Egypt’s ruler fears the words “Don’t worry, you’re not alone”
Participants in the #YouAreNotAlone campaign in Eqypt hope their movement can grow into something as big and broad as the Arab Spring protests that spread not just throughout Egypt but across the Middle East in 2011. Here protesters during the Arab Spring in Aden called for the restoration of South Yemen. | AIMahra/Wikipedia (CC)

A national protest campaign is underway against the Egyptian dictatorship. Called “Don’t Worry, You’re Not Alone,” it is a protest against General Abdelfattah Al-Sisi and his military coup government. It was launched by Moutazz Matar on the Egyptian Turkey-based Al-Sharq TV channel who selected February 27 as the day to activate the campaign.

That campaign aims to ensure opponents of the dictatorship that they are not a minority facing impossible odds.

Responding to the call, many Egyptians – either residents or abroad- have been joining the campaign every day. The numbers using #Don’t worry, you’re not alone” grow daily.

In his daily TV talk show, Matar presents hundreds of new participations from inside and outside Egypt. Success that the campaign achieved so far requires answers to some questions regarding its reasons, success, significations, expected outcomes, and the military coup ruling regime’s reactions.

Since Matar’s anti-coup campaign started, its #“Don’t worry, you’re not alone” has ranked high on social media because of the large number of participants. That protest techniques supporters use include but are not limited to mass campaigns of cutting off house lights at night, thousands blowing whistles and banging utensils, writing the hashtag on paper currency and on public buildings, refraining from paying utilities bills, launching balloons with the hashtag written on them and many other things.

There are numeroius reasons behind the success the campaign has achieved. The internal overall miserable situation that Egypt has been experiencing since the 2013 military coup is a primary cause. As economic and living circumstances have been turning from bad to worse, human rights violations and brutal force have increased, repression and silencing of the opposition grow, national wealth resources continue to be wasted – putting national security at high risk.

External relationships and foreign policy have also fueled the protest. This included bowing to the interests of right-wing Arab countries like Saudi Arabia in terms of; serving foreign powers when that service hurts Egypt, and abdicating some Egyptian lands, maritime borders, territorial water including natural gas fields.

Another concern of the protesters is the government’s willingness to ignore military provocations by Israel especially attacks on Egypt by Israel in the Sinai penninsula.

The protest campaign has grabbed the attention of international human rights and media organizations. Some of them have even speculated that it could become a second wave of the Egyptian revolution of January, 2011 and a revival of the Arab Spring. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Arabic issued a report in this regard, describing the campaign as an “uprising against Sisi.”

After the failure of their attempts to under-estimate the campaign, the military coup authorities in Egypt reacted by criticizing both the campaign itself and the BBC. Egypt’s State Information Service issued a statement accusing the BBC of breaching the most basic codes of conduct, fabricating events that never took place, and promoting the “lies” of the Muslim Brotherhood. te Also it urged all Egyptian officials and intellectuals to boycott the BBC until the network apologizes. In addition, the coup media personnel accused BBC of being unprofessional, and demanded a shutdown of the BBC office in Cairo. As well as, they accused Matar and the campaign participants of being betrayers and agents of the Muslim Brotherhood and other foreign countries. They also described the campaign as defamatory and called it a threat to and  conspiracy against Egypt.

“Don’t worry, you’re not alone” is just a set of words, but it obviously has scared the military coup authorities in Egypt. It reflects the deep suffering among the Egyptian people that has marked life under the military coupregime. It indicates that the revolution against tyranny and oppression is ongoing even if it is slower and more gradual than the revolution of January, 2011. Also, the large participation means that the majority of Egyptian people still struggle to achieve the 2011 revolution demands for good living, freedom, social justice, and human dignity. In addition, it proves the Egyptians’ capacity and ability to again break the fear barrier as they did back in 2011.

The large participation in “Don’t worry, you’re not alone” campaign proves that the military regime in Egypt doesn’t have the legitimacy it claims to have. It shows how weak that regime is despite the brutal force it uses against its own people. That set of words scares the regime because people gather around those words. The regime knows there is always the possibility that civil disobedience can be transformed into a revolutionary wave that might terminate the regime itself.


Aboulfotouh Kandil
Aboulfotouh Kandil

Aboulfotouh Kandil is a freelance writer on socio-political issues and human rights with a main focus on the Middle East.