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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Ahmed Samih

Interviewed January 5, 2011

I started to talk to the people who I have the feeling that they´re sharing my same point of view. Which is this is not supposed to be possible. We are normal human. We need to live in a normal life with dignity. And we need to understand that we have rights as humans. And these rights supposed to be implemented. Not by the system only, by us also.

But the whole environment should accept the concept of rights, easily. So I started a small group called the Free Youth Organization. That stand for three years. And in this group, I had no skills. No– I had my personal natural skills, but I had no management skills. No strategic skills. And then, day by day was trial and error. I start to learn more and more– how to figure things and how to organization things and people. And then next level, I joined an opposition political party. Opposition political party, which is one of the biggest opposition parties.

I start to be more and more involved in this party in specifically the student movement. I created– I been looking to the system of the party. The party actually, opposition party in Egypt means a failure. Not successful thing. So I been looking to the system inside the party. And why the young people is– why the young people, why normal Egyptians are there but not participating with us. And I found out that people are scared or they don´t see any kind of motivation. Because the political parties at that time have nothing to do. They are group of people who have the same political views, but not active.

The previous regime created an environment of not trusting politicians. Through 30 years of Mubarak running the country, a massive character assassinations attacks by media. Independent media and national media been done against anybody Mubarak thought or his politic– or his political consultant thought or his security leaders thought, he´s a threat. From inside the regime or from outside the regime. From inside the organizations, like military, like ministers, like prime ministers, or anybody from outside the regime.

Opposition thinkers, writers, they been all attacked by this huge media tool. And I think the most important thing Mubarak succeeded is to kill the hope of having a successor of him. That was very, very good technique from them. And that was of one of the things we suffering from right now. The weaknesses of the opposition was a daily policy being made in the Egyptian security organizations. Keep monitoring people closely, even in their own private lives. Which is illegal, by the way. But been happened. Was one of the main tools to make sure that everyone have something in his file condemned him and sabotaged his character in front of the people.

So I start a very small activity. I called it Knowledge Club. And to participate in the Knowledge Club, you would not be member in the party. The Knowledge Club is about exchange knowledge. I understand very early that information and knowledge is very, very important to your– to your act. And very, very important to understand and figure out what´s going on. And also to have a vision for the future. So the knowledge club was about every week.

Every week some one of us have a specific knowledge and a specific thing. However, this thing is important to him, not to us. He have to come out and tell us some of his knowledge. So in one week, you find somebody telling us about cooking. And in one week you find someone tell us about his novel. Or somebody tell us his own poetry. But this small circle of people is creating their own knowledge together, knowing each other more and more. And able to work in a very good way. And I made something very strange for everyone.

In Egypt we have the holidays and Friday and Saturday. So our Thursday night is like Saturday night here. So it´s known that everybody going out on Thursday night. And that was a time I hold the Knowledge Club. If you have enough loyalty to the concept and love– enough loyalty to the change course, you will forget about your cinema movie with your friends and come to the Knowledge Club. That was some kind of fee you paying. It´s– you pay part of your personal entertainment or personal commitment to come for your country.

The second rule was you cannot come to the Knowledge Club by hearing. You have to receive an invitation. Invitation from a member who has been declared as a member. So every member have the right to bring only one person extra in each meeting. The Knowledge Club people right now is generation who´s doing excellent job in different organizations. Journalism, human rights organization, think tanks. This generation is the generation hoping– very early in Tahrir Square. And calling Mubarak to come down.