It’s Sunday morning. We’re still waiting.
In the run-up to the protests, rather than reading the Alaa Al-Aswany excerpt I’m supposed to be working on, I thought it would be useful to post a small collection of protest pamphlets/newspapers I’ve come across in the last few days. On Friday, Tamarrod organizers were handing out Irhal (Get out!) cards. I was heading back from the Nile with some of the other Casawiyys and managed to snag one through the window of our taxi.
Also on Friday, I came across a poster which reads, roughly, “Down with the regime of the religious leader.” It’s published by some publication called the Daily Independent Newspaper.
Here’s the newspaper I came across last week which I mentioned in a previous post, with the picture of Morsi and the headline: “The Devil’s Last Dance.”
And here’s one of the signs of the Tamarrod (Rebel) Campaign which we saw posted near our classes in Zamalek. “Inzil” means come down to the streets, i.e., come out and protest.
Though not related to these protests, a couple of blocks down the street from our apartment is a great piece of street art from the February 2012 protests here in Cairo. I mentioned it in my last post but it deserves a more complete explanation. The first word, Al-Shaeb, means “The People.” Underneath this, the artist wrote: “people’s revolution” and “people’s power” and below that: “Surrender the power to the People’s Assembly (one of the two representative bodies in Egypt’s government) on the 25th of January, 2012.” This article provides some context.
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Last night, as a way to distract ourselves, my roommate and I held a Syrian potluck dinner. About 10 guests showed up and people alternated between smoking on the balcony and drinking wine and watching snippets of the protests happening in Tahrir square and elsewhere on Al Jazeera. Two of our Egyptian friends said that they were heading out to the protests tomorrow, and one showed me a video of Sharia Tahrir, a street close to our house, while it was packed with people during the protests last year. I made some vague comment about how I hoped things would stay peaceful. He looked at me a little hesitantly, trying to decide how to explain what was on his mind.
It wasn’t that violence wasn’t an issue, he said. Everyone hoped that things remained peaceful, of course. It was that this moment, with all of its palpable potential for change, was about something bigger. The Tamarrod campaign collected 15 million signatures from people who were in favor of unseating Morsi – two million more than the number that voted him in. “This is something completely new, these protests,” he said.
I was inclined to agree; I have never seen protests this well-organized or this large in the States. And though the American media doesn’t reflect it, there is an air of excitement here. The people I have met have not been talking about civil war, but change. Improvement. A major shift in the ruling power. Of course, my impressions are dictated by the people I’ve spent time with over the last few weeks, and they are almost all in the Tamarrod/opposition camp. What will happen later today remains anyone’s guess.