الأحد، فبراير 06، 2011

I was not brave, I was protected!


Whatever memories #Jan25 leaves me with, Wednesday night will be deeply carved in my memory.
When Al-Jazeera called, they couldn't pick a more intense, more dramatic moment to do so. Ambulance running in and out, people screaming and shouting, young men triumphantly facing their death, me crying helplessly and the sound of gun shots echoing in the background of all this.


The next day I found out that this call spread globally and won me many solidarity emails, tweets and calls. I wanted to respond to them all, I wanted to clarify alot of things but I was so angry. So angry at a world that stands by watching brave kids and men face death for the follies of a -should be dying- old man. So angry at people sitting warm & comfortable at home, condemning those in Tahrir, while they are sacrificing their lives for each and everyone of us.

I got many comments on how brave people like me are what makes revolutions happen. I have to clarify this: I was not brave, I was protected. 
The battle extended over the night. It started with rocks & glass, moved onto Molotof cocktails , then there was gun fire. The army was there motionless, and at one point they even all went down and hid in their trucks.

I could never find the words to describe the bravery I witnessed that night. Hundreds of young & old men rushing unarmed to face the cowards hired by Mubarak's bastards, responding to gunshot with rocks, grabbing anything from the ground that could be used as a shield.  You hear the gun shots, you see some of them falling, others rushing to carry them, Ambulance rushing in to take the wounded and the dead, as more rush in to the front line to face the same fate. If you hear loud prayers as they are carrying their comrades know that we've lost another one of us. All this as the army is watching, Mubarak is watching, the world is watching, and no one is stopping this.

The center of Tahrir square was safe. I could have stayed there to eat, sleep or even listen to music. I could have done all this and not even a flying rock could have harmed me, only because there were hundreds risking their lives out there for our safety.

When you are away from Tahrir square, listening to the stories about it makes it seem much more scary and terrifying than it really is. But when you are among bandaged people who wake up singing and chanting, kids running & playing, strangers offering you food and insisting you take it , strangers smiling at you as you greet them with "good morning", you would feel warm, hopeful, optimistic but definitely no fear.

That night made me fully realize, the Egypt I really want is that of Tahrir square. The people there are what Egypt is all about, and I am with them in whatever fate awaits us.

هناك 28 تعليقًا:

غير معرف يقول...

<<
So angry at a world that stand by watching brave kids and men face death for the follies of a -should be dying- old man. So angry at people sitting warm & comfortable at home, condemning those in Tahrir, while they are sacrificing their lives for each and everyone of us
>>.
I want you to know that while I sit at home, warm and comfortable, I stay awake at night, watch AJ, and 'pray' for #tahrir. and for #egypt, and for the whole middle east and the planet

alpha2omega يقول...

Thank you Mona for taking the time to share this with the world. Salute your determination and the world watches the birth pangs of a free Egypt.

Amy يقول...

الله يبارك فيكي وفيهم ويردكم لأهلكم سالمين منصورين بإذن الله
I loved the post, your words are so simple yet so emotional and deep :)

غير معرف يقول...

You're all brave and beautiful. You're an inspiration to the world.

غير معرف يقول...

This is an example for the world

stanfaryna يقول...

You are the light of the world. Matthew 05:14 #Egypt #Tahrir #Freedom

Karam يقول...

You are brave for being there, your brave for helping those people and fill them with the same feeling they made you feel. This is a great feeling when your surrounded by love and respect with no fear. Hope it fill all Egyptian souls soon.

clara يقول...

Hi Mona,
Thanks for your important report.
 Clara
The Netherlands
http://bit.ly/mona-seif

Liz يقول...

Great blog! Found through @ajituk (I tweet as @oneoflokis !) Have a lot of time for the ancient Egyptian pantheon!

Liz يقول...

I meant, @ajit8uk 's twitter!

Brent يقول...

I remember this moment live. Its now etched into my memoy. Im 28yrs old and i was crying and feeling horror and i watched aljazerra live. I wish for everyone in Egypt to have their well deserved and earned freedoms and rights. I thank you for sharing his and your twotter post to the world. They affect people in ways you cant imagine and will shape them and their sons and daighters in a very positive way. Power to the people. Warmest regards. Brent Clancy.

غير معرف يقول...

Mona, I'm virtually speechless about what is happening to you people, what could I say, ?
Stay strong, stay truthful, stay warmhearted... all of you. You are about to write planet-history!. Right. Now.  

freedom يقول...

I couldn't sleep that night. You are an inspiration, all of you, thank you and I wish I'm there with you , we are here trying our best to organise solidarity activities with you , but still it doesn't feel enough. Thank you very much for giving us a hope. long live revolution, long live Egypt.

