Thursday, February 03, 2011


My last post i was asking myself what would be next? hoping that people would wake up.. wake up to see the reality about this country and just make anything for a better one.
I never imagined that all what happened would really be a reality, I never thought that a simple call for demonstration would lead to where we are now with all the bad and the good.
Maybe I've lost this hope of a better place sometime ago along the way of my 28 years of living and just thinking that if i do what i believe in and i do little, i can change the small world i live in. But i guess i was wrong, we needed something bigger to make this change, we needed everybody's will to build something out of nothing.

Now looking back for the last 2 weeks, i see lot of things.. I didn't want to write or post anything cos i didn't know from where to start. I was lost in the middle, caught in an internal fight between hope and fear.. but now i want just to write all those feelings, to remember.
It started the 25th of January, when people went to protest while i was working at home. I didn't think to go to the protest cos I had to work as it is my priority to deliver the project i'm running. I wanted to go and participate deep inside, probably cos of what I've experienced few days earlier (check my previous post). The days before the demonstrations I saw videos posted on YouTube and facebook, about these Peaceful protests, about what to do, what is it about and I felt it might be a big one but not as it turned to be.
Later on I asked friends who went and told me it was really great and much bigger although they were trying to hide it on the local media and I wished i could have gone.
One of the slogans which depicted the spirit of this revolution is "تغيير .. حرّية .. عدالة إجتماعية" meaning "change, liberty, social justice"

The following day i went to work as usual, following what's happening on the field on the internet, yes the demonstrations where still there and then, we received an email about leaving the office early due to what might happen... I was a bit worried, why would they ask us to leave? What would happen next? Would I make to home safely? Would I be caught in the middle? I made it to home without any incidents but following the news it was taking more and more attention.

So I decided the following day, Thursday, to work from home, not cos I was afraid to go all the way to Smart Village but cos I feared that they ask us to leave early and i'll be wasting time for nothing and I asked all the team to do the same thing (these are the consequences of being a manager and having deadlines). I was still following more and more what's happening, every few minutes checking for the updates to an extent i decided to close facebook to be able to concentrate on work. Later on, heard about difficulties to log on facebook but as i was connected through the work network, i was able to be online on facebook. At night, i was discussing with some friends on msn, about what's happening and going on and then my brother told me that he send some sms to a friend but didn't receive all. So I decided to try myself, not believing that it could be really true, that the state would prevent the access of facebook and now banning sms cos afraid of the following day protests of "Friday of Anger". Anyway I tried myself, sending sms between my 2 mobile numbers of 2 different operators... and I was trying also with a friend.. and it was true, no sms.. ok now it is getting far after couple of hours, around midnight, internet was down. I thought i had problem but then a friend called me and ask me if I had a problem on internet.. that was too big.

