Wednesday, February 02, 2011

#Jan25 Personal Experience No 2 - Karim's Story

"I criticized the protests up until Friday, at which point it was hard to ignore the government's heavy-handed response, and I joined the protests on Sunday from 2pm to 8 am, and again all day Tuesday. I lucked out as the mood on both days was overwhelmingly positive and happy.

On Sunday, I saw soldiers play a short soccer match with protesters, soldiers huddle around fires with protesters, and people break off into small groups to share stories, jokes, and poems to help pass the time through the cold night. I saw people pick up trash (if you live in Cairo you know how amazing that sight would be) hand out water and food, and start spontaneous conversations with strangers.

On Tuesday there were volunteers working crowd control, checking to make sure that protesters didn't bring in weapons and checking people's IDs to make sure the police didn't get in. While doing this, they announced: "If you're police, turn around and leave now. We don't want you here". Despite the intense crowds, everything was managed by the people and things went remarkably smoothly.

When groups of Muslim Brotherhood would start chanting pro-Islamist slogans, everyone around them told them to stop because the revolution belongs to all people. People carried signs showing solidarity between Muslims and Christians.

I walked home alone all the way from Tahrir to Nasr City starting around 9 pm, and felt completely safe the entire time. Soldiers who asked for my ID asked me where I was coming from, and I told them I was at the demonstrations. They were completely fine with that. At all times they were incredibly kind and courteous and are nothing like Egyptian police.

And then we have the situation in Tahrir today, for which I wasn't present for. I'm incredibly upset at what's happening to those people who I believe are being attacked by plainsclothes police officers, and even more upset by family and friends who are brainwashed by state-run television into thinking that this assault is in any way justified. I hope everyone in the community is alright, and for those who felt compelled to leave Egypt for their safety, I hope this country is soon
stable enough for your return.


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