Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ramallah Reaction to Egypt's Awesomeness

After an excess of whoops and cheers and lindy-hopping and spontaneous hugging of whoever was in arm's reach, the family-aunts and cousins included-settled down to watch the reaction from Arab cities. There was a crowd over at the Manara square, and my uncle's wife agreed to take me, my sister and my cousin over there. We were actually dressed for another cousin's joyous occasion, the first in a series of predetermined events before the actual wedding. I swapped heels for my chucks before we left, unlike my uncle's wife who chose to stay on the outer circle around the Manara once we arrived.

The ubiquitous Abu Ali was once again busy working his vocals on somebody's shoulders, and the two big flags of Egypt and Palestine were being enthusiastically waved. Families were there, little kids on their parents' shoulders, a few young women, but the majority of course were the men. At first glance it actually looked as if the photographers and journalists on top of the lions numbered more than the people on the ground. Once again though, not all the people were out there solely to celebrate Egypt's toppling of its dictator; the young men who loiter around Ramallah's streets at night were simply drawn to the crowd. It was these young men who turned the festive mood into something of a mas5ara/مسخرة with the emphasis on خرة. No doubt they must have thought it terribly amusing to sing silicone mess Haifa Wahby's Boos il Wawa (Kiss the booboo) amid celebratory chants of the Egyptian people removal of Mubarak.
Omar Barghouti was holding this up.

I decided it was time to leave. We barely spent 15 minutes there.

The next day at university, the students' reaction was absolutely infuriating. Not all of them, but there's a large number who believe that what happened in Egypt is Egypt's business alone and that we shouldn't be celebrating their cause because that won't help us. One even remarked dryly, "Hey, maybe the gas prices will then lower." They honestly believe that what happened in Egypt will not affect us at all. I HATE their cynicism. I LOATHE their pessimism. Thank god other students acknowledge that the revolution in Masr, Umm il Dunya (Mother of the World) will drastically change the face of the region. Thank god they understand what this means for Gaza-the collective punishment will finally by lifted. Thank god they hope for the best for the Egyptian political landscape.

The hardest part is yet to come for Egypt-refer back to Ali Abunimeh's link on the previous post. I just wish more people here would be positive about this momentous change. I remember a few days after the Tunisian revolution, watching the news with my mother. We both voiced our thoughts at the same time-If only Egypt would move, imagine what would happen to Arabs everywhere! I cynically replied, "Yeah right. They'll be out protesting one day, about three hundred of them, they'd get beaten up by the police, then they'd go home." It feels amazing to lose that cynicism.

PS There are more hilarious links found every day. Check this out! Also, I feel pretty proud to have read this in Arabic.
PPS I've meant to post this a long time ago. My friend from Saudi Arabia lives and studies in Egypt at the MSA University in Cairo and at my request wrote up a brief account (edited slightly by me) of what she went through:

9ra7a.. it was complicated..

let me tell u wut happened...

my friend lives with her bro..

he travelled on the 27th so she asked me to sleep over at her house that night so i can help her pack and so she wouldn't be alone.. my parents said no 1st cause they heard that there r gonna b riots... but my friend's relative said it would be a very calm 1 hour thing.. bs so i woke up on friday morning (28th) and my service kan sos at like 9... 6anasht w nomt... around 11 bardo kan sos... fa i asked my friend... galat hers is sos too... fa we put on the news... and it was ok... bs faj2a it started gettin really bad... and i freaked out cause i couldnt contact my mom and tell her that i won't come home or that im ok and what not... then 2 of my friend's brother's friends.. they came over to check up on us... and i started crying cause there was a curfew and i couldn't go home... fa one of them went to pick up my mom and sisters cause baba w 3bdullah r in jeddah and were home alone... he {the friend} wasnt supposed to go! bs 7mdilla nothing happened.. he brought them to my friend's house.. and i dunno why but his phone only got service but he could only receive calls.. so his bro called from saudi.. and i gave him my dads number... and he was like go home now and get ur passport and as soon as the curfew is over... go to the aiport... fa me and the 2 guys and my friends and mama and my sisters went home around 4 am... kan fe like 4 tanks next to my house fa i freaked out ! anyway we left at about 9... on r way to the airport... we found 3 buildings on fire... bayen ennu from last night theyre still burning bs no1 is puttin them out... w a few police trucks on fire on the side of the road... w tanks every here and there... bs other than that we were ok... the airport was reallllyyy crowded.. we gfot there at 11 and got on a plane around 5... it started gettin bad while we were at the airport... 50000 ppl were at medan al t7reeer... and 7mdilla right after we left.. all the raping and stealin and attacks started and wut not...
 my friend just called me.. she lives in alex... she says its a million times worse than cairo.. all her neighbors r in the streets with guns and knives and sticks and all that

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