Last Friday in Egypt people showed up for a "Day of Departure" protest at et-Tahrir Square. But somehow during the day it became unclear just how many of them exactly showed up. Western news organizations did not find it contradictory to concurrently give different figures. Take The New York Times, for example. On its website, the title read, "More than 100,000 rally in Cairo," but in the body of the article is claimed that, "hundreds of thousands packed the capital central's Tahrir Square." With just one click on your keyboard you could get from just over 100,000 in the city of Cairo to hundreds of thousands in just one location. To bring this a little closer to home, this is equivalent to the following: "More than 100,000 people eat pizza in NYC," and then, "Hundred of thousands eat pizza in Times Square." Maybe.
Other news organizations went even farther. The website of the Israeli paper, Ha'aretz, had two titles. One title read, "Millions of Demonstrators in Egypt," and when you clicked on it you got, "Hundreds of Thousands."
The people on the so-called Liberal side of politics want so much to have a sweet and nice world out there, that little facts on the ground do not seem strong enough to stand in the way of the beautiful landscapes they have created in their minds.
Where do they get their grandiose numbers of freedom fighters from? As is usual these days, the source of all true info in the Middle East is Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera Arabic said there were millions, Al-Jazeera English said there were hundreds of thousands.
If you ever looked at the Tahrir Square with your own eyes you would start wondering if those figures were not just figments of the imagination, and you would ask: How could so many people fit in such an area? Not to mention all the bread sellers, fruit sellers, and various carts inside. But who cares? Not the folks of Doha. They are busy day and night drinking coffee, smoking shisha, making up stories, knowing very well that that the good souls of the West are all too thirsty to buy everything they will sell them. Thousands. Hundreds of thousands. Millions. Why not?
The Western media, those good souls, want us so much to believe that Egypt is about to become democratic, and that all of us should support it. In the same breath they also do not neglect to mention all the secular people and the secular political parties in Egypt that deeply beg for our Western support which we must offer it. We must admit, the passions with which the media fights for the cause of Egypt is quite touching. So what if they exaggerate a bit here and there? They work so hard, and care so much, so we buy their stories. Not only them; our politicians do the same. "Here's a thing we have to understand: there's a whole bunch of secular folks in Egypt," President Obama declared on Sunday, adding, "The Egyptian people want freedom." He said, he knows.
Offering our help is more than just playing with numbers, and perhaps we should check the facts before we move on. That is why we must ask: Are the millions of Egyptians as secular as Western governments and media want us to believe?
A little examination of Egyptian society sadly reveals otherwise.
According to the Pew Research Center -- one of the most outstanding organizations in America: apolitical, purely scientific, and beholden to no group --84% of Egyptians believe that people who leave the Muslim faith should receive the death penalty. 77% of them believe that it is fine to cut off the hands of thieves. 82% of Egyptians believe that people who commit adultery should be stoned. This data, if anybody wonders, was not gathered in the year 1810 but in 2010.
With these numbers in hand, the question is: What democracy are we fighting for? What should we expect from elections? Will the West be more content, and our media happier, when thieves lose their hands? Will the atheists of the West be content at the sight of dead ex-Muslims? Will Secretary Clinton be pleased when people are stoned for adultery? And, by the way, none of us knows the exact definition of "adultery. In some countries, being seen with a man not a relative or guardian is adultery. In some countries, being raped is adultery." Is kissing "adultery" too? Maybe.
Speaking of democracy at et-Tahrir Square: Bands of youth were standing at the entrance to the square to make sure that no Hosni Mubarak supporters would "sneak" in. That is called democracy, Egyptian style, and we are supposed to support it. Why? Because, we are told, those who support Mubarak are supporters of torture chambers, which are definitely not democratic. Being democratic means, as we are learning, having the right to stone adulterers, kill converts, and cut limbs. This is what we are fighting for. Join the revolution! Long live democracy!