Sherine Elbanhawy يقول...

Mona
I follow you on twitter and I heard you that day on Al-Jazeera live. You are all so brave and we are all so proud of you. You are my Tahrir heroine and everyone there is so brave. All of You have given us back our country. I am confident that Mubarak will soon leave and that we will rebuild a GREAT EGYPT because of great people like all of you.
Power to the People
YASQUT Mubarak
Prayers.

Monica يقول...

Dear Mona,
Thank you so much, I wish I am in Egypt, and so I am so proud of people like you doing their best to get Egypt out of this intermediate period and restore maat!

Elly S يقول...

Dear Mona,
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us. You have touched my heart with it.
Elly from Belgium

fjb يقول...

i heard the call via al jazeera, and may i say that i disagree with you a little bit: you definitely are a very brave person and have my utmost respect, as do all those who are fighting for freedom

Fernando Marés de Souza يقول...

The only thing i can say is that I also cried that night, but I also renewed my faith in our generation.
Fernando from Brazil
@roteirodecinema

laurelei يقول...

Mona, you are my hero. Yours has been the one "voice" that has narrated this revolution for me. You cannot imagine how powerful a weapon your phone has been, or what your presence there has meant to those of us who cannot be in Tahrir. We are listening to you, and with good reason. News comes first from you every time, sometimes hours before CNN or our news stations report it.

Because of you and Sarahngb, I have felt I was a part of of the Revolution, even though all I did was retweet anything that sounded important - your calls for doctors and medicine, or reports that another reporter had been arrested...or the camels and whips and gunfire from Mubarak's thugs-for-rent on the bridge that night. Dear Lady, I have been terrified that this young girl who somehow found herself responsible for keeping the world in touch with Egypt would fall victim to some paid thug's bullet, and every morning when I wake up to find you are still tweeting, I thank my god and your god and all the gods that ever were that you are still with us - that Egypt still has a voice.

Information is power, and that has never been more apparent than in Jan25, where the ultimate weapon has been the flow of information to each other and to the world. You and Sarah kept this girl in Florida, USA on the edge of her seat, shaking with fear of the gunfire or laughing at the wonderful signs the protesters carry or crying at the death of another of Egypt's martyrs. I am not Egyptian by birth, but now I am Egyptian in my soul. As are we all.

dorkinaut23 يقول...

This night will probably be remembered as the greatest night of the revolution--the night it almost died. Just being there was heroic. Just comprehending the need to be there was outstanding. but most of all you were there to witness it. In the USA, the history books talk about
George Washington and how he and his men just barely survived in Valley Forge, PA. None of those "Heroes of the Revolution" are still around to recount the experience. Your experience and that of those around you is something to write about and one day in your lifetime children will learn of it in their history books in school.

Dave يقول...

Hi Mona,
You WERE extraordinarily brave, and your reporting brought tears to my eyes. The 25 Jan Movement in Egypt has been an inspiration to the whole world. You have begun a new chapter in the history of Egypt. Love and hugs, Dave

Julie R Butler يقول...

The Heroes of Egypt have shown the world what Humanity is truly all about - Power To The People!

Masry يقول...

Requested Document Translation part 1of4

Testimony on the arrest event of Amr Abdallah Albheri at dawn on Saturday Feb 26, 2011.

Presented by: Lila Mostafa Sweif, Ph.D.,
Lecturer at University of Cairo, Faculty [School] of Science.

