Egypt Revolts: Day Nine and I'm Back to Protesting

Black Wednesday, The Camel Battle February 2nd, 2011

Today was a black day, full of blood, full of loss. Today was one bad bad day for the revolutionaries Today, Egypt went back to the time when people fought on the backs of horses, using swords and arrows. Today was a disgrace. It all started because of Mubarak's speech. The speech that made many people "forgive" him. I went to Tahrir today, after I spent a night full of regret for falling for rumors and not going yesterday. I'll start from the very beginning so I don't forget anything.

The day has started with thousands still protesting in the squares of Egypt. Of course the numbers looked very few after yesterday's millions. There were news about pro-Mubarak demonstrations (very few numbers) all over the country and are getting close to the pro-democracy sit-ins. Of course, state TV showed these demonstrators and said that these are the real Egyptians who love their president. I was really hoping this doesn't turn into a fight!

Obama has given a speech yesterday that is the strongest he’s given since the start of the revolution. He said that rulers are chosen by their people and if one feels that his people want him out then he should step down. He also said that an orderly and peaceful transition should start now. I don't even care what he says; Obama administration has proved that it's on the regime's side and will always be, and we don't even care.


After Mubarak's speech yesterday, some people decided to forgive him and accept that he stays until September, that's why the numbers dramatically decreased today. I don't understand these people though, if they can forgive death then they're weird, but if they don't mind that Mubarak stays and oppress everyone ten times more than he used to to stop us from talking? This I have no explanation for.


As the day went on, Mubarak's demonstrators, and thugs, tried to get into Tahrir square. But nothing happened except after I went there, and until right before I left. I went today even though I knew it will be dangerous. WE went today, my mother, father and I, (yes I have revolutionary parents that anyone would be so lucky to even know). We were scared, worried, but we couldn't stay at home any longer. We couldn't just sit and watch anymore. I kept thinking what could be worse than Rage Friday, I kept telling myself that the army is there to protect us, but I was wrong. Because what happened today was more than anyone would think. I don't know if it was worse than Rage Friday, but I know that what happened today was the most barbarian act of the 21st century, and it happened to the most civilized, peaceful revolution in all history.


We left home at 11:30, moments after the internet came back. We took a taxi from Heliopolis and it dropped us off on 6th of October bridge. The driver was a very nice man, he got really worried when we told him we were going to Tahrir. He himself wanted everything to go back to normal, he said that it might be time to stop protesting, forgive Mubarak, and let life go on. He was a very kind man, he knew that Mubarak should go, but was worried about the situation and was feeling that this might turn into a civil war.


When we left the taxi on the bridge, and went to Abd El Moneim Reyad square.The bridge's exit was blocked with a huge tank, but the soldiers allowed us to get through. We've seen many small pro Mubarak demonstrations, they were very near Tahrir. On our way there, the streets were very busy, there were many talks and fights. NDP people were everywhere talking people into leaving; some talked with them, others ignored them, and a few others turned it into fights. Streets weren't safe, it was worrying, it  felt that Tahrir might turn into a huge fight instead of a civilized revolution.


When we finally reached Tahrir, our IDs were checked by army soldiers, then by civilians. We were searched, to make sure we're free of any weapons, then we were finally allowed in. Inside, was a different story, a different world, different people. Inside, people were powerful, their power was in their resilience, in their belief. Inside, people were smiling at each other, greeting each other, respecting each other. The crowds were different from those we saw in Rage Friday's protest. These people came from all classes, all types, all backgrounds, all ages, and both sexes. I expected sexual harassment, I expected pickpocketing, I expected many things, even after what I saw on TV yesterday. Being there was different, being at the gates made me expect all sorts of things. Being inside made me know that I'm in the safest place on Earth, I felt confident that nothing could ever happen to me in that place, and if anything did happen, then there would be a lot to protect me.

