced they will be soon, but we have come to realize that the army's "soon" could take months, or who knows how long.
- The counter revolution is everywhere. We don't know who to believe and who to trust anymore. Conspiracies everywhere! But all of a sudden, fires are spreading across government buildings; police offers are on strike; prisoners are escaping from across Egypt and Salafists and/or Muslim extremists are either spreading lies or committing the most horrid crimes against Christians.
- Egyptian media still sucks! I feel there's no hope here! It's like these presenters were studying a special kind of mass communication that teaches them how to fool your audience!
I think these are fair demands and I support them wholeheartedly. Our revolution is slipping away from us and it's time to inject some excitement back in the air and get things moving. If army leaders are fooling us (and I sure hope not), then this should wake them up, and if they are just being too slow (which I can understand with the 1000x new responsibilities on their shoulders), this should boost their energy a little.
So, although I support Sharaf's cabinet and have a lot of faith in this man, I still have to side with the protesters on this one. We have to be able to hit the streets and voice demands when we feel there's an urgent need to do so!
The law will not take effect until the Supreme Council of Armed Forces approves it. Let's hope the army is still on our side and is leaning more towards my second theory (being slow), but still supportive. If that is the case, then I plead with the SCAF to turn down this law.
Jan25 gave all Egyptians the ultimate sense of freedom to just go out there and speak from the heart. So please don't try to take away our new-found freedom; that will be too painful for everyone!