Interview conducted by Ayman El-Sayed.
Salam brother Sphinx, thank you for taking time out to speak to me about this historical moment in Egypt. Can you tell us what the mood is like in Egypt right now, how people are reacting to the first real elections?
As of now you can feel the anticipation and tension awaiting the final results of the presidential elections. During the voting process there were many different reactions, a lot of hope mixed with pessimism and “who cares” attitudes all over Egypt.
How about you, how do you feel about voting for the president of Egypt for the first time?
Too be honest it felt great, being a part of the future of Egypt. Kind of like the first days of being in Tahrir Square during the 18 days. But at the same time, knowing we have to keep a close eye on what’s going on to make sure the elections are truly democratic.
Looking back, did you see this moment occurring?
We all knew this moment would come but being delayed for so long a lot of people were worried. I just keep hope alive and hope for the best… but we all know that Tahrir Square didn’t go anywhere.. so regardless of the outcome if there is any type of foul play… the fight will continue.
SCAF gotta go ASAP… we spent 50 years under military rule and history shows that it didn’t work well for Egypt at all. So the military needs to play its role of protecting the borders and leave the politics to the people.”
If you don’t mind me asking, who did you vote for and why?
Well, Ideally I wanted to vote for Khaled Ali… a candidate right outta Tahrir Square from amongst the people. But unfortunately because he had minimal backing and was relatively new to the people I knew it was a long shot.
So for this election I went for Hamdeen Sabahy, who also was part of the revolution and had been fighting for Egyptian rights since the time of Sadat…. As well as going up against Mubarak’s regime while he was part of the parliament…. So my vote went to him…
What role did Sabahy play in Tahrir during the revolution?
He was right there in Tahrir square with all of us…from the beginning…. As well as what he was doing to oppose the regime way before Jan 25…
Have the revolutionaries joined forces to back one candidate or are there several candidates running who were major participants in the overthrow of Mubarak?
This is where things get a little mixed up… a lot of revolutionaries protested the elections by not voting because of SCAF’s involvement… which might just hurt Sabahy in the end… because I’m sure they would have given their voice to him… even though I understand where they are coming from… I don’t agree with the protest of the elections because they took action without actually seeing what would happen… I would have preferred to give this process the benefit of the doubt and if things still appeared fishy…. That’s when we continue the fight…
Too be honest it felt great, being a part of the future of Egypt. Kind of like the first days of being in Tahrir Square during the 18 days. But at the same time, knowing we have to keep a close eye on what’s going on to make sure the elections are truly democratic.”
What are your thoughts on some of the candidates like Ahmed Shafik and Amr Moussa who were affiliated with the Hosni Mubarak regime and had close ties to him? If one of them wins is that a betrayal of the revolution in your opinion?
Ahmed Shafik is one of the biggest hypocrites on earth.. first claiming the revolution was nothing… then being all about it… and if he wins… its just gonna be Mubarak part 2… and be the biggest betrayal of the revolution…as for Amr Mousa, a lot of people were on the fence about him… but I think he would be just as bad for Egypt…
Also these same two candidates refused to disclose their campaign financing, is that problematic to you, why do you think they refused?
A lot of people say they were funded by the wives of the previous regime… hso maybe that’s why
There are accusations that the Egyptian Military Council backs Shafik and has protected him while allowing attacks on revolutionary candidates and their supporters, how far can these elections go in addressing the issue of military control, will the military council really allow a revolutionary candidate to become president, are they setting the stage for one of their candidates to win by not investigating the funding of the campaigns and not enforcing the law on how much a candidate can spend in advertisement?
Well Shafik is one them… he’s an Army man, so of course they’re going to back him. As for allowing a revolutionary candidate to win, SCAF has no choice in the matter. Because if they try to stop it the revolution is going to blow up in their face…
If one of these candidates wins do you believe people will hit the streets again?
In a second…
We spoke about the regime affiliates but what about the Muslim Brotherhood, their candidate Mohamed Mursi has also spent a tremendous amount of money on advertising without disclosing where the money is coming from, do you believe they have made a deal with the Military Council and are working with them? They did back the amendment of article 28 of the constitution which bans appeals against decisions made by the Supreme Election Commission, why do you think a group so repressed by the former regime would back the military council and the amendment?
