It is amazing that on January 24th 2011, if you ask anyone where Tahrir Square is, you would probably be faced with a blank look and a wondering stare. Today, February 2nd, Tahrir square is synonymous with Tiananmen square, with all the iconic images that will last a life time. From the young man standing in front of the water cannon to the twitter protestors being attached by camels and on hours back.
Like most people with access to a TV screen, I’ve been glued to the news since #Jan25. What started as a protest organised on a facebook page has turned to an event that will be remembered for decades to come. I’m not Egyptian, but you don’t have to be one to recognise the David and Goliath fight unfolding before you.
The first shock was the internet blackout, if there were any neutral followers of the news, they were totally converted against the current regime. Any government that “flips the switch” in that manner isn’t a government that can be trusted. The move which someone obviously not living in the 21st century took as a way to kill the movement served only to focus the attention of Everyone to what was unfolding in “Um Eldunia” as the Egyptians call their home land.
Normal people in the street in London were reading with disbelief that their favourite holiday destination has just plummeted into the dark ages with a push of a button! the image was relayed across the globe in a speed suiting the gravity of what has happened.
The momentum kept one, the 5 minutes in the evening news turned to 10 then to special coverage at lightning speed. Suddenly Egypt was on every channel and in every page. Egypt was back in every heart and on every tongue. I am not Egyptian, people around me didn’t realise why should what was happening there matter to me on a personal level? I couldn’t explain that for a Syrian, Egypt is a second homeland; that Egyptians are the closest people to us and no matter how much we might disagree, that affiliation can never go away.
Hours and minutes went by, events changed at such a speed no one expected or predicted, people were moving between highs and lows ever 140 characters. I kept smiling that the English speaking media that came with all possible translations for Tahrir square: Freedom, Liberty, and missing its correct name: Liberation square.
Change was coming, it was obvious like daylight and no one was even entertaining a hint of a thought that things in that great country will return to how they were on January 24th, suddenly there was something wonderful that the whole world can learn about the Middle East other than terrorism and disgrace. Then today happened.
Now, on February 2nd, things are more confused than ever, violence has broken out in Liberation square and a standoff there might end that wonderful thing with chaos and tears.
I’m not Egyptian but like all Egyptians I won’t be getting much sleep tonight. Whether you’re with or against #Jan25, no one can look him/herself in the mirror and say they’re with February 2nd.
God bless Egypt and God bless all Egyptians.