Voices of Egypt II: Karim of the Hip-Hop Group Arabian Knightz Speaks on Revolution

Jun 9, 2011

By Shadi Rahimi

Last month War Times correspondent Shadi Rahimi spent ten days in Egypt. This is the second of a series of videos she made about what she saw and heard there. You can see first one here.

Here's what Shadi says about the interview:

While in Egypt I talked to Karim Adel Eissa (a.k.a. Rush) of the Egyptian hip-hop group Arabian Knightz about his thoughts on the Revolution and the growing movement that is Arab hip-hop. He spoke about the oppressive rule of former Hosni Mubarak and the hopes of Egyptians for a democratic government once elections are held in the fall.

Currently the Egyptian military is the de facto ruling party. But although I would see soldiers during the military curfew from 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. - when they enforced post-revolution checkpoints - they were not a huge presence on the streets of Cairo. Some Egyptians at the house party where I interviewed Karim said the military are there to "protect the police from the people." They weren’t joking. Since the Revolution, the role of police seems to have shifted from brutal enforcement to impotent traffic guards. It's a dramatic shift from the environment of fear that Karim speaks about in this video, within which 28-year-old Khaled Said was brutally beaten to death by Egyptian police. His death was among the catalysts that fueled the uprisings in January.

Despite what I keep reading about the euphoria of the revolution fading, and the reality of trying to construct a government under the temporary rule of a military that injured, tortured and killed Egyptians, most Egyptians I spoke to took pride in the fact that people around the world look to them for inspiration. Through peaceful means, a generation took back its country. As I walked the streets, I saw people going about their daily lives without the physical presence of police or military to enforce laws. There was no chaos, there was no broken infrastructure. True, the economy has taken a hit, and some people may have worries about public safety. But as Karim explained to me, “We are civilized. We rule ourselves. People don’t know about our civilization, our history. We are a peaceful people. We don’t need military or police. After the French Revolution there was turmoil for years. We went back to normal after two days.”

As for what he hopes for the future, Karim said: "What we want for our next president is we don’t want Egypt to be a slave for America anymore… We’re not going to let anybody ruin what we went down ready to die for. No ‘first world’ machine is gonna do that to us.’ We already gave the machine a black eye…The spirit of Tahrir is going worldwide.”

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the entire War Times project

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