Following #Jan25 has become a compulsion and via Tweetdeck my eyes are spinning as the updates unfurl at warp speed.
Most fascinating are the varying accounts: during Arabic class I clasped by htc behind the page on “the family with a brother in the army” (we decided for the sake of timeliness that they would be Egyptian) and I discovered that in certain areas the police exchanged chocolates and roses with protestors, while in Suez women were out in force hurling pots and pans at shirta.
As Tweeters we growled at the fact that “These men in black (police) beating pro-democracy protesters receive $1.5 billion a year from Obama” (via @3arabawy) and observed as more rendez-vous points were schedules.
The most inspiring and moving act of courage was captured on a mobile phone (and takes place around 1 min 20 secs) on Kasr el-Aini, one of Cairo’s main avenues leading up to Tahrir square, location of a key demonstration:
Only the stoniest of hearts could resist the surge of awe when the white-hood protester steps out.
In one swoop they then dragged film maker Hala Galal, her husband Samy Hossam the script writer, and myself. They slapped Hala on the face, and almost broke her knee in the process of dragging her to a hired microbus. Samy Hossam was beaten, and his shirt was torn as they dragged him to the van too.
With me, they grabbed my hair, beat me in the back, on my leg and then my face. They dragged me to the microbus too. Throughout it all, they sprayed us with tear gas or something like that — it had a pungent smell and it made it very hard for us to breath.
The microbus left instantly and kept roaming side dark streets in down town, while the two police thugs kept insulting and threatening us and calling us bad names: “We will show you”, they said, “Because of you we haven’t slept for two days,”. “You bastards….”
Scarily, many were reporting the use of odourless tear gas that caused lasting pain in the eyes.
Undoubtedly a traumatic experience, my inner journalist swoons at Lina’s kudos for holding it together to bring the following account to the world.
And most of all, to remind us why Egypt should never give up.