Thursday, February 17, 2011

Unordered Notes on Jan25

I am one of those people who were never used to writing their notes and memories in notebooks. My handwriting is a good proof on how I never wrote memories before having a blog. But during the Egyptian revolution, and after the regime turned the internet off, I found myself reaching out for my notebook and pen and started taking notes of the events taking place around me and thoughts taking place in my mind. And here I am writing those random memories before the notebook gets lost.

Mubarak Thugs

On the "Friday of Rage", the police forces ran away, leaving the whole country unsecured. Later on we heard that many building were on fire, and after that many prisoners escaped from their prisons. Up till now, there are two scenarios for what happened. The first one states that when the policemen were defeated in front of the protesters, they decided to take revenge from the whole country by doing all this. This scenario even goes further by saying that the police helped the prisoners to run away in order to attack people. It's also said that it's a part of Mubarak's plan to give everyone choice between chaos and order, between his rule and his violence! The second scenario, which is the policemen's favourite scenario by the way, says that the police forces where outnumbered by the Egyptian citizens, and millions of people all over the country started attacking them, burning police stations, and breaking into jails to liberate the prisoners there. But the question is, if this scenario is true, isn't it suspicious that all of the Egyptian people were against the police forces? Doesn't this make us wonder if the police brutality all over those years was to be blamed here!?

On Friday, people were chanting "we want to topple the regime", but later on at night, and when everyone was expecting Mubarak to step down, they experienced his roller coaster when he said that instead of stepping down, he will change the prime minister! The funny thing is that in the next day, I heard chants like "we want to topple the president", as if he is really too stupid to understand what they meant by their previous chant.

NDP Tools

After thousands of prisoners escaped from their jails all over Egypt, and there were no policemen to be relied on for people's security, the TV started asking people to get down to the streets and secure their own homes. Some people went to the streets with their guns, some others took knives with them, and I went their with a broom in my hand. We stood there all the night, waiting for army forces to be deployed in our district in order to secure it. After a couple of nights and a series of fake alarms and few gun shots here and there, a tank approached us. I then found myself experiencing one of Gabriel García Márquez' magical realism where a tank was just passing by my home in the empty streets that used to be full of cars all day long the previous day, and my first reaction to seeing the tank was saluting them with the broom in my hand.

During the revolution the Egyptian state owned TV, kept on wondering why there are many foreigners in Tahrir square. They started to claim that those are traitors who are here to topple the Egyptian patriot regime! They even went further by claiming that they are bribing people with KFC meals in order to keep on demonstrating. It's one of the common tricks usually used by dictators where they claim that they are the only patriots there and all those opposing to them are traitors. It's their own way to get people's sympathy. Anyway, an Egyptian thinker called "Ammar Ali Hassan" commented on the presence of many foreigners in the square and the real reason behind it. On one hand, put yourself in their shoes, imagine yourself in a country where there is a revolution taking place there, won't you be eager to witness it!? Also, the idea of revolutions itself is somehow a romantic idea for them. In the democratic world of today, you have many other means to topple a regime such as votes, and polling stations. And they have no chance to witness a revolution except in a historic Film about Che Guevara, or in one of the Middle Eastern countries.

Youth and old men

During the revolution they insisted in the media outlets to give it names like "Youth Revolution" or "Facebook Revolution". But the people in Tahrir square were from all ages, and sure many of them are Facebook users, however I am sure many many others never heard of Facebook or the internet. May be because it started on Facebook, and it's believed to be the first revolution in history to be arranged by Facebook events. But still, the revolution survived in its early days when there was no internet in the whole country. I sure many people agree with me on this, and here is El-Baradie saying the same thing in one of his tweets, "Do not paint this as a *youth* revolution. Youth were the spark but all Egyptians embraced it and turned it into a glowing fire".
Also during the revolution - and even now after Mubarak is gone - the media outlets are trying to figure out who are the leaders of the revolution. I am speaking for myself here, but I am sure that many other as well have never met most of those people who appear on TV every now and then under the name, "the representatives of the Egyptian youth in Tahrir square". Sure some people like Wael Ghonim planned for demonstrations on the 25th of January, and I think we all should be thankful to them, but even Wael himself refused to be called a leader. The calls for the revolution were spread like a real chain reaction, and it in such kind of revolution it is a real waste of time to try to find leaders and representatives.

Different people had different roles in Jan25 revolution. Some people helped in picking the timing for starting the demonstrations, some others where in the front lines, some were arrested, some lost their eyes dies to the police rubber bullets, and hundreds were even dead. Some people slept in the streets for days in Tahrir square, and some even came out with the revolution's twitter hashtag, #Jan25. And if I am to compare myself to all those people, my role was the least significant role in all those. I tried my best to be in Tahrir square almost every day, as I hated to see the square empty for a single day, and also during the revolution, Tahrir square was the only place that made me feel I am in the Egypt I like. Yet, I'll always be proud to be one of the millions who participated in toppling the regime.

Related Posts:
Mubarak's Roller Coaster,
No More Confusion,

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