Thursday, 3 February 2011

To Egypt, with love

Forgive me if this post is unstructured and emotionally charged, for I am angry and deeply hurt. I write this through tears of frustration and disbelief.

My last post was about Tunisians inspiring Egyptians. I was praying and hoping for us Egyptians to take a stand, to speak out. And we did.

We marched and screamed and demanded freedom of a dictatorship that filled us with apathy and frustration for 30 years. We united our voices. Unarmed. Peaceful. We marched.

On Friday, Jan 28th, we marched. We were attacked with tear gas and water cannons by the police. The police that was supposed to protect us. We defied them, unarmed, and we persisted until we made it from Mohandessin to Tahrir Square. I say unarmed again because it was only our determination that made us do it.

That night, the police was replaced by the army and the curfew imposed. A curfew that no one seemed to follow except for President Hosni Mubarak, who spoke to us so very late, with meaningless words that did not respond in the least to our demands.

As I made my way home on Friday night, I could not believe the complete disappearance of the police. I live in a part of Cairo full of embassies. There wasn't even a single security official outside any of the these buildings.

We were left alone to protect our own homes and neighbourhoods. With escaped convicts roaming the streets - a sick conspiracy by the ruling party and former Minister of Interior - we were left alone. Men, women and boys alike held all kinds of makeshift weapons and blockaded the streets. We heard gunshots fired all night for a week, terrified of the lengths our government would go to to shut us up, and teach us a lesson. We lived in fear.

But no fear is greater than the fear we live in now. After yesterday's events, it has become clear that the ruling party will do anything to stay in power. Because the army will never harm civilians, they had to find another way of breaking the protesters. Hiring thugs to attack peaceful protesters? There are no words to describe this criminal act.

Until yesterday some of us had an inkling of hope. Some of us considered waiting until the next elections. Some of us were fooled.

Anything that the government does now is too late. It's too late. You cannot be trusted. We don't want you. The people have spoken.

We are not Israeli spies. We are not CIA. We are not Hamas. We are not Al Qaeda. We are not the Muslim Brotherhood.

We are the people.