An Egyptian man experienced a vague sense of déjà vu while out protesting in support of the army last Friday. Mohamed al-Nassi, 64 from Cairo, felt the yet unexplained sensation when he was at Tahrir Square carrying a large poster of army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
“I was chanting one of the approved slogans that the army distributed to us before the protest started, when I suddenly felt I have been in this situation before but I couldn’t quite place it. It was baffling.”
Political analysts that we spoke to said that there was absolutely nothing in Egypt’s history resembling this great moment of democratic transition and popular support for al-Sisi’s ‘War on Terrorism’. “There is a 99.99% support for this revolution; it’s a far cry from the old days of dictatorship and authoritarianism. There is really no political explanation for what Mohamed experienced,” said T. Friedman, a long-time observer of Arab politics.
Egyptian media was concerned by this development, which has shattered the image of universal consensus and support for the revolution among the Egyptian people. Many commentators argued that Mohamed’s patriotic sentiments were weakened because he lived in Saudi Arabia for over a decade. A well-known columnist advised him not to take any holidays and watch Egyptian state media only from now on.
A spokesman for the US State Department declined to discuss the matter: “We can’t comment on individual cases, but we are keeping a close eye on the situation. We don’t have any explanation for what happened at the moment.”
“I was looking at the people around me carrying posters of General al-Sisi, God protect him, dressed in his military uniform and exuding self-confidence and assertiveness, and suddenly I had that terrible feeling. It’s the work of Satan.”
Mohamed’s employer has generously given him time off to recuperate, and several clerics and healers have offered their services to exorcise the demons that planted this idea in his head. Prayers were being offered for Mohamed across Egypt today. The whole nation is watching how this unsavoury moment of discord in the midst of revolution will play out.