28th January 2011 in Egypt

Yesterday was a very long day for me, I was up from 7 am trying to get as much news as possible.  Egypt being under total lock down communication wise, I had to rely on AlJazeera and tweets.  Aljazeera Mubasher was shut down and Aljazeera and AlJazeera English were doing live broadcasts all day.  There was nothing else to do but follow the news and retweet and tweet about it.

For the first time in recent history the Egyptians have really taken to the streets, the last time being in 1977 when Sadat wanted to increase prices.  People have been protesting since Tuesday the 25th and what was supposed to be a 1 day protest has turned into 5 days of protests.  Thursday night rumors started circulating that phones and the internet would be shut down.  They had already been blocking social media sites and by Friday morning they were completely cut off.  It was as if Egypt did not exist anymore.  The idea was if people could not communicate they would not take to the streets, but people were already decided on protesting after Friday prayers.  And that is exactly what they did.

Tear gas, rubber bullets and hosing did not stop them from standing firm.  There are also reports of live ammunition being used.  And by the evening the riot police had pulled out and the army started going into the streets.

Mubarak did not make a statement until after midnight.  In my opinion they were either in total chaos or they wanted looting and chaos to start in the streets ( I also beleive they were the ones causing the theft and vandalism ) so they could justify use of exccessive force and more violent retaliation.  A speech that was annoying and maddening, it did not calm the people.  Almost thirty years under his rule have taught people not to believe or trust the government.  Why would a new cabinet be any different from the ones before.

People don’t want reform they want real change.  And right now they are still waiting and fighting for it.  Rumors are circulating that a 4pm curfew has been implemented and at the same time people are heading to Tahrir square for another protest. Will the army interfere?  Will they fire at citizens?  Or will they protect them?  All questions that are burning my head.  Oh and state media?  It is very reminscent of what it was like in 1967 (el naksa) with totally skewed and misleading reporting.

If you want real news and information then you can check the news websites.

This is my own personal account and feelings that I am documenting because I know that whatever happens today, history is usually rewritten and modified later.  It is also the only outlet I have left.  My relatives and friends out of Egypt are also stressed and anticipating what is yet to come.  My husband and I were glued to the TV and the computer all of yesterday until we heard Mubarak’s speech.  I think my blood pressure went thru the roof then and refuses to come back down.

I managed to call my mother this morning.  My mother and sister live in Alex and even though they are stressed and slightly scared, I know my mother understands that the situation was not only inevitable but is willing to pay the price.  You see even if right now the president decides to step down, Egypt has a very long way until things stabilize and even after that a longer time for things to turn around and real reform starts to happen.  Just thinking of the stock market’s 12 billion dollar loss is enough to make me shiver.  Which brings me to another question, why was trading suspended for one hour and then resumed again?  In such a situation why didn’t they close it altogether to save the stock market from this kind of downfall?  Other questions like why did it take the president 4 days before he addressed the people?  Who is a good presidential candidate later on?  How will people trust communications companies later on?  The fear always was that these companies were spying on the people for the government, now people will not trust them at all.  I understand that these are companies that have to follow orders, but they are also huge multinational entities that must have some kind of leverage.  Which then brings us back to the constitution that does not really protect us.  Wait it should protect us, but we are under Emergency law.  Which they couldn’t place us under because we’ve been under it for the last century or something.   Oh, the same constitution that states in the case of the absence of the president we have 60 days to elect a new one!

There are positive outcomes from the situation, regardless of what happens in the end.  The first being that the Egyptians have decided to take matters into their own hands.  A whole generation of Egyptians (anyone under 30) has never known any president other than Husni Mubarak, myself included.  We have been fed lies for years that ‘ele ne3rafi a7san me ele mane3rafhoosh’  what we know is better than the unknown or that the Muslim brother hood would take over and turn Egypt into another Saudi Arabia with their Wahabist ideas.  I am starting to feel that this was all a conspiracy.  After the Muslim Brotherhood’s obvious lack of involvement or ability to lead the people they are no longer a real threat.   If a real democratic election takes place I don’t think that would be a problem at all.  Another really good thing, is that people have started forming local watch groups to keep their neighborhoods safe.  I watched in awe yesterday as protesters cordoned the Museum to keep it safe.  The museum is not just an Egyptian museum, it houses many priceless artifacts and pieces, it would be a colossal cultural loss for all humanity if it were to be under any kind of threat.  Not to mention that these are people demonstrating while they have not leader, they are not part of any organization but they all want the same thing, basically a better Egypt.

So many unanswered questions, that only time will answer.

I know that half of this is totally incoherent babbling, but I am miles away, I can’t protest myself and don’t have anyone else to discuss it with except my poor husband who is probably just as stressed out and confused as I am.  We are Egypt loving Egyptians who would love to go back, who would love to see Egypt how it should be and not how it actually is.  So even though we are not in the Egyptian streets right now helping our country men, we are still very worried about them, praying for them and trying to do anything we can.

P.S. And to my almost 3 year old daughter who does not fully understand what is going on on:  I hope that when you are older I can tell you the story of the day Egypt woke up from a very long slumber and said no.

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