Tuesday, 29 January 2013 00:00

Two Years After The Egyptian Revolution

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It can be strenuous at times to write a column about a country that is undergoing a revolution. In the time span that I write this piece and publish it, many new things could have happened in Egypt, so I will try to keep this as up-to-date as possible.

What I Saw

Last Friday was the second annual anniversary of the January 25th Revolution. The day started out rather calm, with Egyptians participating in marches from various parts of the Cairo and Giza governorates, with the aim of ending up in Tahrir Square. The port city of Alexandria seemed to have already gotten fired up as protesters clashed with police.

I took part in a march from Mohandiseen in the Giza governorate, with a group of activist and journalist friends.

The march was cheery and peaceful, as more people joined overtime. There was a drum beat to the chants of: “We the people demand the fall of the regime,” “Down with the rule of the Supreme Guide,” and “Leave! Leave! Leave!.” There were some onlookers from nearby buildings that caused the marchers to chant, “Come down! Come down! Come down!” urging them to get involved in the demonstrations.

Compared to last year, the energy was rather faint.

It was when we approached the 6th of October Bridge leading towards Tahrir Square that the march became divided. Some wanted to continue marching into Zamalek and then into Tahrir, others wanted to proceed to the Square – our group stuck with the latter. Although our numbers dwindled, we continued to march until we ended up in the side streets by Tahrir Square.

Having marched for several hours, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat before heading into the Square. Since it took longer than expected, I ended up leaving the restaurant for an interview with HuffPost Live, just as the sun had set. I was lucky, as Tahrir became gulfed in tear gas and sexual harassment was prolific.

The friends I left behind at the restaurant proceeded to Tahrir and ended up having to make a human chain around the women as they tried to make an escape from the sudden turn of events. They all got out safely, although one unknowingly got mugged.

Check out my photos of the march, here.

The Aftermath

By Friday night at least seven were reported dead with at least 450 injured throughout Egypt, as protesters clashed with CSF forces.

It was on Saturday that the violence escalated on a whole different level, when the Egyptian court announced the verdict of the Port Said Soccer Match Massacre that took place last February. Twenty-one men were sentenced to death, which initially brought relief to the families of the 72 that lost their lives. In Port Said, there was an opposite response that sparked anger and brought people to streets, since a number of the accused were from the port city.

That very day clashes caused at least 30 deaths and 400 were injured in Port Said.

On Sunday, mourners gathered at the funeral of those who died the previous day at Al-Mariam Mosque, only for it to be hit by heavy tear gas. This, of course, angered the Egyptian people, as they could not fathom why a peaceful funeral procession was being attacked. Many pointed fingers at the silent President Mohamed Morsi. It was not until Sunday evening, that he decided to make an appearance announcing a State of Emergency in three cities.

In Cairo, clashes continued near the Ministry of Interior with no end on Sunday and are now in their fourth consecutive day. The streets are dead and so are many of the popular hangouts. Rumor has it that Cairo may have to undergo curfew as well.

Many Egyptians are distraught and confused, as nobody knows what to expect any more. Some say Morsi’s days are numbered, while others think that is an unrealistic approach to take.

All we can do is sit and watch at this point.

By Holly Dagres, Aslan Media Columnist

*Photo: Courtesy of the Author
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