I will be frank. I am pretty much illiterate when it comes to international affairs. I keep getting confused between Israel and Iran. To me, they are one and the same. One of them is always at war with Palestine. But I don’t know which one and I definitely don’t know what the two countries are fighting for anyway.
So when suddenly pictures of protestors crowding cities in Egypt started pouring all over newspapers, internet and television screens, I wondered what the fuss was all about. Till I did some reading and stuff, all I knew about Egypt was that it is the same place that has pyramids and stuff.
My reading tells me that, what has essentially happened in Egypt in the past few days is that the common citizens took to streets and squares and kept protesting until, two days ago, this Mubarak guy – the president of the country, quit. That is what the common citizens had been demanding for, since all these days of protest that started on 25th January 2011.
So this is what my reading told me and then I got curious. How often does it really happen that common citizens take to streets and squares, raise slogans and then lo – the president resigns? I understand military coups. I understand the opposition bringing down a parliament. And I understand US attacking a country saying – ‘we want to straighten things out in this country by sending our soldiers to replace the existing crazy government by one that listens to us, and therefore is the most democratic government in this world’. But I do not understand how a bunch of common citizens ambling and shouting on the streets, can ever force the President of a nation, in his thirty-bloody-eth year of rule, to leave.
So I dug deeper. I wanted to know how Mubarak got fucked up after nearly 30 years of continuous rule? Since when had the common citizens been trying to get rid of him – certainly not since he first became the president? Who organized these protests – is there an Egyptian Mahatma Gandhi behind this Egyptian civil disobedience movement?
As a starting point of my investigation, it was important to figure out if there was a clear ‘trigger’ for this civil revolt. In other words, I wanted to know what was the Egyptian equivalent of the gunpowder cartridge from our very own Revolt of 1857. By the way on this note, hi5 to all ya ICSE mates. Well, yeah , so was there a trigger for this one in Egypt? The answer is – yes. And what freaks me out is that the trigger is a Youtube video. Come back to read this post after you have seen the video.
If you have seen Rang de Basani, the entire imbroglio in Egypt is almost straight out of the movie. Yes, it did help that Cairo (and other cities where protests took place) had enough unemployed people who had all the time in this world to be on streets for days. Yes, it did help that just few weeks ago, similar civil protests in Tunisia had actually been successful in ousting it’s hated and corrupt leader. But what really brought a fucking million people on the streets of Egypt was the video that you just saw. And now that I know that, Asmaa Mahfouz is my new hero.