On Monday evening, as millions of Egyptians filled the streets around the presidential palace in Cairo, the atmosphere could almost be described as electric; countless voices chanted for President Mohamed Morsi to go and, as the nation anticipates the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood, a band entertained the masses with live music.
Cairokee, a popular Egyptian band, performed a live concert for the protesters. Invited by the organizers of the demonstration, the band played songs of revolution and national pride, bringing an almost festive atmosphere to the event. Cairokee lead singer, Amir Eid, told the newspaper Daily News Egypt “The situation is getting worse and the people can no longer accept it. Everyone wants to express himself, this is how they and we chose to do it, and I think that is the beginning of democracy.”
The crowd responded enthusiastically; singing along with songs which had lyrics such as “we are the people… and our path is right,” and “you say ‘justice,’ and they call you a betrayer.” The band played five songs; one of which appeared to address the Muslim Brotherhood directly: “And suddenly they are against us, when they were standing by us and sleeping next to us…why don’t you come see with your own eyes those in the street, I swear we are Egyptians.”
On Monday, the Egyptian military delivered an ultimatum to Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi, giving him 48 hours to acknowledge the will of the Egyptian people, or face a military takeover. The millions of protesters seemed encouraged by the announcement; realizing that their armed forces were with them. Since that time, police and soldiers have joined the demonstrations. Egyptian security forces has practically cordoned off Tahrir square to protect the demonstrators from attack by pro-government Islamists. It seems likely that the Muslim Brotherhood and its sympathizers are on a deadly collision course with the military; a clash that many Egyptians appear to relish.
President Morsi delivered a rebuttal to the demands of the military, insisting that he is the legitimate head of state and refusing to step down. In a response Tuesday, The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces posted a statement on its official Facebook page which said: “We swear to God that we will sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool.” A number of casualties have now been reported from skirmishes between Morsi supporters and those who are demanding his ouster. Muslim Brotherhood offices across the country have been attacked; some of them burnt down.
As the tension builds and much of Egypt anticipates the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi, there is almost a sense of excitement and celebration in the air. One of the witnesses to Monday night’s concert, protester Mohamed Farahat, said “The performance was great and very relevant to what we are going through. This amount of positive energy and amazing vibe makes me wish we would have a revolution every day.”
It seems unlikely that Morsi will still be the President of Egypt by the end of the day. Should that, in fact, turn out to be the case, Egyptians may be treated to a celebratory concert by Cairokee.
Graham J Noble