Yesterday as I was browsing Facebook I noticed an announcement on the group “AUCians for Egypt” (which I strongly encourage all AUCians to join) stating that anyone who has “written anything related to the 25th of Jan revolution and would like to get it published in auc times’ special issue” to please send in their contributions. This announcement reminded me of a piece that I meant to write for maybe 6 months now and gave me the push to get it done. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a strong passion for reading and writing. It all stemmed from my amazing teachers back when I was younger, especially when I was in Hungary. And this amazing habit continued with me as I grew older.
So, I sat down and made sure to write my piece before the deadline and I finally got it done. I hope you all like it, it’s not that long really since I had to stick to the word count limit that was set but please do send me your comments:
” Since 25th January 2011, most those I know speak about what they experience on the streets of Egypt day in and day out. From the lack of police and security presence, to the different tactics that bullies (baltageya) use to rob people of their cars and belongings, to how the uprising showed people’s true colors to who’s electing who for parliament and/or the presidency. Rarely has anyone asked me how I see the Revolution from where I am, on the other side of the world.
When the revolution began, I was living in the Kingdom of Bahrain. My second born was only 3 months old. I would put him to sleep and then stay up voluntarily till 3 a.m. to watch the news. My husband would be at work smsing me the latest news he’d heard, he knew I’d be busy with the kids and my business to be able to follow the news closely. But I definitely was following the news; I followed it 21 hours a day. I wept and found myself emotionally praying on 2nd February when I saw those traitors on horseback and camels attacking the protesters. I felt my blood pressure spike when waited to hear Mubarak say that he’s leaving, one week before he actually did, only to hear him come out and boldly say that he’s supporting the revolution and condemns the brutal actions taken against the protesters. And I don’t think I was ever as happy as when I heard that he’s leaving, we immediately sprung up and headed towards the embassy to celebrate with our counterparts. Although there was no one there to greet us, we all made ourselves welcome and rejoiced together, young and old, Egyptians and non-Egyptians, Muslims and Christians! You could see happiness and hope in every single person’s eyes, a sight I have never seen in my 28 years on this Earth! Not to mention how the locals reacted to our uprising; whenever we were stopped at one of the checkpoints posted by the Island Shield Forces and they’d see on our ID that we’re Egyptian, they’d tell us how great Egypt is and how they respect us for our courage to revolt against our oppression.
Then things started to feel like a roller-coaster ride; one good day followed by a bad one, a day bringing news of hope followed by a day full of sorrows. I eventually started to feel overwhelmed especially after hearing nothing but bad news from my Egyptian friends in Bahrain and those back home. We consciously made a decision that, for the first time since we got married, I’ll leave my husband behind and go check things out for myself. When I went back home I saw a different Egypt. I saw the Egyptian flag displayed proudly everywhere. I saw encouraging phrases spray painted on the walls and pavements all over the country. I saw young men and women taking their brooms to the streets and collecting the garbage voluntarily. I saw statues and portraits of Mubarak with his face spray painted in black or chipped off. But the most significant change I saw was how everyone seemed happier, more hopeful and generally optimistic. I was even more proud to be an Egyptian.
In July 2011, we decided to go visit the USA and then eventually decided to move there. The situation was, and still remains, completely different here. There is nothing about Egypt on the news, only when there’s something about the NGOs setup there does it get mentioned. The newspapers are a bit more reliable, they mention the Egyptian people’s struggles with the current system from time to time. But the most reliable mediums for us are Facebook and Twitter, there we can find all the news we need to know.
So, witnessing the Egyptian Revolution from afar is not as easy as it sounds. We are connected, we are concerned, we feel the same pain our counterparts back home feel and we participate in rallies and chant Egypt’s name all around the globe. We are Egypt’s ambassadors abroad; we did not betray the country by not being there physically because we are there in every other way possible.”