A person on a forum I often hang out on, who is not Egyptian but who has spent a lot of time there and is living there now, posted this to a discussion thread that had been following the situation there. I thought it worth reposting and do so here with his permission.
On the 6th of October 1981 my friend G and I went to a parade. My dad was a journalist, and every year he took us to the military extravaganza. We were 9 year old boys, and we got to see tanks, and aeroplanes, and frogmen fainting in the heat, and soldiers riding camels. We looked forward to it every year.
That year they killed Sadat. I sat on a chair 50 feet away as they shot him to death. It is one of the three most significant moments of my life, and in a way I’ve never got over it or even understood it.
I’ve never got Egypt out from under my skin. I’ve kept going back, unable to fit in anywhere else, but not an Egyptian either.
Two weeks ago G was the instigator of the crowd that burnt down the NDP building near Tahrir. He, and my other friends – some of whom I’ve known for most of my life – have been out fighting for their country, risking their lives. Because of my skin colour and nationality I’ve had to watch from the sidelines, unable to join them. At times my inability to join them has made me feel more ashamed than I’ve ever felt in my life.
Right now I’m so proud of them. I’m jealous that I’m not there. I’m in awe of how the country has changed in just a short period. I’m desperate to get home. I keep bursting into tears.
G has finished what we saw started. And now we all have to write the next chapter.
Another post said that flyers were being handed out in the streets on Saturday that read:
“Today this country is your country. Do not litter. Don’t drive through traffic lights. Don’t bribe. Don’t forge paperwork. Don’t drive the wrong way. Don’t drive quickly to be cool while putting lives at risk. Don’t enter through the exit door at the metro. Don’t harass women. Don’t say, ‘It’s not my problem.’ Consider God in your work. We have no excuse anymore.”
I know there’s still a lot of work to be done, and still a lot of turbulent times ahead, but none of that takes away from these moments. Wow.