EGYPT — February 27, 2011 — Since the eruption of the demonstrations on January 25, 2011, many Egyptians are living in a nightmare of insecurity. The demonstrations surprisingly covered almost every one of the 29 governorates.
Those governorates, including Sinai where the city of Suez witnessed the most tragic events, where the site of blood baths as the anger of the demonstrators escalated.
After two days of turmoil, there was the burning of all the police stations of this city.
The official number of deaths was more than three hundred and sixty five and thousands of injured people are everywhere in Egypt.
In Cairo, I live just 10 minutes from Tahrir Square and gunshots were heard throughout the nights of the revolution. All mothers, including myself, worried about their children, especially if they were teenagers, who most of the time would not tell the truth to their parents.
I myself was wondering how much my two daughters were involved in the Tahrir demonstrations, whether they were protesting or providing their colleagues with food or medicine or God knows what else!
In the second week of the demonstrations before President Mubarak stepped down, curiosity brought lot of people out, wanting to visit the Tahrir Square. Unfortunately the thugs of the ruling party attacked some innocent people.
Even with the danger, still more people were interested in visiting Tahrir Square. This is when I decided to go to the center of the revolution and see for myself.
As I crossed the bridge walking amongst the demonstrators, it was a life changing experience.
What did I see? I saw the most civilized of demonstrations.
Groups of people playing music, others were dancing. Some young painters were painting in different corners of the square signs and pictures that embodied their demands.
I saw perhaps for the first time groups of young people sweeping and cleaning the street. It might sound inappropriate to describe what I saw as a PEOPLE CARNAVAL, but nonetheless that was the atmosphere.
I found myself not worrying about my daughters, as, interestingly enough, I felt safe among the demonstrators.
Then on February 11, millions of Caireens again rushed to Tahrir Wquare to share in the special celebrationheld after the Egyptians heard about Mubarak stepping down. My two teenage girls rushed to Tahrir Square with their flags; A few minutes later I followed them.
As I crossed the bridge to Tahrir, I heard gun shooting and I saw fireworks, the streets were already jammed with people representing different classes and age groups, all together, waving flags and chanting slogans, kissing each other and hugging: They were passing candies and dates, sharing foods of celebration with all other peoples of Egypt.
Young people were dancing on top of the army’s tanks. Everywhere people were congratulating each other.
I believe that Mubarak’s three decade era will be seen as the most controversial era in the modern history of Egypt. It is true that Mubarak kept peace with Israel; it is true that tourism flourished.
It is also true that Mrs. Mubarak dedicated her life to develop cultural affairs; she was behind almost all the successful cultural projects from the library of Alexandria to all the mKKuseums, public libraries in Egypt.
Mubarak’s era witnessed the building of important infrastructure, bridges, telephones and IT networks but unfortunately, the most important component - the average Egyptian - was totally forgotten.
No wonder that the bubble of suppressed anger exploded, millions of demonstrators won, but we will have to figure out what comes next after February 11.
Anwaar Abdalla, Ph.D. Helwan University, is a native of Cairo, Egypt and lecturer at Helwan Unv. Ms. Abdalla is also in demand as a lecturer on Egyptian history, Muslim culture and the antiquities and the sites and history of ancient Egypt.
The Communities are very happy to welcome Dr. Abdalla to our contributors.
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