Yesterday, May the 27th of the Christan year of 2011 witnessed the gathering of tens of thousands of Egyptians in a place they now refer to as “home”: Tahrir Square. Their gathering, which started in the last hours of the previous day and continued until the early hours of today was called upon by many political forces, groups and coalitions in an attempt to revive the Egyptian revolution and straighten it’s zigzagged path. Egyptians flooded the famous square raising banners and chanting slogans that seemed to remind no one other than themselves with the main goals of their revolution, which have ripen into a specific set of irrelated yet highly logical demands- At the very least – in their own reasoning.
Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again, because a vision softly creeping, left its seeds while I was sleeping, and the vision that was planted in my brain, still remains, within the sound of silence.
The masses knew where to go, what to do and what to say the moment they reached Tahrir. Liberals gathered by the Kasr-El-Nil entrance, leftists by the Talaat Harb street entrance, so did many tweeps, bloggers, reporters, a few men selling flags, a crazy woman, a music band and a dreamer. The unpoliticized, the moderate and radicalists shared the square in harmony despite their contradicting political affiliations for they had one thing in common and this thing comes on top of their priorities list; above their ideologies, theories, opinions and even above their beliefs. They call this thing Egypt and they believe that “patriotism” is a “belief” too. None of them met George Bernard Shaw and few of them heard of him!
in restless dreams I walked alone, narrow streets of cobblestone, neath the halo of a street lamp, I turn my collar to the cold and damp, when my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light, that split the night, and touched the sound of silence.
I wandered about the square enjoying the dynamic crowds and thinking of the silent majority of Egyptians who were never cursed with the “Tahrir spell!”. I was and still am heavily affected by what Tahrir has cast upon me, or the likes of me. Those who believe in social justice, the rule of law, the rights of the unwealthy and unprivileged to a better, hopeful and prosperous life. Yet the silent majority kept humming to my ears, saying things that may defy many of my beliefs and align with many others, things that contradict justice with mercy, prosperity with subordination, law with tradition, wealth with success and consent with religion.The silent majority is not really silent after all and I wished they would stop talking and start doing something–anything!
and in the naked light I saw, ten thousand people maybe more, people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening, people writing songs that voices never shared, no one dared, disturb the sound of silence.
I remembered the song written by Paul Simon back when music meant a little more than Britney Spears and Amr Diab, in which Paul Simon describes a place where people talk without speaking and hear without listening and asked myself if such place truly exists. I’m trying to rationalize what I am witnessing in Egypt: in Tahrir as opposed to many other places, where the silent majority reign is prosperous and flourishing.
“fools,” said I, “you do not know, silence like a cancer grows, hear. my words that I might teach you, take my arms that I might reach, you”, but my words like silent raindrops fell, and echoed in the wells of silence.
It’s true: The Egyptian silent majority hears but never listens. It’s not true though that they talk but never speak, I can hear them all the time, in cabs, in public places, in official media, in coffee shops, in grocery stores and worst of all within my own family!. Well, whoever coined the term “the Egyptian silent majority” was either deaf or simply misunderstood the effect of putting two apparently simple words together: Egyptian and silent. The arrangement is illogical for Egyptians in general and as a rule are never silent. If “inactive” is used instead of “silent” everything should fall into place.
and the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made, and the sign flashed out its warning, in the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls, and whispered in the sound of silence.
The so called silent majority does not follow the rules of critical reasoning, statistics, logical derivations nor thick serious economical reports. Rather, they follow their instincts, their beliefs, their superstitions, their interests and their inherited values and to think that some specific group speaking in the name of religion, righteousness or God will succeed in turning the silent majority into a submissive mass following a specific ideology is mistaken. Once this majority decides to take part of the scene it will astound and stun even the most skillful of the political analysts for the silent Egyptians have the words of their own prophets written on the subway walls and those prophets are hardly known to any political analyst.
I found myself smiling after experiencing this trail of thoughts, as I walked slowly towards the Sadat subway station, maybe I’ll read what the prophets have written on the subway walls. Maybe!