By Ezra Silk
OAKLAND — At a rally on Tuesday in solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution, Shimaa Helmy conducted a teach-in with a few dozen local Occupiers. She was asked what the Egyptian Revolutionaries could learn from Occupy and vice versa. Here is her answer:
I can start with what we should learn from you, is we need to be a little bit organized. We’re not really organized at all. We’re so disorganized. We made a lot of mistakes. I mean, to be honest I have to mention this — spontaneous, like being spontaneous and lacking leadership actually drove us to a lot of mistakes. Sometimes they would make a trap for us — and some informants would come and bring people to an embassy, for example, like the Ministry of Defense, or wherever, and then they would come crack down on us and detain us. Just because we don’t have leaders, people are just like, you know, deciding on the ground at the same time. You could just split and go to wherever you want, and then people are getting killed. So we really need to be much more organized and coordinated.
What I want Occupy to learn from Egypt is how all the cities of the country are connected together. When there’s something happening in Tahrir Square, even if we don’t really have much communication, but we still try to be together and coordinate as much as we can, so it’s like, something happening in Tahrir there should be something happening in Alexandria…Suez, wherever, at the same time. So when people go down on Fridays, everyone should come down…at the other occupations. When I first came here in November, on November 12, and I was telling you about this day of action at Occupy Wall Street on Nov. 17, nobody knew anything. When I came back to New York, and I talked to people about actions I was part of here in Occupy Oakland, nobody knew anything. And you have Internet, you have all of these facilities, you can actually come in a public space and speak about all of this without fearing being tried in front of military courts, but you’re not coordinating well with each other. As far as I know. I don’t know, but this is what I noticed personally, like my personal experience being at Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland and San Francisco. So, yeah, the closer the occupations get, the stronger they are. And it’s really all about the numbers. Nobody’s gonna defeat you if you have numbers. Try to get the 99 percent and bring them here, because they’re not gonna come on their own.