Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lest We Forget All Those Eyes Lost!

It seems everyone in Egypt is talking politics, even though they don’t get it much. I’m one of them and I wish to God I stop talking politics but I can’t. I can’t because talking is all I can do now. There are people braver than me, stronger than me out there, People who have strong beliefs and use them like batteries to fuel the revolution inside them, and use these beliefs to spread the revolution to the rest of Egypt, not just Tahrir square. They believe in being human, and having rights as humans. They believe in Egypt and its history but more importantly they believe in its future. They believe that it’s their duty as Egyptians to make sure that no one takes advantage of Her, that no one mugs Her, that no one makes Her look bad, and that no one takes away Her dignity. I believe in Egypt and I believe that the soldiers of freedom who lead the revolution will protect her.

A call to demonstrate was made for November 18th and it was glorious, with people finally moving down to Tahrir square to nudge SCAF, the current military administration to move up the presidential elections to March or April, deliver the country into the hands of an elected civilian president, and to prevent them from giving the military unjustified privileges. The reaction from the military was an attack on 200 members of a sit-in in Tahrir square the next morning. Attacks continued as people flocked to Tahrir to try and stand by the people in the sit-in, getting more and more vicious with a feeble excuse that the security forces were protecting the Ministry of Interior which was around 300 meters away from the square. The detailed description of the entire event is all over the internet so to cut it short, front lines were formed by protestors at a street called Mohamed Mahmoud where the security forces used as the point of attack. They used tear gas and shotguns to attack the protestors, some injuries were gunshot wounds even though SCAF denied using live ammo. Truces were negotiated but never kept as attacks continued. The square contained no less than 7 field hospitals to handle the huge number of injuries. The people in Tahrir were crying for help and supplies as the injuries kept flowing in. the Egyptian people, although slow to react responded with numbers and supplies, moved by the sights of the horrible attacks, and the number of fatalities rising.

I was able to sneak to Tahrir, even though my mother found out eventually (yes, all Egyptians are afraid of their parents more than they’re afraid of bullets, even for people in their 30’s who are married with kids, not just people like me), and to see the beauty that is Egypt and what it really means in the eyes of the people there, smiling despite the horrors they are witnessing. Routes were formed to facilitate traffic for ambulances and motorcycles acting as ambulances. Ultras Ahlawy, football fans, were lighting flares in the middle of the front lines, singing and chanting against SCAF and the security forces that dare attack Egyptians, banging drums to raise the morale of the civilian soldiers on the front lines. Groups of protestors, mainly the girls, were calling out to the men in the fight to stand their ground. Chants and political discussions; anyone talking with anyone else about the current events for they all belonged to Tahrir and to Egypt. Girls and women were in the field hospitals, doctors, surgeons, helping the injured selflessly, standing their ground even with gas attacks on the hospitals.

I went into a pharmacy to buy some medical supplies. A man walked in and noticed what I was doing and asked me if I was buying supplies for the people in Tahrir. When I said yes, he told me that his son is there and that he hasn’t seen him in a few days, he gave me money to buy supplies for them because it was the only way he could help. When the pharmacist found out, she gave me a discount on the stuff I bought as a contribution from the pharmacy. In Tahrir, as I was talking to a friend, I was surprised by a man in his fifties wearing an expensive suit as he stopped to talk to us, he said he believed there was hope and moved on. A seventeen year old was holding up a paper with “Martyr Wanted” written on it in Arabic as he dashed towards the front lines. Lines of people formed around the field hospitals protecting it from chaos and attacks, just as they formed around protestors who were praying. An older man who looked to be of below average social standard, wary but determined and definitely not a thug, responded to someone warning him not to go into the fight by “this is why I am here!”

On those last 2 weeks of November, Egyptians were called to arms and Egyptians responded. The people on the front lines got shot at, were injured, some died, and some have to live their lives with one eye instead of two and they have no regrets. They were fighting because they refuse to have their dreams taken away from them; the only thing that gave them hope after 30 years of desperation. Those 17 and 18 year olds believe that they will grow up in an Egypt that will allow them to make an honest living and not sit on the unemployment lines for the rest of their lives. Those fathers are fighting so that their children would be able to live in homes that have roofs, running water, and sewage. Before the revolution, they had nothing to lose because everything was lost, and now they won’t lose the dream of a better future and they will fight for it until they see it come true.

People seem to have forgotten why brave Egyptians got hurt for them, lost their eyes and their lives for them. They’ve forgotten about the torture in the prisons, about the military trials that don’t give the detained person the right to even defend himself, and about those girls who were molested and harassed by those who call themselves our protectors. People seem to have missed the idea that change hasn’t really happened, that the dignity of the Egyptian people was never really returned. People seem to have not noticed how some so-called Egyptians still think they are above the law, and even beyond its reach. Finally, those people seem to have decided to give up on fighting injustice at the one time they get a free pass to fight injustice, which is now! I haven’t forgotten those who were fearless enough to stand in front of a shotgun and lose their eyes for me because I’m not strong enough to fight for my rights as an Egyptian citizen and human being. I haven’t forgotten because the moment I forget is the moment I lose my right to being Egyptian, and I am not planning to lose that which I am most proud of!

As an after note, the people at the prime ministry were the ones who didn’t forget about the dead and the injured and so they do represent me. The people who were putting out the fires and saving the books represent me. The people who are getting beaten and shot at because they want real actual change represent me. Finally, those girls that were stripped, dragged on the streets, and beaten while they’re half naked could have so easily been me. Lest we forget those as well!

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