Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ya Misr.... The Revolution Continues....

Dokki, Cairo: 7PM

Midan al-Galaa at around 6pm. Photo Courtesy of
Nav S'okay.
As the sun sets on a long day in Cairo, I sit watching al-Jazeera, my computer propped up on my knee. The call to prayer just sounded and the image from Tahrir is a mass open air mosque with thousands of people bowing their heads together. For most of day, I have struggled to pretend to do work while switching between facebook and twitter, reading the live feeds as they come in from around the country. While most of Egypt seems to be out in the streets, I spent the day confined to my apartment in Dokki due to security concerns.

Cairo. Photo Courtesy of Ahmed Farag.
This morning I watched event with cautious optimism but still waiting for the other shoe to drop. We had been inundated with so many emails cautioning us against potential violence and clashes. The New York Times refereed to Cairo as a tinder box on the brink of civil war. Clearly, those writers were not actually in Cairo speaking with actual Egyptians. While there were a few disturbing reports of armed members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the violence of the last few days hanging over the demonstration, this predicted chaos has yet to materialize. As the afternoon wore on that optimism shift to a kind of infectious joy mixed with a hint of remorse. The protests exceeded everyone's expectations with people pouring from all over the city. My only regret being that I am not out on the streets with what appears to be most of Egypt. Images of Midan at-Tahrir show an endless sea of people and noise, flags and banner waving in the wind. Another group of demonstrators, marched towards the presidential palace, filling the street as far as the eye can see. Some commentators are even claiming that these demonstrations are the largest in Egypt's history and bigger than those in January 2011, which toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

Throughout the day,  I periodically checked in with friends participating in the demonstrations over social media. All of them expressed the excited they felt in the demonstrations, describing them as a wonderful experience of comradeship. For them, it seems as if they are waking form a long nightmare to find Egypt united, throwing around the term revolution with ease. They asked me to describe the scenes that I was watching on TV since it was impossible to get a sense of the size of the demonstrations from the ground. Even as the sun sets, the protests show no sign of winding down and will most likely continue long into the night with fireworks lighting the sky.

Alexandria. Photo Courtesy of Moustafa Alaa El-din Badawy.
In spite of the inspirational nature of these demonstrations, the way forward is less than clear. No one seems to know the next step. Most people seem confident that Morsi will resign quickly after this outpouring of opposition. However, I have never known leaders to relinquish the reigns of power so easily. I am apprehensive that this optimism may turn to frustration and possibly violence without a clear path forward. In spite of these reservations, I am determined to enjoy the moment with most of the rest of Egypt.

Tomorrow is a new day... Egypt is rising

الديمقراطية هي الحل