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they beat me up again, they broke my glasses again, my soul almost broke this time, I cried in the middle of it all.
but I'm cool now, I can think rationally. we knew for a while that the judges won't do it, their decision while not the spectacular show of force we craved is not a defeat. Mubarak will win, but we'll be there to document the forgery and abuses, we'll be there to deny him the mandate he so desperately seeks, and we'll be there to learn and gain new experiences and get ready for the next battle.
I'm no fool, I never believed a movement of 2000 is going to achieve much. I looked at the small victories, the subtle changes and saw hope. but deep inside an irrational being was dreaming of immediate victory, instant freedom. that creature would refuse to believe it's the beginning of a process, that thing would refuse to be cynical, realistic, content or adult.
on thursday the funky socialists-muslim brotherhood coalition thing organized their third protest (photos).I was never enthusiastic about it so I missed the first 2 protests. but this time I thought "what the hell I must go and experience a proper multithousands protest". alas it was not to be. the ikhwan sent no more than 200 protesters and it sucked big time.
Youth for change where there, so naturally we had to do something rash. yalla lets go distribute leaflets in the street (an act that is seldom done). around 7 of us hit Ramsis street, and start handing out leaflets to buses, microbuses, taxis, trucks, private cars, pedestrians and of course security.
tab3an security didn't like what we where doing but with all the cameras around and stuff they let it go.
then comes friday, the moment of truth, the judges meeting. we gather on the steps of the journalists syndicate at 2pm (photos), it is so hot I think we won't be able to stay there for long. security line is thin but no one is trying to claim the street. it's a small protest, not much energy or hope, everyone is talking about how the judges will not boycott.
Kamal khalil has a weird slogan, المجد للقضاة، العار للطغاة (Glory be to judges and shame to the tyrants), it sounds very stupid, like something a badly dressed Pharaohnic monk would say in one of our horrible low budget historical movies.
Shabab decide to hit the street and distribute leaflets again, I'm not invited to join this time for some reason. this timesecurity fails to exercise maximum restrain (hahahahaha, 7'7'7'7'7'7'7') and in a minute they are surrounded by hundreds of central security soldiers. it takes some time for the rest of the protesters to understand what is going on.
By the time we realize they need our help the barricade is strengthened by even more hundreds of soldiers. we try to break the barricade, but this time it's a half hearted effort, most of the protesters avoid the friction and keep a very safe distance, it feels so depressing.
I feel caged, I move from one end of the barricade to the other, keep pushing. we can't see the 7 protesters anymore security is squeezing them, we got no idea what is going on, they could be killed and we wouldn't know.
I go crazy, a handful of us push at the steel barrier, what looks like 50 soldiers push back, we raise the barrier, scream heave and push until we make a tiny opening. I wait for the thunder of protesters flooding the street and turning this tiny opening into a big gap, but it never comes.
oh shit, an officer approaches the opening and starts giving orders to fill it with even more soldiers and more street barricades. I loose it, I jump at him, not sure what I had in mind, don't really need to make a decision, at the moment of impact soldiers drag me by my hair, and the officer starts beating. I scream, not out of pain, I scream because I want my voice heard.
Mohammed Sharkway jumps to my rescue, he is exchanging blows with the officer, people are dragging me away from the soldiers, restraining me. I try to move back towards the officer, again not sure what I would do, I stop for a moment and realize the rest of the demonstration finally joined us, most of us are in the street, some are still keeping a safe distance.
I attack again, get dragged by my hair and beaten again, get rescued again, loose my glasses again.
this time the soldiers are retreating, leaving the street for us, this time the officer attacks from behind, I'm rescued again, before they leave us security sprays mace on some protesters, maybe we should bring mace next time too.
and then it settles in, DESPAIR, it eats at my heart, it eats at my brain and I stand there in the middle of the just liberated street and cry, people hug me, people touch me, I start feeling the pain and I cry, I scream there is no hope, you won us a victory, we claimed the street, but there is not hope, it's over, GRIEF sweeps me.
we sit down in the street, Kamal Khalil leads the chanting and singing, he is witty at times, energy returns, maybe we are not defeated yet, then he shouts GLORY BE TO JUDGES and the despair kicks in again.
there is no deus ex machina! the fight will not be over in one day. hell! removing Mubarak is just the first step, it's not even our final goal.
GLORY BE TO JUDGES, and then we receive a message that they are very grateful for our support, but could we please fuck off and leave the place so they can have their meeting in peace?
yeah thanks for the soap folks.
I'm being irrational, I know, but my naive beast received a fatal blow, I'm overcompensating.
we sit for a while, chant for a while, joke for a while, take pictures for a while, one thing that stands out, one experience I'll never forget is solidarity. you get a beating, be it big or small and you'll receive tremendous support, thanx guys, I'm proud to be counted among you.
in the middle of it all, I remember the discussions about direct action and violence that where going on at the time of the battle for Seattle (yes some of us still remember Seattle). I remember how I used to read from a safe distance and dare to have an opinion.
Nabil El Ezabi, head of cairo security is back and this time he took off his jacket, taking fashion tips from from Mubarak? or maybe taking off the jacket is a new political trend related somehow to reform. I shout at him عقبال اللباس but can't muster the courage to actually go and say it in his face, I had my fight with him before enough pointless heroics for today (besides I lost a significant amount of hair by being dragged around don't want to loose more).
few minutes before the real meeting starts we leave, all the bloggers convene at our place in faisal, we have an interesting discussion about socialism, the movement, the muslim brotherhood, class awareness in Egypt, their collective hate of the electronica music I like, TEATRO, Dream Club, and just about anything you can think of, I relax a bit (alcohol is good).
I find out the judges decisions by phone, I realize it isn't as bad as it looks, I contemplate my options, now I'm going to vote, I'll be voting for Ayman Nour since he got the best program, and I'll definatly join in the monitoring efforts, I'm contemplating joining as an official party representative (they are allowed representatives in each polling station), but I'm still thinking about it, maybe I should jump from one place to another.
I'm not sure how I'm going to handle kefaya and shabab, they insist on a boycott, and it doesn't make much sense IMO.
The day ends in a very positive tone me and Manal visit a dear friend eat some funky Indian food, eat great ice cream and chat about children and art with a bit of technology and politics mixed in.
My naive beast is back to dreaming utopian dreams, it might have sobered up a bit when it comes to democracy and politics, but that's only one revolution I'm involved in.