Egypt’s Revolution – Told by Eyewitnesses

Hosni Mubarak

Image by robertxcadena via Flickr

As many of you are aware, I am of Egyptian origin, I was born in Cairo to a Coptic Christian Family and was raised in the UK until 4 years ago when I moved to California.  I still have lots of family and close friends living there and the past weeks events have been horrific from both a political perspective but more importantly from a human perspective.  No doubt the Egyptian voices are finally being heard by the world through demonstrations organized using Social Media, the call is for Democracy over Dictatorship. In the last couple of days following President’ Hosni Mubarak‘s disappointing reactions – both in his speeches and the fact that he ordered an internet and cell phone black out,  the formerly peaceful protests have turned violent and turned a relatively peaceful country in to chaos.  This evening, after finally restoring internet access I went on Facebook to check on some of my family and friends, what started as a status update – soon turned into an eyewitness account of whats happening in Cairo from my cousin and two close friends.  Here is the discussion which has been cut from Facebook page.  I haven’t edited it but did remove their pictures for their safety.

Ruby Gadelrab Thank you to everyone emailing me to check on my friends and family, everyone is ok although their lives have become chaos – some have moved to living in hotels, some are guarding their homes from looters, no one is going to work and some have been locked in their houses for over a week. Family and Friends in Egypt – please comment on this and give us some eyewitness accounts of what its like for you.

Reem Gadelrab we’re fine.. but its very dangerous… our Egypt is lost and gone… and our men in streets are in dange

Ruby Gadelrab tell us what its been like for the last week – what have you seen and how have you been living?

Sherin Moody Wassif It’s been the scariest time I’ve ever lived in my life. We have been locked up in our homes, looters everywhere and thieves trying to steal our homes. Banks are closed and haven’t seen the street for seven days. Egyptians are the bravest people I’ve ever seen people we don’t know protecting our house. With all this fear I’m surely proud of being Egyptian

Reem Gadelrab we’ve been prisoners at home… very scared… confused… angry… and now very depressed…and now its getting worse and worse… they are burning our country… i’m sure you’ve seen the news… nothing else to be said…

Ruby Gadelrab Reem and Sherin – tell us about life without the internet and cell phones. Tell us what you think should happen from a political perspective.
Sherin Moody Wassif People have the right to express their opinion in the streets in a respectful way but We are living in fear even though Egypt was one of the most peaceful countries in the world
Caroline Emile No internet for 5 days. No mobile phones for a day. Text messages are still diabled. The ATM’s weren’t working until today so no one had cash. Prices have shot up in some places e.g. the 10 pound phone card is now 15 and same with cigaretts…. I went to work on Sunday – Tuesday but didn’t go today as hardly anyone is going and what’s the point without email/internet? There’s lots of rubbish on the streets coz the bin men aren’t collecting it. Egyptian TV is lying lying lying. What else would you like to know?

Reem Gadelrab i’m sorry… i don’t have any political views at the moment… both sides managed to make me feel lost and hurt and my heart is aching for my Egypt..       and honestly the least of my worries was the internet… our safety comes first

Ruby Gadelrab Caroline – What is the Egyptian TV telling you?

Caroline Emile Political perspectives: parliament must be dissolved and the corrupt politicians brought to trial. That’s what the fuss is all about now, that despite a promise of change, no change is really being seen (out of 28 ministers, 15 of the “new” government ministers are exactly the same!)

