Since Friday, there have been huge protests going on in Cairo and all over Egypt. There are a lot of rumors; some say it might turn into Part 2 of the Egyptian Revolution (don’t know what the January 25th Revolution was about? check out The Revolution: an overview). We are safe and Rushdi is quiet now, but everyone is on high-alert. Here is what I know about what is going on.
Why people are protesting:
- SCAF, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been running the interim government since Mubarak stepped down, refuse to comply with the people’s wishes to submit a date when they will hand over executive power to a civilian council.
- SCAF also are still trying civilians arrested during the Revolution in military courts.
- Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Silmi’s draft constitution includes a provision that grants the army exclusive power over the budget and interior affairs.
- People are fed up, seeing that little has changed since January 25th.
“Ok guys. Don’t panic. You know the drill. We have been through this before. If you are joining the demonstrations, then take Coke or Pepsi and a mask for the tear gas, sunglasses and a hat for rubber bullets, a light first aid kit, water bottles, candy and a blanket. If you are staying home, then lock up and stock on water bottles and dry food. And you better look for that club or whatever makeshift weapon we used in January defending our neighborhoods. And for God’s sake, get some cash from the nearest ATM before some clown decides to turn off all kinds of networks. And, since they might cut off the internet, don’t waste the last minutes of your cyberlife playing games on FB.”
We foreign students have been warned to stay close to home in case things should escalate. Our neighborhood is very quiet, as usual. I wonder often whether I hoped for this kind of suspense when I decided to go to Egypt, despite a revolution in progress. I am inspired by the incredible possibility of a people raising their voices in the pursuit of a greater good. January 25th therefore only solidified my drive to come here. But this morning, our guide rang our doorbell at 7:30 to tell us the news. Lying in bed in my groggy state, I calmly assessed whether I would be able to pack everything within an hour to evacuate. This was definitely an overreaction, but in this country and in this state of affairs things can change by the minute. I hope at least by spreading the word (a teeny-tiny part of this social media revolution!) I can hold on to what inspired me to come here in the first place.
أنا أقف معك، يا مصر
I stand with you, Egypt