A few days ago, seemingly out of the blue, Palestinian activists starting tweeting “F*** Egypt.” Many people started asking, Why f*** Egypt? What do you mean? Who are Palestinians, who’ve managed to be occupied by three warring forces—Israel, the PA and Hamas—to dare say such a thing to Egyptians?
We Palestinians had immense expectations in the Egyptian revolution. The outlook of the revolution made us think that a change is coming and the revolution will leave good traces on the Palestinian situation , specially the situation of Gaza. We even celebrated more than the Egyptians themselves when Mubarak stepped down (at least that’s what it felt like). Everyone in Gaza took to the streets dancing, singing, shooting in the air and fireworks were filling the sky of Gaza. We were so emotional, happy and thinking that this is the time to say good bye to the siege and welcome freedom.
Truth be told, some of us activists were telling Israel, Hamas and the PA to “f*** off” in the months before Egyptians gave the finger to Mubarak, as evidenced by the founding of the Gaza Youth Breaks Out movement. But with the Pharaoh gone we started working for a change inside Gaza to fit with the change in Egypt, to build a better situation for both sides. We and the Egyptians celebrated when Mubarak stepped down, but not because the most hated dictator was down, but because we were convinced that with him would end the inhumane policies he stood for: not merely his tight grip on the country, but also his bonds with Israel, which made Egypt responsible in good measure for the imprisonment of the people of Gaza. We were hopping that the revolution would bring the people of Egypt and Palestine together, that the Rafah crossing would be open 24 hours a day, that the treatment toward Palestinians by the Egyptian government would become more humane. We had lots of hopes and dreams; but the more time has passed, the more we’ve lost the hope, while all the dreams we built after the revolution are vanishing. Apparently we were totally wrong. In fact, the Egyptian policies never changed toward Palestinians with Mubarak stepping down. it’s getting much worse day by day, or change by change.
A couple of weeks ago, the picture of a young Egyptian woman went around the world. She was stripped and brutally beaten in front of cameras, but it wasn’t the brutality that made her a symbol for the current post Mubarak Egypt. She became a symbol because she is the living proof that Egypt without Mubarak is the same as Egypt with Mubarak. The men who beat her up and stripped her off were not only the ones that were celebrated for protecting the people against police violence during the revolution, they also were supposed to be the promise for a common struggle towards a better new government. A temporarily military rule it was supposed to be, giving time and power to the people to build up a democratic system. But while the pictures of military brutality go around the world, there is a much quieter and less prominent proof that the new regime is betraying the people’s hope in it. If you want to find out what that is, be a Palestinian. Be a Palestinian in Gaza, or be one in Egypt. You will feel it, notice it, and experience it every day, in your every move.
As a Palestinian, you are not allowed to go in certain areas since its considered as a tourism place for Israelis. For a Palestinian getting into southern sinai areas is forbidden and if a Palestinian managed to tour these areas with a special permission, he’ll be watched by the Egyptian intelligence 24 hours a day. As a Palestinian, you are not allowed to stay in Egypt more than 72 hours unless you are a student or an employer otherwise, your stay will be considered illegal. As a Palestinian, you feel the humiliation when you go to the governmental organization and you see the special treatment toward westerners and you’re considered as a threat to the Egyptian security.
As a Palestinian, I want a successful Egyptian revolution and I want to feel the positive change in Gaza.