(The following account is from Youssef, an Egyptian, a writer/journalist, and a Coptic Christian in his late-twenties.)
Feb 4, 2011
Hosni Mubarak clearly doesn’t [care] about the pleads[sic] of the brave Egyptians protesting in Tahrir Square for a week now. He is paying thugs to throw rocks at us. He is using the state media to fuel other naive Egyptians –addicted to humiliation and slavery– against them. He is using many dirty tricks to crush the hope for a reformed Egypt. He is clinging so strongly to the chair because he knows if he lets go he will not judged lightly for the crimes he has committed against Egypt in the long agonizing thirty years of his rule.
At times it seems that only international pressure can make him leave and if he doesn’t give in to that pressure and step down soon enough, he is determined to take Egypt into a civil war. After what I have witnessed in Tahrir Square last night and the police abandoning its role to provide safety in the streets a week ago, I can say with confidence that this war Egyptians will wage against each other will be a brutal barbaric one, a war with sticks and stones, a war where no rules apply. People have been forming local committees to protect their streets from the much hyped-up accounts of attacks the outrageous number of prisoners that the police have set free to roam streets.
Cairo’s Tahrir Square saw a 20 hour medieval war, complete with people banging on lamp posts, war drumrolls, and the non-stop war cry “Allah Akbar” (God is Great). Thousands were injured from flying rocks and Molotov cocktails, and they kept on pushing forward and fighting off the thugs.
What happened on January 25, when thousands joined a Cairo protest with the police and State Security simply vanishing afterwards in Cairo and most governorates and the people occupied Tahrir Square, was entirely unexpected. This demo was not only a call for regime change. It was a revolt against the diseases of despair and helplessness that Egyptians have been inflicted by for decades. All what we needed was someone to inspire us. Thanks Tunisia.
Although the people fended off the remains of the regime thugs who posed as pro-Mubarak protestors, after I left Tahrir Square in the morning the reaction of the people in Cairo streets makes me hesitate to say that the battle was truly won. Our taxi driver was at odds with what the anti-Mubarak protestors were doing, and several business owners shared the same sentiment. He agreed with what the state TV was broadcasting: unless Mubarak stays, Egypt will not recover from chaos. The cheap propagated lie that the pro-change movement is really a call for destruction instigated by foreign hands: Iranians, Hizbullah, Qataris, Hamas, and Israelis.
Throughout the day, doubts were confirmed that this lie is gaining momentum and becoming impossible to stop. News of Egyptian mobs attacking journalists, innocent foreigners, and anyone really who doesn’t look Egyptian were evidence to the real destructive force these rumors the Egyptian government has.
Suspicion of being an “agent” was enough to move people to attack and arrest anyone unfortunate enough to be walking in Egyptian streets today. “Agents” would then be delivered to the army which usually let them off easily.
The tension in the Egyptian street today has never been so unbearably sharp. Everyone is a suspect. No one was safe.
The reason why Mubarak was able to abuse the situation and escalate it to a stage very near that of civil war is the state the country has reached in his reign. State media has been poisoning and brainwashing a whole generation of Egyptians. Its thugs have been hitting peaceful protests of any kind very harshly. The country was in a state of emergency and its laws were continuously broken by policemen since 1981. Election results were forged and the parliament not once represented the people.
Liberty is something foreign and dangerous to Egyptians under Mubarak’s rule. People were clearly not ready for this revolt. I hope Mubarak will be forced to resign tomorrow, otherwise a bloodbath might be in the cards for Egypt. But I count on the courage and resilience of the hundred thousand Egyptians or so sleeping in Tahrir Square as I write this to overcome this Egyptian divide one power-hungry dictator has created, and the last terror card he has saved for tomorrow.
In a few hours, the fate of this country will be decided. May God help us defeat oppression. May we achieve what we have been chanting for the past ten days: “The people want the regime to fall.”