The January 25 Revolution: lest we forget - Day 2: not this time
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
In the city that never sleeps, the few who choose to go to bed before 1:00 am like me wake up to an empty Tahrir Square. Through social media it becomes known that some time after midnight, amid a dark square alive with chants from Tunisia and ones that have for long been voiced by a few, CSF were given the order. At 12:35 am, the CSF trucks' sirens fill the darkness, then loud shots outweigh the chants. Tear gas and rubber bullets everywhere, in just 15 minutes, the few-hours long sit-in is cut short. People run to side streets, chased and outnumbered by supposedly humans in a devilish uniform. Detains are random, some go home, others disappear.
The CSF didn't use live ammunition in Tahrir Square, but they did in Suez, thinking that international media will only focus on Cairo, thus this is the only place where they should play it smart. Rightly so, in our extremely centralized Egypt the focus is mostly on Cairo. Where they were mistaken, however, is that it's not just about international media anymore; time has changed. The news of shot protesters in Suez, of Suez turning into a war zone reaches the globe over social media.
The news of this violence keeps the rage alive. Not just in Suez, in Cairo, and all over the Good Land, those few who decide they won't be letting go, not this time, keep the momentum going. In the morning there was a call for a strike, but being a very short notice only a few actually strike.
I couldn't and didn't want to strike, I wanted to see what other people think, Back then I worked as a teaching assistant, and working in a university, I met a lot of people of different ages, beliefs and backgrounds. Most of my colleagues, were as hopeful as I was, but lecturers were different, not all of them were as hopeful, or saw a need for a revolution, others were just indifferent. Again I hear "Egypt is no Tunisia", this time from a Tunisian who has been living in Egypt for quite some time. I feel confused, but then I tell myself people I live among do not necessarily represent the Egyptian Society. I was wrong, in days to come I will realize that this is exactly the Egyptian society, but that's the story of another day.
By midday Facebook and Google Services are all blocked, but that is no big deal to anyone; by then everyone had different means of accessing blocked websites. Soon enough, the government notices that this won't work, and it's only causing them an internationally embarrassing headache. So just a few hours later, after Hillary Clinton - then U.S. Secretary of State - expresses her "concern" about the digital blockage, Ahmed Nazif - then Egyptian Prime Minister - announces that nothing is blocked. And suddenly everything comes back.
The working day ends, and protests start to increase. By the Journalists' Syndicate and elsewhere, in Cairo and other governorates, people start to gather. But the government has learnt one lesson; they're not to let any protest continue. And so, the day ends with all protests being dispersed.... Yet, protesters have also learnt one lesson, that they shouldn't give up....not this time.