Thursday,14 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1217, (16 - 22 October 2014)
Thursday,14 December, 2017
Issue 1217, (16 - 22 October 2014)

Ahram Weekly

A controversial wave

A wave of green is sweeping Facebook calling for “peace, equality and justice”, Ahmed Morsy reports, yet the campaign is dogged by accusations

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Al-Ahram Weekly

A week ago, on 9 October, a group of political activists launched a Facebook page named “Green Wave”. It’s apparently a campaign that calls for peace, love, equality, freedom, tolerance and justice among Egyptians. The campaign urged Facebook users to adopt the campaign and change their profile pictures into a green square to spread the word.
 
On Tuesday morning, only five days after its launch, the Green Wave page exceeded 19,000 likes, stirring controversy among the social media users. Though the originator of the page describes it as being “not affiliated to any political orientation or official entity”, the page was not exempted from accusations.
The most noticeable fact is that the majority of the page’s members are young people who participated in both 25 January and 30 June Revolutions. By observing the first members who turned their profiles into green, the campaign is led by several secular revolutionary forces. For example, April 6 Movement members were at the forefront of the campaign. The official Facebook page of the movement, known for being at the forefront of Egypt’s 2011 uprising, was turned to green only hours after the launch of the Green Wave page.
Moreover, two separate parties with different political affiliations suspect the aims of the campaign, seemingly due to the polarisation of society. Those who participated in the 30 June Revolution after refusing to take part in the earlier 25 January Revolution make up the first party (let’s call it P1); they accuse the page of being a secret Muslim Brotherhood (MB) affiliate. The second party (P2), made up largely of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, questions the goals and reasoning of the campaign.
 
P1 believe the campaigns’ calls for tolerance, equality and plurality among Egyptians is a veiled attempt at the reintegration of the MB into political life, pointing to its adoption of the words “Freedom and Justice”, the name of the “political arm of the MB”, as its slogan. “Freedom and Justice, all that remains to be said is that you are MB [members],” one Facebook user posted on the page. “We will not tolerate the  MB,” another said. “Don’t even try, you have been exposed.”
Ironically actual members and supporters of the MB have read “tolerance” as an allusion to forget and forgive what they perceive to be crimes committed against. “We will not tolerate murderer, we will not forget about retribution for the martyrs,” one MB-affiliated Facebook user said.
For his part the page admin has ignored all the accusations, continuing to post the same slogans, apparently aimed at both parties. “The questions, comments and even the accusations of followers prove that we need the ‘Green Wave’ in our lives… the wave of change and dissemination of hope again in our society,” the Green Wave page admin posted. “A severe case of division and polarisation surrounds us all, making the vast majority of citizens deviate from the fundamental humanitarian principles: ‘Right, Justice, Peace’. Egypt needs every one of its children, whatever their political and intellectual convictions, and however different from what is prevalent.”
 
The admin added, “For every unjust person in this country: the Green Wave will break over you. For every oppressed person in this country: the Green Wave will carry you. The Green Wave will soon be on all the Egyptian streets.” It is likely that the page does have a sociopolitical motive. Al-Ahram Weekly has tried to contact the admin to inquire about such purposes — to no avail. “We will announce the aims soon, we regret our inability to respond now.”
 
The slogans have led some page followers to extrapolate that the Green Wave is an attempt to reunite the fragmented revolutionary factions and movements. “Be the Green Wave, announce your support for everyone’s right to life, justice, freedom. Change your profile to green,” wrote author and political commentator Ahdaf Soueif on her Twitter account. Likewise activist Zizo Abdo, a leading member of the April 6 Youth Movement, said it made no sense to attack the campaign before finding out about its goals. “As long as you don’t know what the concept is for,” Abdo said, “why do you distort it? Wait until a later clarification and then express your opinion — so as not to be a disgusting person.”

Other observers believe that the initiative might be a call on President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and the government to release the dozens of activists held for months for violating the unpopular, year-old Protest Law. The Green Wave evidently does have links to the youth groups responsible for printing and pasting pictures of those activists over billboards on the streets, with a caption that read, “They are spending the Eid in prison.”

Various media outlets and channels have commented on the campaign. “The April 6 Movement in collaboration with the Revolutionary Socialists and the terrorists of Muslim Brotherhood are behind the green initiative,” said Ahmed Moussa in his talk show on Sada Al-Balad channel. Moussa warned his viewers against the initiative: “The prohibited April 6 Movement is trying to exploit the initiative to mobilise for demonstrations”. Besides, he warned that the campaign has Iranian roots, citing its reference to the initiative of Mir-Hussein Mousavi, an Iranian reformist politician, who also adopted a Green Wave for the political movement that arose after the 2009 Iranian presidential election, in which protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office.

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