Here is a special treat for CWCP followers/readers. In order to give everyone a better idea of what it was like to live through and participate in the so-called Egyptian Revolution, CWCP Fellow Dina El-Gebaly conducted an interview with Randa Haggag, a friend of Dina’s and an Egyptian political activist. Ms. Haggag has studied business, currently works as Head of Marketing for a Multinational Corporation and also owns a Modern Egyptian Fashion Line. The interview was conducted during the first week of March 2011.
Dina El-Gebaly: Did you support/were you against the Revolution? Why?
Randa Haggag: With the revolution. [Because] Egypt was not a livable place anymore and radical change had to take place to improve things. Corruption and poverty were just eating out everyone's life.
DEG: Did you participate in the protests? If so, what was it like to participate in an actual revolution? Describe your experience.
RH: Yes starting the 28th of Feb. I wrote a 25 page document on my experience and feelings, but in a nutshell. The demonstrations gave me the opportunity to live Egypt the way I want to see it. People were so civilized, aware, decent, tolerant, smiling and cooperative, it was the best time of my life. Even though we had so many different sectors of the society participating, we all found one ground and one objective and nothing else mattered.
DEG: Did you use any social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, cell phones) to communicate about/debate events in Egypt during the revolution?
RH: Yes. All.
DEG: Did the Muslim Brotherhood play any role during the revolution? What are you predictions of their future political role?
RH: The beauty of this revolution is that it was purely national, with all sects participating equally. So, NO, MBs were not playing any special role in this revolution. You had AUC [The American University in Cairo] graduates, along with [illiterate people], all joining forces to live. Even when one of the parties would try to take a mike and start preaching, [people] would snap at them and refuse the [speech] saying: national, national, our revolution is national, not based on sect or on a specific party.
The other beauty is that we discovered the MBs in this revolution. We were as frightened from them as you are now, but after getting a little closer to them, I can say they saved my life on Wednesday the 2nd of Feb when the Regime sent horses and camel and thugs to finish us. They joined the Tahrir square [because] everyone was calling for the world to save us and they helped us organize ourselves and in [consequence] win.
I will never vote for an MB government [because] I am liberal, but I am not terrified anymore. I will join another party to make sure they remain in their right place. This revolution made us get closer as a nation on so many fronts.
DEG: Is there anything you would like to communicate to people who weren't in Egypt during the revolution?
RH: To the Egyptians living abroad, [we] need your support on all fronts: political, economical and moral. There will come a point when we will want you to come back to Egypt to join our reform. We need your expertise.
To the rest of the world: Thanks for those who supported us and spoke highly of our peaceful revolution. Come for tourism to speed up the economy cycle [because] we have so much to worry about and the immediate thing is to ensure all social classes of the 85 Million citizens have enough food for the coming 6 month to a year, which is not the case now.
DEG: What are your major fears and concerns about the current political and social situation in Egypt?
RH: I want Dr. Baradei to be president in order to pursue the revolutionary steps of reform. He is our reflection in a Regime and we are his reflection in the streets, homes and offices. I don’t want a president that will come to dilute the essence of the revolution and turn the reform into another personal agenda.
On [the] social front, like our professor Galal Amin said, it is just matter of time until the Egyptians will adapt to the new Regime where 'trust' is the foundation. Then, the Egyptian good manners and morals will prevail once again.
DEG: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about Egypt's future?
RH: VERY optimistic. It is the only way FORWARD. People died for that cause and we have no option but to make it work for the best of our country.