A Memory of Today: Rage Friday

Friday, January 28, 2011

After two days of rage in Suez, after people in Cairo and Alexandria proved that they're not giving up. After the police became more and more stupid. Rage has increased inside every person, not just those in the streets. The day started at 12:00 am with my internet connection cutting off. Although the rumors of the internet and SMS services stopping were there all night, I still couldn't believe my eyes. I tried my neighbors open Wi-Fi and it worked for a few minutes, enough to write my last Facebook post for the next five days, "The internet is cut off!" I tried my Vodafone USB modem, my Mobinil mobile internet, a dial up connection, all dead. Although I knew that this was it, I couldn't believe that stupidity would reach this limit and I kept trying.

I wake up early next morning to find that, of course, the internet is still off, so is the SMS service. Al Jazeera shows the streets filled with CSF trucks, empty of people. The Cairo that always has traffic jams everywhere looks so different. Then the mobiles cut off too, and I actually see the signal strength decrease until it dies with my own eyes. By Then, we know we'll have to be part of this.

Hours later, after Friday Prayers in Shooting Club and a Friday Prayers speech about life after death (yes!),  I'm in front of Mostafa Mamhoud Mosque with my mother and father. We stay in the protest for three hours, until we reach Galaa Bridge. This is the first time I hear voices that shake the ground beneath my feet. The first time I shout so loudly that my throat hurts. The first time I know what teargas feels like. The first time I see injured people fall right in front  of me. 

I remember every single second of these three hours, every face, every incident. I remember how we planned, me and my parents, where we'd meet if we had to run. I remember the spot we sat waiting for the others to open the road. I remember the building I saw catch fire because of a teargas canister getting there. I remember how the stupid police set fire in their own car and couldn't bring it down. I remember the minute the police ran away and left their cars on Galaa bridge. I remember how people climbed the cars and held the flag above to signal that people can start to move forward. I remember the minute the police moved forward again and everyone ran back. I remember at that moment my parents deciding that we have to leave, and me hating myself for not being able to stay.

Thirty minutes later, we're back at the club. I go to pray in the mosque and two women I don't know ask me about the protests and get so excited when they know I took part in one of them, with my parents. Then I go back to my own life... or so I think. At 4:30, we leave for family commitments, my mother's cousin has died one day before, we go visit her family. At 5:10 news of the curfew reach us. We have 50 minutes to get to the car, back in the club, then go from Mohandeseen to Heliopolis. We run to the car....

Most of the streets are closed, we finally reach October Bridge, we drive for a few minutes then see people, many people, standing on the bridge, cars driving on the wrong side of the road, and dark dark dark smoke. Some people tell us that the bridge is closed and that we'll have to go back...... Luckily my grandmother lives in Mohandeseen, otherwise there wouldn't have been any place for us to spend the night. We take the Zamalek exit, but the streets are closed again, protests are everywhere, we can't go back to Mohandeseen....

We go to Imbaba, streets might be open there, or so we thought. In Imbaba, we don't only find protests, but also terrified police and CSF trying to escape the angry protesters. Throwing teargas and shooting live bullets at us. The officers are so terrified that they're not even thinking what they're doing, or who they're shooting at. This was the scariest part of my life, this I will never forget.

We finally reach Mohandeseen at 5:55. After a very long night, after we finally discover what was happening all over the country, after a very frustrating Mubarak speech, it's finally time to get some sleep. The plan is to wake up at 6:30, and be on the streets at 7:00 sharp to reach home. We don't know if we'll ever be able to reach home before Mubarak leaves, being his neighbors. I don't sleep for even 30 minutes. Sounds of gunfire are there all night, I don't get what's happening. I think that someone's shooting at the protesters, when in fact it's the neighborhood committees. Sound of water is there all night, and I think it's hoses, when in fact it's raining....

This, was simply a day and night that I will never forget, no matter how long I live..... This was the day I broke my fear barrier.... On that day, I was the best person I have ever been... That one day changed my life forever.

Friday, January 27th, 2012

The day goes exactly the same, except that this time I reach Tahrir. Except that this time there is no teargas, no rubber or live bullets, and no bird-shots. Except that this time, when we leave our relative's house, who died on this same day last year, there's no curfew to catch, no NDP building on fire, no cars going the wrong way.

We reach Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque and we start roaming Mohandeseen, then start our way to Tahrir, then when we reach there we go to Maspero; it's almost a 10 km walk, a 4.5 hour walk. The march is amazing, more amazing than you can ever think. It's huge, at some point of time it's length exceeds 5 km. Our chants shake the ground so hard, all balconies have people with flags cheering for us, chanting with us. Everyone is wearing masks, not Vendetta masks, masks of our martyrs. We walk and walk and walk and our number keeps increasing. Two women, one of them is blind are with us. A girl on a wheel chair is with us. Babies, months old babies are with us. But best of all is a deaf woman, with a girl and a boy in their twenties chanting with us, both in voice and sign language. People see them, and ask them what they're doing, minutes later, twenty women are chanting both in voice and sign language. Down down with the military rule, in voice and sign language.

We reach Qasr El Nil Bridge, where our brothers and sisters died a year ago, where I didn't reach last year. All chants stop, we say our prayers for the martyrs. Then some stop to pray in the same spot where people where killed last year while praying. Everyone looks up, the sky is filled with hundreds of birds right above the bridge, and only above the bridge. Egyptian Swallow, only found in Egypt, it's what we call Birds of Paradise, based on this Ancient Egyptian myth. The souls of our brothers and sisters coming from paradise, flying above us, silently, watching over us, happy to have us among them. Then we say the Revolution Oath. Tears and smiles everywhere. We overthrew a dictator last year in that place, this year we're bringing down his Supreme Council and the rest of the regime....

We move to the TV and Radio Building in Maspero in a small demonstration of about 1500. Below every bridge we pass, we stop and chant. The echo is so high, and our voices make everyone turn their heads toward us. The atmosphere at Maspero is amazing, so positive, so moving. I remember those who died there, and it's like every spot in this country has memories of martyrs.... The revolution will continue....

** I know the type of birds because I've been learning about birds from my father ever since I was child. Their wings look different from any other bird. The truth is that they probably live near the bridge and were scared of all the sound we're making and started flying over. But still, I believe it's a message from God =)

Comments

  1. وربما يجئ يوما نجلس فيه معا لا لكي نتفاخر و نتباهي ولكن نتذكر و ندرس ونعلم اولادنا و احفادنا قصه الكفاح و مشاقه مراره الهزيمه والامها و حلاوه النصر و اماله

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