Friday, February 11, 2011

The Story So Far - Egypt Holding Its Head Up High

Its been quite awhile since i last made an addition to this blog....

For the past two weeks I have been watching as Egypt went into a state of revolt and its people walked down to the streets and stood for what they believed and insisted on making their voice heard.

Im not quite sure what my blog's audience is like at the moment and what the ratio between Egyptians and non-Egyptians reading this actually is and so i will make a few points clarifying whats been going on back home incase you arent fully aware.

January 25th saw the start of the current events in Egypt. People gathered in Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) and asked for change. Day after day more people joined them and since we have no 'right to protest' the police dealt with the protestors the only way they know how - violence and brutality.
They fired rubber bullets, water canons, tear gases and used sticks to beat up the protestors. But the protestors kept coming. Hundreds were detained and kidnapped including Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian Activist working for google in the UAE. He was an admin behind one of the Facebook groups that called for the January 25th protests. He was 'missing' for 12 days before being released and gave the January 25 movement a face. He appeared on a popular TV show on Dream TV with presenter Mona El Shazly and gave a moving account, which reignited the Egyptians' wish for change and the following day we saw an increase in protestors in the square.

Prior to Ghonim's release, during the first few days of protests, the internet was blocked off the whole country and mobile phone networks also blocked. Following that, the Egyptian police released 17,000 prisoners from several prisons across Egypt. Intending on causing instability on the streets of Cairo, instilling fear amongst the protestors and their families. People's homes were being attacked and looted and there was a growing sense of tension and fear on the streets of the city. Whoever was behind these orders to let those criminals free was trying to get the protestors to go home to protect their families and possessions instead of protesting in the square.

However, the whole city saw an emergence of neighborhood watches, where Egyptian men stayed on their streets all night to keep their families and neighbors safe. They armed themselves with anything they could find, baseball bats, broom sticks and weapons, they put up check points and checked id card off anyone trying to walk through their streets. They stepped up and provided security when the Egyptian Police decided to pull out. Yes, the Police let loose 17,000 criminals and then pulled out of serving the country leaving it to burn.

The army then next stepped in to stabilise the situation. They were welcomed by the people and the protestors cheered upon their arrival. The one question on everyone's mind then was; is the army going to side with the people or stand against them. They quickly made it clear that the army would not fight against its own people.

Protests continued to be peaceful until the day after Mubarak's second speech to the people. When he announced that he would not be running for another term in September. The streets saw an addition to the protesting body however these were 'pro Mubarak' protestors. They came armed with weapons of all sorts and seemed to have one intention; to attack the 'pro democracy' protestors. Footage of people on camels and horses beating up peaceful protestors and groups attacking individuals all ripped the image of peaceful protests apart - a clear move instigated by the ruling party in an attempt to make the protests true colours seem violent. However it was all uncovered after several of those 'pro mubarak' demonstrators and attackers were found to be either paid or actually members of the police forces! I will not generalise and say that all 'pro Mubarak' demonstrators were paid, a portion of them were, but some were simply 'pro stability' and wanted to have everything return to the way it was and to put an end to the violence and the blood shed. Unfortunately things had gone too far, Egypt couldnt go back to the way things were, it wouldnt be fair. People's lives were taken fighting for the chance of a better future, for a brighter Egypt, their lives would not go to waste.

Protests continued despite several urges from the newly appointed government for them to return to their homes. It continued on peacefully and in a civilized manner. Some businesses started to resume their work and some returned to their jobs but returned to Tahrir Square in the afternoon and others stayed there all day and all night, camping out with blankets and building tents to shelter them from the rain.

Mubarak came out to address the nation last night and strong rumours were circulating everywhere that this was it, he was to announce his stepping down. News media all over the world spectulated and several official sources were stating that he will while other said he wont, the whole world was confused.

Almost an hour late, Mubarak started his speech. He was not stepping down. The crowd was furious. They all booed and held up their shoes and chanted their demand for him to leave. Everyone felt decieved.

This morning the Army released a second announcement, stating that they would be siding with Mubarak to implement the changes to the constitution that he agreed to do based on the people's demands and to ensure that free and fair elections take place in September.

Now the world awaits to see how the youth of the January 25 revolution will react to that.

1 comment:

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