And then came the big Friday.. I woke up and then looking on my mobile, didn't find a signal.. I checked my other phone and it was still working. I switched to 3G and I restored the signal back so I made a couple of calls to warn my friends. It was going far now, the government shutting internet, sms and now cell phones. I thought it would be for couple of hours but the day was passing and still no phone coverage. I was watching the different channels, how big the crowds, seeing also violence, hearing reports.. and i was fearing for my friends who went to the Tahrir Square for the demonstrations. I didn't know how to reach my friend, since no mobile and I didn't have her phone number till later in the evening. I managed to call a common friend and it happened that she had called him and i got the land line number i could reach her on. We both had this common friend's number cos he just installed a phone at his new appartment. I looked on my contact list on my mobile and discovered that I don't have my friend's home numbers except my friends since school days. I only had the number of 3 of my friends at work and i remembered the circumstance i asked for it (one cos i was in the middle of discussion then the mobile's battery ran out so he called me from his house, one cos there was problems in the network when at home and he was teleworking that day and the 3rd one mentioned previously). I remembered the old times, when I used to call my friends and one of their family members would answer. I discovered I still remember the phone numbers I knew by heart.
I wanted that day to go to the streets but my parents didn't like the idea and also after seeing that there is no way of communication, i was afraid to be out there without being able to tell my parents i'm fine.
Time passes by with more worrying news, suddenly we hear about a curfew ordered by the High Commander in Chief aka, the president.. I always heard this word without feeling its meaning. In my mind it was just people not going out to the streets.
The building of the National Democratic Party near the Egyptian Museum was burning as well as other buildings, police stations being torched, thieves or whatever they are called looting shops as if a sudden evil has been leached in the middle of life.
Around 6pm we heard that the President will make a speech.. it was about time, the country is going downhill, day after day without any comment from the Government.. the time passes by and still no Moubarak. Why is he taking all that time? Is he preparing his escape? Is he dead and they are trying to figure out how to convey this news to the people? Finally i went to sleep, but after an hour or so, my mom woke me up to hear the speech. After all that time waiting for him to speak, all he says is that he will change the government. What? After few days of anger and rage and protests and clashes and.... Why the government did not present their resignation in the first place after the first day of confrontations? I was too disappointed and at the same time, I felt this is not good at all and went back to sleep.

Thank God, the cellular networks came alive the following day, Saturday but still no internet.
I called friends to make sure they are fine, I received calls from other friends, I called my team and most important of all, I took the home telephone numbers of everybody I called just in case it happened again to have a mean of communication.
My brother went out to buy some medicaments and told me when he came back that the shop in the gas station near home was stolen. It is getting closer and closer to my home and my inner circle of comfort without feeling it coming. We also heard on TV about the looting of Carrefour. That was too much to take, trying to imagine the shops I used to buy things from emptied and destroyed as if some kind of storm has passed by leaving nothing behind like a tornado.
Saturday was going slowly, zapping from one channel to another, seeing the demonstrations and protests, hearing reports... That night, I understood what is really a curfew. The president has ordered the Military to go in the streets, the Police has disappeared, young guys went to the streets defend their neighborhood from vandalism and thieves, prisoners escaping from prisoners...
Earlier in the day, we decided to be prepared to anything. We put a big chain on the building door. We covered the iron door between the garage and the building with black sheets. We asked our neighbors to put their cars in our garage in case some people tried to destroy cars. I gathered my important papers in one place, preparing a little bag just in case we had to go rushing out as some scenarios trying to come alive and being formulated in my head.
The TV was not helping at all, was hearing people calling to ask for help, my brother was on the phone talking with his friends on streets, hearing about stories of people with guns firing, fights on going, people in my age and his age capturing thieves or violence.. from time to time hearing myself some gunshots far away.. it was a very long night and the dawn was too slow to come. One of my worst nights ever!! And yes, this is what a curfew meant. Feeling danger coming without knowing from which direction, fearing what might happen in the next moment, to be the next target.

The Sunday morning came and I managed to sleep for some hours.
I called my friends to see how their nights, to make sure they didn't face any problems while patrolling in the streets. I was proud of my friends as I discovered a new face in each one of them, the sense of responsibility towards their families and their neighborhood. I also discovered that you can always surprise yourself with something you never expected in your life to do if not for those unbelievable circumstances that you were put it.

The following days went slowly. Curfew hours increased day by day.
I went with my mom one day to buy some stuff from a nearby supermarket. It was the first time for me to go in the streets since all those events. I saw the young guys taking the responsibility of organizing the traffic. We were lucky to find a parking just in front of the supermarket. We didn't spend lot of time picking what was needed, but we waited in a long queue to pay. We began chatting with the ladies beside us in the queue. One was complaining there are no ATMs working (as most were vandalized or ran out of money) although she had only 500LE in the bank. Another was asking if they would accept visa card or not. Finally our turn came but they had only small plastique bags so we put all what we bought in the caddy back to our car.
These days i spend my time talking with my friends, watching the different channels on TV, the national ones and foreigners, trying to see who is right, who is biased. The new government was communicated. Still protesters in el Tahrir Square. Lot of rumors came out to the light that at the end I felt i was living in big conspiracies. Some times i was working, other times i was reading a book "Fall of Giant" which is by the way depicting the story of people from different countries during the 1st world war.. how they interact within the story till when the war is declared, how the countries started it, how political decisions are taken.. it's like what happening here in Egypt but in a wider scale. I don't remember really which day we heard about intruders in the Egyptian Museum but i was totally upset and angry and all what they could say, we are happy nothing was stolen, and what was broken will be restaured. I can't believe it, how they would treat this as if nothing happened? Seeing the traces of what happened on TV was so sad.

