[Gameela Ismail is an Egyptian politican, TV host, and a leading opposition figure]
Mrs. Gameela Ismail’s speech, that she delivered as representing herself, not as representing her party, at the meeting with U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, in the presence of his accompanying delegation and the U.S. Ambassador, Anne Patterson.
Mister Secretary of State, I saw today, and after thinking about accepting the invitation that was sent to me on a personal level to attend this meeting, and this talk is directed at your delegation of decision makers and directed partially to you, and here I don’t represent the Dostur (Constitution) Party, because it has a president that should have been invited in a proper way, which did not happen.
You are here today Mr. Kerry and with you, like the news reports mention, a big team from those that will hold the responsibility of foreign policy in the future. I am speaking of the future that we are paying the price for today very expensively. A part of this is directed at you Mr. Kerry, but the bigger part is directed at your team. You are now in Egypt at a very complex moment. A moment that we are living. Pain and hope. Dreams and nightmare. Revolution and tyranny. And I will sum up what I would like you to see with us.
Egypt does not need new aids from America. Egypt needs to build a new relationship on new foundations. Not on the same foundations that were built ever since the Nixon visit in 1974.
Our country is not a testing ground. You backed up a semi-military regime in the past and now you are supporting a semi-religious regime. You did all of this so that each regime would play its part that you demand of it. You supported Mubarak till the last breath. And you stood against the dreams of the people of leaving the dungeons of dictatorship. You can deal with our revolution as if it’s just an ‘uprising’, as your statements mention. But for us, it’s a revolution that is still continuing. Our noblest paid their souls, so that we can build a country where we can feel freedom, justice and dignity in it. We did not make a revolution to repaint the presidential palace, or to have your protocol official in your embassy change his phone book.
If Lincoln, that your country celebrates, had settled for buying new clothes for the slaves, and kept slavery, America wouldn't be so proud of its freedom today, nor proud of being a strong country because of its democracy. We, Mr. Kerry, want for our country to be a great nation also. And we do have foundations in our civilization, and a vital force, that make it possible for us to achieve these dreams. We are not at an ‘uprising’. We are at a revolution that still continues in order to build a new relationship between the ruler and the people.
It seems that, in your administration, we want to tailor a democracy small in size for us. And you do not realize that our dreams are much bigger than this size, that makes you look upon us as if we don’t deserve anything but this democracy.
You used to describe Mubarak and his regime as democratic, legitimate and elected. And you are still describing the current regime as well and that it’s legitimate, although it is killing peaceful protestors, and kidnapping and torturing youth activists. This alone puts the regime’s legitimacy at stake, if it has not lost it completely already.
This is a revolution that will teach the world, as Obama, your president, has said. And we want to teach the world and be a model for it. And we will become different than what you see. Your embassy reports see that we do not deserve anything except this amount of democracy. And that this amount is ‘enough’.
On the issue that the current regime is elected and democratic, and that it can be negotiated with, and that the opposition in Egypt is hard and it’s tough to negotiate with, and that it is addicted to boycott. We see that the one you are going to sit with tomorrow is the head of a regime that is killing us on the streets and in squares. You are free in describing our revolution as an ‘uprising’. Or you can deal with the revolution in Egypt like you dealt with the revolutions in Eastern Europe, and that you can integrate it in your care. But we see that our revolution is different. And we are free to describe what you are doing as a support of a regime that is oppressing, committing tyranny, torturing and detaining and even torturing the revolutionaries, in a new edition. And that you have aligned yourself with a power that has for its interest to stop this revolution.
You are contributing now in building the Egyptian version of the Iranian Supreme Guide state. And maybe you don’t care that we would become another Iran. But this is our destiny and the future of our children, who we don’t want to see live in a country ruled by religious or military fascism. And as I said before, you see us as a testing ground.
But this is our country, the place of our dreams. The dreams that were lost by those who wake us up every day on nightmares of our children, being crushed under armed vehicles, and suffocated by your tear gas that you have sent to your friends in Cairo. You imagine that you’re a major power that can make ‘a sweet drink out of fish’ as our old saying goes. And that out of a Pharaoh and a tyrant, you can make a democratic president, because he fulfills the role that is asked of him.
But we, Mr. Minister, we do not attend costume parties anymore. And we view this regime as a “guardianship and custody” that you only support because it executes your interests. And this is what we reject in order to have a future where we can achieve happiness. This is our message for you and for those who will make the future.
And lastly, we ask you to do “nothing” for us. Just stop on doing anything in our country and stop supporting tyranny and fascism, and leave us to complete our revolution and achieve our dreams. Our dreams that will not stop at your humble perceptions of us and our future.