Paradoxical Truths of an Isolationist Empire

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In the photograph, I’m wearing a gas mask and 3D glasses that I knew, if it came down to it, would not protect my eyes from the police’s buckshot. My mother is next to me, we’re riding the elevator in her building, going down to Tahrir. The police had attacked a protest and, back then, when the police attacked – everyone went out to fight.

I posted the photo on Flickr as a joke. A few days later it reappeared on a Facebook album, along with dozens of other pictures of friends and activists collected from around the internet. Look at the spies and collaborators trying to burn down our country, screamed the page. Look, they have full plates of food while they claim to be working for the poor. Look, they drink beers when they claim to be Muslims. Look, this traitor and his mother are wearing Palestinian scarves, proof they’re working for Hamas. Friends flicked through the album and the comments and we laughed at them. We were the victorious Egyptian revolution and these were the fringe crackpots watching from their computers at home, alone, at night.

Almost exactly five years later, I am sitting on my computer in my apartment in Brooklyn, the revolution long defeated, alone and falling deeper into the online tunnels of the triumphant alt right.

Look, these anti-Trump protests are planned, they have scheduled paid events all the way through to inauguration. Obama’s going to declare Martial Law. Look, anti-Trump demonstrations are actually Democrat Party rallies…

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