Won or lost?
Hitchcock himself would have been proud of such a tense and tingling scene. Spellbinding and chilling suspense filled the hearts of all Egyptians as they awaited the results of their first, free elections. Whichever side you were on, hearts were leaping into one's mouth, blood was boiling into one's veins, as we sat galvanized by our TV sets, as the representative of the Presidential Elections Commission rolled out the figures and results. Each one feared the loss of his or her candidate, and the consequences of one rule or the other, a scene well familiar to most democracies, but new to the voters of Egypt. The intense anticipation ended with the announcement of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate's victory, and fear overtook most of the population, since only 46 per cent went to the voting booths, and only 50 per cent of them voted for the president.
According to psychologists, emotions are divided into two types, negative and positive. Positive emotions are simple, and can be summed up in one word“ê¶.JOY. Love, success, peace, comfort and hope, are emotions that produce degrees of joy. Negative emotions, on the other hand, are complex and deep. Anguish, anxiety, anger, angst, jealousy, impatience, defeat, distress, grief, head a long list of negative emotions. Hence, fear and joy are man's main emotional forms of expression. Such emotions are not always derived from outside forces. Many emotions are born within us, creations of our own thoughts and illusions.
Are we born with emotions or do we acquire them? Studies of children in the company of animals prove that children at first have no fears, of fire, of heights or even of snarling dogs. Those danger signals reach adults and older children with experience. Fears are ingrained by the elders, and a dog remains a child's best friend until he tries to bite. Fear is therefore a learned emotion, much like love, given that a child returns the love of a caring, nurturing mother and not necessarily an absent birth mother.
By all measures, fear is a more dominant emotion. It pervades our waking thoughts and our sleeping hours. On a conscious, unconscious or sub-conscious level, we garner fears in every phase of our lives. In his most ecstatic state of delirium a lover's heart is never free of the fear that his love may be lost. Consider the anxiety of the student over an exam, the agony of a businessman over the stock-market, the depression of the diseased over the prognosis, the dread of old age by a movie-star, etc. etc. etc.!
Controlled fears do not interfere with our daily functions or social adjustment. When uncontrolled fears overwhelm our lives and our existence, they become phobias. The number of phobias is staggering. Doctors have counted 536 till now, ranging from Ablutophobia, (fear of bathing), to Zoophobia, (fear of animals) and all else in between. Some are downright funny, to non-sufferers, naturally, such as: Allumophobia, (fear of garlic), Bibliophobia, (fear of books), Catastrophobia, (fear of mirrors), Chaetophobia,(fear of hope), Genuphobia, (fear of knees), Elurophobia, (fear of cats), not to mention Kathisophobia, (fear of sitting down) they must lead very tiring lives, and so are we tired of all those phobias, but they are real and destructive to those who must handle or manage them. Fear haunts us throughout our lives. Were we to perform an autopsy of our emotions after death, fear would be the predominant emotion. Sigmund Freud, father of psychology, believed that phobias served as a substitute for other fears experienced during childhood, and repressed in the subconscious.
Much has been said about the symbolic significance of Tahrir or Liberty Square. One outcome, undoubtedly, was the erosion of fear in the hearts of all Egyptians, ot their autocratic ruler, his many cronies and his inefficient and unjust government. Ordinary citizens have always feared authority, even that of an ordinary policeman. To speak our mind without fear of repercussions is an outstanding achievement of our revolution of January 25, 2010. Have these pedestals been destroyed for good? Has religion now replaced authority? Did the youth of Egypt revolt and die, to remove Mubarak, and replace him with the Muslim Brotherhood? Is this the sum of all their efforts, all their fears? Questions abound, quantitatively and qualitatively, throbbing and trembling with fear!
It is hard to believe that the new President is a happy man. The moment of victory is fleeting and what remains is the immensity of his tremendous assignment. Surely the new President like any other is riddled with fear and all its surrogates, stress, anxiety, regret, worry, misgivings, and on and on. Generalities or goodwill, promises or dreams are no longer adequate. The crisis is real, the stumbling blocks are many and this is the President's supreme moment to prove his worth. One view point worth noting is that this President does not enjoy any popularity and his only introduction will be his ability and not his likability. Our judgement remains conditional to his actions. Immediate action is required in numerous venues in order to alleviate some of the fears eating away at the core of the Egyptian populace.
The train has left the station. The rails are crooked and rusty. Let us hope the conductor has the power and skill, with no strings attached, to overcome the obstacles on the road ahead. Until then, our voices, quivering with fear, cannot in good conscience, cheer the winner.
The thing I fear most, is fear.
-- Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)