At approximately 2 am, in the early morning hours of Saturday February 26, 2011; at Kasr Eini Street, across from the People's Assembly Building and following the dispersion of the sit in in which I was participating, which was carried out by the troops belonging to the [Egyptian] Army and the [Egyptian] Military Police, and while we were leaving the site of the sit in; some elements of the [Egyptian] Army kidnapped Mr. Amr Abdallah Albhery (32 years old from Kafr Elzayat region) and were started to strike him repeatedly resulting in injuring his face, without an obvious reason for such assault, as we were ally collectively in the process of dispersing. When I, and those present with me, objected to such action [assault], and declared that we refuse to [disperse and] leave, if we are not accompanied by this [said] youth; a high ranking [Army] officer calmed us and ordered lower ranking [Army] officers to bring the [said] youth (Amr Abdallah) who had severe injuries to his face; we accompanied him [Amr Abdallah] and proceeded to walk in Kasr Elini Street. With me were: Mr. Shadi Alghazali Harb, Ph.D.,; Professor Tkadom Alkhateeb, (Assistant Professor at University of Mansurrah, Faculty [School] of Arts, and member in the “9 March” “Universities Independence” movement), my daughter Ms. Mona Ahmed Saifulislaam Abdelfataah, my son Mr. Alaa Ahmed Saifulislam Abdelfiataah and his wife Ms. Manal Baheiodeen Hasan, and Mr. Ahmed Abdallah (a relative of Mr. Amr [the victim]) who was helping his injured relative. During our dispersing an unmarked civilian vehicle stopped next to us with two male youths inside (unfortunately, till now, I don't know the names of either of them) and offered to help take us to whatever destination [we choose], so we asked them to take the the injured youth [Amr Abdallah] and his relative [Ahmed Abdallah]. We separated from Dr, Shadi [Harb] and Professor Takadom [Alkhateeb] who got in Dr. Shadi [Harb]'s car to leave. We (my family and I) departed on foot to the inner [small streets] of Garden City [district]. In a few minutes I received a telephone call from Professor Takadom [Alkateeb] who informed me that [Egyptian] Army officers stoppend them a second time and made them get out of the vehicle; so I headed back to Kasr Elini [street] and found both all of: [Dr.] Shadi Harb, [Professor] Takadom Alkhateeb, [Mr.] Amr [Abdallah], Mr. Ahmed Abdallah, and the two male youths [who offered help with the car] who's entire participation was to offer help to an injured individual; all under arrest by a large group of [Egyptian] Army officers.

At approximately 4:30 am [on February 26, 2911], I called Professor Takadom [Alkhateeb] and he informed that both himself and Dr, Shadi [Harb] were released from arrest; but the other four are still detained; and the the [Egyptian Army] officers detaining them allege that the [Egyptian Army Officers] found weapon (said to be a sound [not actual] pistol) in Mr. Amr [Abdallah]'s possession.

Masry يقول...

Requested Document Translation Part 2 of 3 (it took three part only, there is no part 4)

At approximately 2 pm, the afternoon of, Saturday February 26, 2011; and after I became aware of “Declaration #23” issued by the Supreme Council of [the Egyptian] Armed Forces; in which it [the council] declared that the impending release of whoever were arrested that [February 26] morning; I called [telephonic] Mr. Ahmed Abdallah in order to check [on their status] and he [Ahmed Abdallah] told me that he [Ahmed Abdallah] had been just released, and the two male youths, who had helped them, had been released earlier than himself; but that he [Ahmed Abdallah] does not know anything about [what is going on with] Mr. Amr [Abdallah].

I would like to state [make clear] here that Mr. Amr Abdallah Albheri was not carrying anything in which he [Amr] could have carried [concealed] a pistol; bit [in fact] he was under detention by the [Egyptian] Army. Had he had any weapons they [The Egyptian Army] would not have let him accompany us [from the start]. Most likely, his continued detention and the attempt to fake a charge against him is the result of an attempt to try to explain his injuries; because my daughter Ms. Mona Ahmed Saif[ulislam], Dr. Shadi Alghazali, and Professor Takadom Alkhateeb photographed his injuries and it was obvious that we intend to report the occurrence [assault]. It is to be reported that all to whom I have spoken to, among the youths who were detained, stated that during his detention [Mr. Amr Abdallah], was subjected to tremendous beatings and some reported that he [Mr. Amr Abdallah] was subjected to torture by means of electrocution.

skip يقول...

Mona U have so much COURAGE yet U don't want to admit it. I know the Truth about your Bravery .being Modest about the Fact that that Phone Call U received CHANGED the Minds of the World about What was Happening in Tahrir Square . Mona I also know WHAT you have done on plenty of other Issues that HELPED get the Revolution were it is Today. The Video from the Night of the Attack is something No One can ever Deny, You remember it don't you? I'll never Forget it & the Press Syn. Press Conference is another most Don't know about and the Work that was done to get the Word out about the Virginity Test performed on the Women Arrested.
UYou know I Love the Courage you have Shown these last 3 months along with the Up most RESPECT that I have for You. :)

Perfectionatic يقول...

I was there on that fateful day. I also felt quite safe, much safer that anyone watching the news would have guessed. I was not on the front lines, I was inspecting incomers for IDs and checking them for weapons.
It now seems a bit odd that we were doing all of that given the assortments of nasty weapons that the thugs were using. But at the time is seemed like the obvious thing to do. There was no discussion about minimally non-violent tactics, it all seemed so fluid, natural, and clear. It was like something otherworldly was orchestrating everything.
Amongst such noble company one had little fear or anxiety, not because death or injury were unlikely, but because we all believed in something greater...more valuable than life itself.

Reem يقول...

Brave of course ya Mona, but it is most of all your gentleness that makes you so inspiring. My admiring greetings to all that you are doing in your own special and very effective way.
Reem Saad

غير معرف يقول...

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