And so came February. I was waiting so much to end my January as it was the worst month ever in my life, not only because those events but for other circumstances.
The President made a remarkable speech on Tuesday night, also aired very late. I still didn't discover what is the secret behind that except making us wait. Anyway his speech had touched the heart of many. He announced that he will not run for another presidency campaign, some articles in the constitution to be changed and that he will continue till the next election and will die in this soil. Ok he didn't really give what the protesters wanted but things were a little bit moving even if too slow in my opinion. I was thinking then ok, that's not too bad for now, we can get through this...
Wednesday proved i was totally wrong. Attacks occurred on the peaceful protesters in a barbaric way. I couldn't believe my eyes what was aired on all the TVs. Is this my country? It was more like a war. People getting hurt in real life. I called my friends living there and it was totally a mess. I hoped this would soon but it didn't. I went to sleep around 1am and still fighting was on going. I was totally chocked and I really supported the protesters all the way long and wanted to see the end of this corrupted system that is causing all this troubles. It is not about staying in presidency or not. It is about committing to serve the country and its people.

The following days passed more or less peacefully. Friday was full of people coming with everywhere. I wished I was part of it. This time i didn't go but my heart was there. Internet was already back, and i felt happy to see friends outside Egypt sending me messages asking about me and my family. Internet was back and so back people posting on facebook but this time videos, photos, stories of what happened. But along the laughter and jokes came fights and disputes, people asking the protesters to leave as they had already gained something for the country, others asking everybody to go and protest... the voices became louder and louder.. so i decided to step away, not comment, not say my opinion.. not cos I was afraid, but cos at this point i was much more confused of what should be done next...

Finally, we are back to work today. I was really looking forward to go back to life. I know protests are still on going but they are not the cause to stop everything. I believe in the cause they are fighting for. I believe that this is for our Egypt that we want to be the best of all. I believe that their voice must be heard louder and louder but at the same time, life should go on. I was happy that i didn't have to drive by myself all the way to work. It was strange to see tanks at the gates of Smart Village, and i remembered few years ago when i was in Cote d'Ivoire and there was a tank stopping beside my car in the street..

And now, I can reply to my friend who asked me couple of weeks ago, why do you still live in this country and don't try to leave it? At that time i didn't have a clear answer, it was something other than my family, my friends, my work, my life... but i couldn't determine it at that time.. now i know, it is the feeling of being home, of being in your country that you want it to get better, that you can contribute and have a role in it, however small is.
I shall say thank you all, my friends and protesters.. this journey that is still on going made me discover new aspects. I don't know what would happen next or how will be the future but I'm sure that it would be bright because we all care about our country, and we regained our "egypcianity".

1 comment:

  1. I have seen similar things in Uganda and Congo, but never expected it will happen here.

    I couldn't imagine that the day would come when i have to defend my home and family with an old thick wooden stick and a pocket knife, standing at the door of my building.

    The next day I made my fire extinguisher ready for use, changing the building jammed lock myself and enforce the door with extra welded metal bars.

    What can i say, those are not our best days, I just hope as you hope that they are for the development of our country.

    Thanks for blogging the events, I will sure future reference this post, but will i smile when i read it or will i frown ? ... let's leave this for Future to decide.