Because I feel the brotherhood is and has always played their part for the old regime… So I definitely believe they are still doing so for SCAF at the moment. People have already seen how corrupt they are from their role in parliament. I just hope people don’t fall back to sleep.
Pressure needs to always be put on the government as they are supposed to work FOR the people… so we always gotta make sure that they know we’re watching closely and that in a second what happened to Mubarak can at anytime happen to them.”
What do the Muslim Brotherhood want? Do they want what is truly good for Egypt or do they just want power and control? It seems like they have compromised with the former regime for little gains and small reforms in exchange for sharing power with the military. Is the military using the Muslim Brotherhood to remain in power and sabotage the revolution?
From my own point of view, I personally don’t believe they want what’s best for Egypt as much as they want what’s best for the brotherhood.
From the time they entered parliament they are showing more and more their hunger for power and not to work for a better Egypt… they truly are hijacking the revolution…
Regardless of the election results, what do you think should happen afterwards? Should Egyptians continue to apply pressure on the Military Council or whichever government gets elected or should people mobilize for the next elections to get a better candidate in?
Pressure need to always be put on the government as they are supposed to work FOR the people… so we always gotta make sure that they know we’re watching closely and that in a second what happened to Mubarak can at anytime happen to them. And at the same time preparing the better candidate for the next elections.
During Mubarak, Egyptians abroad were not allowed to vote since it was presumably harder for him to control them and the Military Council wanted the same until a judicial ruling granted the right to vote. Now the Military Council is using bureaucratic measures to prevent most Egyptians abroad from voting if they do not have national identity cards as opposed to a passport which is enough to prove the identity of a voter. As a result only 600,000 out of the 9 million Egyptians abroad will be able to vote. Why is the council so adamant about preventing them from exercising their right to vote?
Well, being once an Egyptian living abroad myself, I feel they were afraid that the Egyptians abroad would be more revolutionary and vote for a revolutionary candidate. So I think that played a major role in their decision. But they can try all they want… at the end of the day if we gotta do it again we are all prepared to hit the streets.
So for this election I went for Hamdeen Sabahy, who also was part of the revolution and had been fighting for Egyptian rights since the time of Sadat…. As well going up against Mubarak’s regime while he was part of the parliament…. So my vote went to him…”
Even if these elections are not perfect do you believe they are a giant step forward and a victory for the revolution?
Yes I do, because it educates the people that never saw what democracy can look like. And that’s a huge problem in Egypt, the lack of education. Which definitely has gotta be one of the first things we must work on as Egyptians to truly move forward with the revolution. Poverty and education…
Will change truly come about in Egypt as long as the military council rules, will Egypt be like Turkey where elections happen and Islamic parties may win but instead of the people and judiciary, the military has ultimate control?
I don’t think so…SCAF gotta go ASAP… we spent 50 years under military rule and history shows that it didn’t work well for Egypt at all. So Military need to play its role of protecting the borders and leave the politics to the people.
What issues do Egyptians want addressed and are immediately concerned with?
It’s a Combination… Economy, Education, Foreign policy, and definitely corruption… But amongst the majority of Egyptians the #1 issue is the ECONOMY…..
You and your group Arabian Knightz made a lot of songs during the revolution about the revolution, what are you guys working on now, any new releases coming out soon, you guys making any songs about the elections?
We got a few projects cooking at the moment.. so stay tuned for some new music coming soon. Also the release of the “Uknighted State of Arabia” Album coming soon.
Where can people check out your music and videos?
Music and Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/arabianknightztv?feature=results_main
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ARABIANKNIGHTZ.AK
Thank you brother Sphinx, congratulations on this historic vote, I’m so happy to see my Egyptian brothers and sisters standing up and exercising their rights, you are making us all proud. Do you have any last words for our readers?
This is only the beginning for Egypt and the rest of Arabia… We all gotta keep the revolution alive…Whats happening in Egypt now is only a stepping stone to what can really happen in the region…