Dec 8, 2013
Dispatches From Tahrir Square
Posted on Feb 13, 2011
The following, written by an American living in Cairo, describes what it felt like to be in Tahrir Square the day the people of Egypt fired their dictator.
Feb. 12, 10:42 p.m.
The people have cleaned up Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) and have been celebrating, and as the wild exuberance settles, people are talking and brainstorming about the reorganization and creating viable alternative systems to start forming platforms and programs and putting up candidates for the election.
There are still people in the square, tents are still up and some claim they will stay until Mubarak’s government is dissolved and until their other demands are met and assured, like the date of elections. … The military is keeping order benevolently and is loved by the people—for the soldiers are the people; they are drafted and may served one or two years—but no one knows what the military is deciding in regarding to policies.
Some streets have opened up, and today, Sunday (our weekend is Friday and Saturday), is the first workday of the week. Everything should be opened today—I intend to go to the bank.
Now we have to see what will happen; the military gives little statements often but these are very short and unspecific. However, the people are happy and proud of Egyptians and the country that they love, and happy to go back to work and reclaim their lives and test the air to feel a clear lightening of the weight that had been on their shoulders for all these years.
Feb. 12, 2:24 a.m.
* * *
WE DID IT!!!
By god we did it—against all odds, this was the most historically important event in our lifetime. I am so lucky to live this.
We were at the apartment of the mother of my film-director friend near Tahrir Square today with a bunch of people, taking a break from the packed bodies in Tahrir—hundreds of thousands and more coming—when we got Mubarak’s stepping-down speech.
We jumped up and ran back to Tahrir Square before the entire population of Cairo would come.
People didn’t know yet in the street and were just beginning to hear—we honked and yelled.
We left the car next to a tank with people surrounding and yelling, smiling and euphoric, to the soldiers: “Military one hand!”
The soldiers were smiling, the people were massing as we left the car unlocked, window cracked, my dead video camera, leather jacket, food, cigarettes, keys on the seat in plain view, in [an overall] crowd of maybe millions at that moment—didn’t worry about it. Then we crossed the bridge in the first rush of the crowd.
We wormed our way through to the area where my friends from Egyptian cinema, TV and music had their area and many had been staying, sleeping there the whole time.
It was amazing, it was all amazing, it will be amazing, but it is 4:45 a.m. I am sooooo effing tired, gonna pass out now. I’ll write about it all tomorrow—so much to tell about the Muslims and the Christians together one hand, the PEOPLE TOGETHER!! Transition coming.
Lauren Unger-Geoffroy is an international writer who lives in Cairo. In addition to being a writer and contributor to Truthdig, she is a singer, composer and actress.
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