Caroline Emile How much everyone loves the president and how the protestors at Tahrir can’t be real Egyptians and they don’t love their country bla bla and that “foreign agents” are amongst the protesters and that they’re the ones behind this unrest.
Sherin Moody Wassif U forgot to say we don’t understand what is happening to us and only a week ago life was rosey and now we are locked and scared but still are sad for our Egypt. Egyptians are proud of their country and people why takes this from us
Caroline Emile And they play all these cheesy patriotic songs and barely show you what’s happening at Tahrir.
Ruby Gadelrab Caroline – So the Egyptian media is downplaying the events and the hatred for Mubarak
Caroline Emile I’m not locked up or scared, I go out normally and sleep completely normally at night. Maybe this depends on the area you live in, I’ve heard that things in Mohandessin for example are much worse than in Heliopolis. But the youths/men are doing a great job with the patrols they’re keeping at night watching over every building and street.
Sherin Moody Wassif Ruby the Egyptian museum was burning I’m crying
Ruby Gadelrab they burnt the Egyptian Museum? With everything in it?
Caroline Emile No no, the fire was in the garden of the museum and I think they have it under control now.
Ruby Gadelrab Who set fire to it? What are they doing to protect the antiquities?
Sherin Moody Wassif No one inside Egyptian museum but army is trying to put fire out 😦 I’m heart broken
Reem Gadelrab ruby for now its a big mess… both are ruining everything
Caroline Emile No one has a clue what’s going on now. All I know is that the original PEACEFUL protesters who were in Tahrir for nearly a week starting to go home this morning. Suddenly we found people on camels and horses and with molotov cocktails at Tahrir – supposedly pro-president protesters!
Reem Gadelrab and the protesters who stayed there ( this was told to me by my friends who live around tahrir area) are all people from the islamic brotherhood and a lot of them are not even egyptian.. probably from iran
Ruby Gadelrab Do you think something bigger is going on – ie not just the people protesting but a force either internal or external trying to divide and conquer?
Caroline Emile No one understands why they didn’t open their mouths all this time, they only started appearing yesterday by the TV building and in all honesty it seemed like they were poor people who’d been hired to prance around chanting supporting statements. No one understands why they were allowed into Tahrir today with camels and horses.
Reem Gadelrab but only God knows what is happening and who is right and who is wrong
Caroline Emile Definitely a bigger force dividing and conquering. Like Reem said, most the innocent/non-political youths started leaving Tahrir and the ones who were left were hard-core ones.
Reem Gadelrab and both sides fighting are obviously very professional at what they are doing
Caroline Emile So with this in mind, no one understands why the army left the “pro” protesters into the square and on camels and horses!
Reem Gadelrab and where on earth is the army now? and the police? and the government? and the president? where is everyone????
Ruby Gadelrab Who do the locals think is the bigger force? Who is the TV saying it is? Who do you think it is?
Reem Gadelrab we don’t know… we are left here to our speculations
Caroline Emile That’s what everbody’s asking Reem – that’s why people are seriously considering that this was a deliberate/planned plot, not necessarily from these people but from the NDP hardliners who refuse to lose their seats.
Caroline Emile People are desperate for the president, VP, prime minister or minister of the interior to address the nation and comment on the events of today, but nothing so far ya Ruby.
Reem Gadelrab yes… and on the other side??? the true protesters are not there anymore… who is it? hamas? the muslim brotherhood? Iran?
Caroline Emile I personally don’t think that it’s foreign backed at all. The army could have easily stopped all this but their lack of interference troubles me greatly.
Ruby Gadelrab Please can you explain the position on the NDP – What do they have to gain and how will this help them?
Reem Gadelrab ohhh that’s a very long story… mubarak is NDP… and its all corrupt
Caroline Emile Its to terrorise the remaining people still asking for the president to leave so that they’ll shut up and thank God that he’s still staying to the end of his current term. Its to show that people are willing to fight to keep him on etc etc But my question is – where were all these sympathisers all week?!
Ruby Gadelrab So Caroline, as an educated British raised Egyptian, currently living in Cairo, what do you think is happening? What your theory?
Caroline Emile My main criticism is with the SLOW reactions being taken since Friday morning. Everything that happened from the government side was sooooooo slow. Things could have seriously been different had it not been for the decisions taken since Fri…day morning. The official responses aggravated the protesters even more.
Now that we’re in this huge mess, I think the only way forward is for the officials to address the nation and say that those responsible will be brought to justice (ex interior minister for example – how did 1.25 million police men literally vanish off the streets on Friday afternoon?! That’s what gave way to the looting/destruction and the escape of prisoners from various prisons) and that parliament will be solved. And for people not to go to Tahrir anymore and prove the people falling for the bullshit on TV that they’re not a bunch of irresponsible yobs who don’t care about the future of their country – they were just hijacked and used as scapegoats by other terrorists.See More
Reem Gadelrab are u watching CNN?
Ruby Gadelrab no whats happening?
Reem Gadelrab just watch… im really speachless… they are burning our country
Caroline Emile I don’t know if you watched Mona El Shazly’s programme on Dream 2 – the reporters were saying that they had info that gas cylinders were being moved to roof tops coz in the middle of the night when most news agencies had left, they were going to use them to burn out the remaining protesters. I don’t know how true the reports are but I watched the program and heard it in person when it was live on air.

We will continue this tomorrow as both all my friends/cousins participating in this discussion are currently glued to CNN to see what happens next and what the warnings are for tomorrow….

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