The minute we got in, we met some of my father's friends (it's a wonder how can one meet people they know by complete coincidence with at least 300,000 people in one place). People came and joined the conversation, we talked with people we never met before like we've known them forever. Others came and listened to the conversation in order to know more. Others listened to make sure we're pro democracy. The place we were standing was crowded, I was struggling not have people bang into me. Some guy came to me, he looked like a harasser so I didn't really look to him. I was too stupid to think that, because he told me, with a smile, that if I stand on the other side no one will bang into me, because that's the entrance to the garden. I felt so bad, when did I ever turn into a person who expects the worst of people? When did I start stereotyping? Why was I treating everyone else as enemies? Starting today, I'm treating all people with love, I'll expect the best out of people until they prove otherwise, I'll respect everyone, because today proved that I was wrong about Egyptians, I was wrong to think that only those educated or have a roof over their heads have a cause. Everyone has a cause, and everyone is working hard for it, everyone is respecting their differences, and treating others equally. I was so happy to be wrong.


Tahrir was filled with humor; people weren't worried, they weren't angry, they were revolting and having fun. Chants, banners, and flyers were very  funny, and completely clean. Anyone was allowed to reach the stage and speak their minds. Small groups were formed everywhere and people chanted, others cleaned the square. The place was filled with positivity, it felt so different than anything, it smelled of freedom, the sun was shining inside the square more than anywhere else, the sounds of chants and cheers vibrated the ground. I felt so powerful among these people, I felt that I belonged there, I felt proud to be there. 

Some Pro Mubaraks were able to sneak in and tried to talk people into leaving. Whenever these were found, a circle was made around them and people took them to the nearest exit chanting one word: LEAVE. At some point people started running towards the gates, people got worried, then minutes later, many were injured and carried inside the square. That's when we left. We were lucky enough to take Mohamed Mahmoud's exit, because the war-front was in Abd ElMoneim Reyad! Our taxi driver was VERY pro Mubarak, he told us that this is enough, that we should respect him, that he cannot be treated like a normal person! I couldn't hold myself anymore, I had to ask him why he wanted him to stay. His answer was even worse; he said he's my father! The three of us told him why we think that the revolution can't stop now, why it is for everyone's benefit, and he seemed to be listening and agreeing just a tiny bit.


I got home to find my television turning into a time machine, taking me many centuries back. I went home to find Mubarak's thugs riding horses and camels and invading the square! The scene couldn't have even be put in a movie, because simply no one would  believe that this could happen in 2011! Tahrir was turned into a war front, this peaceful place now has a war that won't end. The best people in this country are being killed and injured because of one stubborn man. Molotov cocktails, live ammunition, swords, white weapons and animals were used against protesters who had nothing but rocks to defend themselves. What was everyone's reaction? Everyone who left the square went back, no one was even scared of them!


My cousin, who lives very close to the pyramids, saw a huge number of camels and horses coming from Nazlet El Semman. Luckily, most of the animals got tired and went back and only those we saw in Tahrir survived. Why haven't the army done anything? Why are they being too neutral? How can they not protect their people? Why are they in the streets anyway? One of the men we met today in Tahrir said that he’s a retired army marshal. He said that the first thing they’re taught in college is to love Egypt and to fight for it until death. To get into the police academy, people have to pay a bribe of 100,000 pounds, they’re taught to protect the regime and only the regime. That’s the difference between the army and the police. If this is the difference then why are they sitting and watching Egyptians being killed?

The youth coalition has made a statement today saying that they will only meet with a government representative if Wael Ghonim is released. Whoever that guy is, he seems important. Omar Soliman replied to this by saying that the government doesn't even plan to have a dialogue with them!


Now that the internet is back, I was finally able to know what everyone else is saying. I found a page called we're staying home this Friday, referring to the call for a million man march on Friday. Many wanted the revolution to stop, but a lot more knew that it has to go on. Many were for letting Mubarak stay this few months, but changed their minds after today's massacre.

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