The January 25 Revolution: lest we forget - Day 6: neighborhood committees

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

As the night falls and up until next morning neighborhood committees are in control of guarding the Good Land. All night we hear gunfire and shouting every few minutes, but the looters fail to get into the area. Our committee and the ones around it cooperate together to ensure the whole area is safe; the ones closest to the main street act as the frontline, if looters succeed to pass this line they're met by several other committees. The cooperation is also in the type of weapons, at the frontline there may be molotov cocktails, followed by pieces of cement from the sidewalk, then glass bottles. And, for everything there's a philosophy.

If someone enters our neighborhood after the curfew, they're stopped by a middle aged lady leading the area's frontline committee. If she doesn't know you, she'll ask for your ID to make sure you live in the area. Then you'd pass through barricades set by the committee (may be big 4*4 cars or trucks), and you may be searched. Depending on where you're going, you may need to bring out your ID or be searched more than once.

In old black and white movies you'd find security personnel roaming streets, shouting "who's there?" to scare thieves away. This is only in black and white movies; most of us have never seen this happen in reality. And so, when people know that there are people in the staying out to guard them and their property, they feel safer, even knowing that there are hundreds of criminals at large.

On Saturday night, the army is said to have deployed more personnel to help the neighborhood committees, and so they work together to capture thugs. On that night, and other nights to come many people are arrested, looters and innocents, all civilians, and all shall be tried in military courts. Later we will have to fight for their right in fair and just trials in civil courts, a fight that continues for five years, to this day...

As things get calmer for the committees, more talking happens, and the old Egyptian tradition of building strong friendships between neighbors comes back to life. Those at home show gratitude by bringing down food and drinks every few hours. One time it's a chocolate cake, then coffee, and hot chocolate, then cookies. They talk and eat, and that thing that was born as a result of horrible circumstances, becomes a wonderful gathering that people enjoy, even though they're sleep deprived...

In Tahrir Square and other squares of the Good Land the sit-in continues. Now that things are safer, they try to organize themselves, and the sit-in keeps growing. There are solidarity protests and events all over the world, and international media show a 24-hour coverage of the Revolution. The government fights back by keeping its channels in denial. They also shut down Al Jazeera bureau and cut their signal off Nilesat. Al Jazeera fights back; they air from other satellites and continue their coverage through calls from protesters. 

The Internet remains cut-off....


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