A Memory of Today: January 25

January 25, 2011

I wake up early, wondering and hoping, after a night of wishing and dreaming. I know I will be at home today, not because I want to, but because I'm too scared to join a protest. I turn on the TV, and there's nothing about Egypt, only protests in Lebanon. I turn my laptop on, too many pages to follow, too many tweets to read. Kollena Khaled Saeed posts this song. Even though it is very depressing, but it meant so much. Nobody is happy, everyone wants a revolution, but how many are courageous enough to revolt? How many of us are ready to die? I am not, I'm scared.

Rassd starts uploading pictures of protests, big ones, then some of them turn out to be old. How can anyone believe anything unless they see with their own eyes? How I wish I could be there. Pictures flood Twitter and Facebook, from many people, trusted people. Then The Al Jazeera starts airing the protests. We're stuck in front of TV, me and my parents, we have a broken refrigerator that we don't even care about. Not having a minute to even eat, we don't want to miss a minute of this dream being born.

Twitter is blocked, I open it back, and the rage increases. The night comes in, hope turns into belief, they'll win, they'll make it. Oh how I wish I could be one of them. Tents are set up, it's happening. Somebody dies in Suez, and everyone knows, the end has just started. I go to bed, unable to sleep wishing I could be there tomorrow....

January 25, 2012

I wake up knowing where I'll be in a few hours. I know I'll be at Cairo University, I know I'll be protesting not afraid anymore. I'm not afraid partly because I know the demonstration will be too big for anyone to attack, and partly because I've seen it all in the past year. I see this song, and I know where my place is, and I know I'm not leaving my place, I'm staying.

Today is a mix of nostalgia to the best days I have ever lived, excitement, hope, a bit of worry. Today we're remembering our brothers and sisters who died for us to live. We're going out in demonstrations from from all over Egypt, each demonstration honoring one of the martyrs. Rumors of people wearing "Bendetta", A.K.A, Vendetta masks setting Egypt on fire, might scare people and keep them home....

At 11:30, I reach Cairo University with my mother and father, so many students and some staff getting ready to march in an hour. A guy has a huge drum, I look to his face, he's the same guy I used to chant after last year. A person whom I don't know, but a face and a voice that I know by heart. I look to the faces, they're all the same faces I saw last year. Minutes later, I meet my students and my friends. Songs of Sheikh Imam, drums, chants, very high spirits. Marches from other faculties and schools join us, our numbers increase, nobody is scared.

A while later, we're joined by a martyr march. Sheikh Emad Effat is among us, marching with us. I look around, I don't see the beginning or the end of the march. We chant together and the voices shake the streets. We move and everyone runs to the windows to see us, anyone doing anything in the streets leaves what they're doing to watch us. People at home give us bottles of waters, many wave their flags from their windows. Everyone supports us.

The march is so huge, it's a long walk and we have to stop every once in a while. It takes us more than three hours to reach Qasr El Nil Bridge. Many lose their energy, but the Ultras are there and they never lose their energy, chanting so loudly, jumping up and down, clapping, cheering, shouting. We reach the bridge, and for five minutes we stay silent, in honor of our martyrs of a whole year. We reach Tahrir and getting inside is almost impossible. The square is packed, packed so much that walking is so hard. Some are celebrating, but many are not.

Everything feels the same, it's like we went back in time. The only difference that this time there was no violence; no police, no army, no thugs, not even honorable citizens. I was worried about today, worried of people fighting together, worried of the turn out, worried maybe of thugs, I was so worried. But today proved me wrong in so many ways, I'm so glad it did. I left Tahrir after more than an hour of trying to get out. As soon as I did, I found the whole of downtown filled with people everywhere. The whole of Cairo was in the streets protesting, demanding the execution of the field marshal... Let the revolution continue, until all our demands are met. The revolution continues, today, tomorrow and the day after..... Friday, we meet again, we revolt again...


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