North Africa, West Asia

Egypt's i-generation


I dub the older generation the i-generation, i- for inertia as well as “me, myself and I”. The i-generation’s every  action is driven by fear; fear of the country falling into a shambles or into the hands of the wrong people.

Ahmed Kellal
2 October 2013

A little bit more every day, I am coming to the quite sad realization that what we have been waging, for the past two and half years in Egypt, is as much a war of generations as it is a war against tyranny, state corruption and the right to a decent living for all.

There is no denying the existence of a deep-seated “system”, where the money and power camps’ interests intertwine, wishing nothing more than to effect a face-lift for the Mubarak-era State enabling it to re-invent itself and rule again, via the omnipotent tools of propaganda and security’s iron fist. All of this to be justified by the threat of external elements wishing the downfall of Egypt and its mighty army or, as others like to call it, the region’s last line of defense.

However, what is more painful to watch and proving to be harder to combat is the support lent – unknowingly for the most part – to the “Deep State’s” insidious efforts by compatriots in their mid-forties and above, in their frantic calls for the restoration of stability and economic growth, at all costs. This group does not exclusively belong to the well-off segment of society. It includes the taxi driver as well as the flourishing business owner and draws political ideologies from left, right and center under its sway. Well, maybe not so much left. To be fair, when one enters into a debate with a representative of that generation, they will tell you they want nothing other than a better life for their children i.e. for us. Except that, upon further inspection, “better” equates to “same” and “life” translates to “subsistence”. Deeper into the debate, it clearly transpires that those who call for stability do so for mainly selfish reasons. They live the nation’s upheavals and look upon them, first and foremost, in the weak light of how it affects their lives.  “We want our Egypt back!”, they say. Well, we want it forward! And we want an Egypt that every Egyptian can call his/her own.

Rewind to January 25, 2011 and picture again the thousands who took to the streets; these were largely well-educated young men and women, with promising futures ahead of them, demanding social justice and equality for the less fortunate in the country. For that reason, I hereby dub the older generation the i-generation, i- for inertia as well as, “me, myself and I”.

The i-generation’s every action is driven by fear; fear of the country falling into a shambles or iton the hands of the wrong people. It is almost as if the fear of what awaits us after death, creeping closer to all of us but in all probability closer to them, seeps into their existence and renders them afraid of the unknown in life as well as death. And after 18 months, since Jan 2011, of silently living with their apprehensions, the i-generation has now become vehemently vociferous. They have judged the younger generation too idealistic, too disorganized and too downright ignorant and have decided to act. And, in their fear-driven actions, they unfortunately breathe life into the tentacled arms of the pre-2011 ghoul-like state.

Am I generalizing and demonizing? I believe every opinion is based on a generalization of sorts. It goes without saying that not all 40- to 80-year olds adhere to the i-deology. What I am saying is that it is my personal observation that a majority does. And I wouldn’t call it demonizing, just painting a sharp caricature of what we have been witnessing.

Make no mistake about it, we do not wish to see the i-generation withdraw into the shadows. On the contrary, we believe that no real change is possible without them. All we ask is for their assistance, guidance and leadership; but not the way they want it, the way we aspire to go. Sons of Nasser and Sadat, come to our aid! Simply remember: Egypt’s future is ours, not yours.

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