As published in September’s issue of Campus magazine (http://issuu.com/campusmagazine/docs/digital_issue_sep_2012)
March 2011, the time when we believed an oppressive regime could be toppled in 18 days, was also the time we believed that the referendum on the constitution would be the happy ending to our Tahrirrian struggle. Consequently, a bunch of the “EDUCATED” ones decided to go and engage the public at the poll stations in hopes of spreading awareness.
We went to one of the poll stations to talk with the people and see what their votes would be, in what felt like the last battle.
A group of three men in shirts and pants look like the majority of the Egyptian people; your average Moe, the man you will see sweating a line to get gas, bread, official documents or even a train ticket, the same Moe who you would find floating over masses of people in a public bus. The one you always complain about not using deodorant … yes, that’s him.
For some reason he came and told me “you look like someone who would vote No”, to which I replied “and you look like someone who would vote yes”, with an exchange of glances, a long talk was in the making.
Me: so why did you choose “yes”?
Moe: Because the sheikh in our mosque told us that “No” stands for El Baradei and his acquaintances and they are evil anti-Islam deviants who come from a country called Libralia in Europe and they want to spread homosexuality and worshipping Ants…
Me: Ants ……what???!! ( in what felt like a cold shower in one of those sweat till you vanish power cut days)
Moe: I am not against people worshipping what they want except for the ants, because they are too tiny and bowing to them would be an insult to the human mind.
Me: Your sheikh is an insult to human kind, I thought to myself. Ok, but how would amending a preexistent constitution would help with that?
Moe: Because of the second article. I hope they turn Egypt to an Islamic state so that we won’t have ants’ worshippers and homosexuals.
Me: This has nothing to do with that, give me examples of Islamic countries that do not have homosexuals or ant worshippers in their Land, how about Saudi Arabia, Iran? Are you a Muslim because you believe in Islam or because of the second article?
Moe: They do have them but not in public. Are you a Muslim?
Me: you tell me
Moe: So that we spread his word and talk people into good deeds
Me: Agreed, but if it is an Islamic country where people are coerced into religion and cannot say otherwise or else would be punished, who would you talk to?
For example, now that you know I am a Muslim, if I came and proposed to your daughter you might give her to me only to find out years later that I’m deep down an ant worshipper and your grandchildren have consequently become ant worshippers. What would you do then?
Moe (his face starting converging into what seemed to be the modern day kraken look): Dear God, that would be a disaster.
Me: See. But if we lived in a country where every citizen gets to be himself, you would know who is Muslim and who is not, and you would be able to go to the Ants alter or house of worship, use your logic to talk people into Islam and once they become Muslims you will get tons of Thawab and fulfill God’s orders.
Moe: yes but the sheikh told us that if we said No, those liberals will set some law where I will have to be homosexual,. ( ” Yerdeek anot 3ala zemeely ya basha”.Pointing at a specific zemeel of his.)
Me: No, this could never happen, it is not how things work, a secular nation is where you get to do what/whoever you want without coercion into anything as long as you are not harming someone else.
Moe: Then it is better to say No, I guess.
Fifteen months later, I have no idea what did he chose, I don’t know how he told that story to his sheikh who probably told him I am one of them, the deviant liberals. However I can see him celebrating Morsi’s win, I see him on the street during major events, decisions and ideological fights. I visualize him frowning upon reading a list of demands we have written about freedom of speech and belief because he is afraid that he might be forced to have sex with his coworker as per his sheikh in the nearby mosque.
Meanwhile we, “the deviant liberals”, are very busy tweeting.