If you have ever visited a country in the midst of a revolution you understand the paradox of fearful hope; otherwise normal urban events seem less mundane, heightened. For the rest of you, just play along for now. Since Hosni Mubarack’s resignation on February 11th the people of Cairo seem to exist in a space somewhere between optimism and uncertainty. Understandably, young Egyptians are much more hopeful than previous generations - both groups embrace the change, but the youth are keeping the pressure on; they want more from their country than what their parents have known. After all, they were the force that rallied the hardest and brought forth the revolution and one can argue that they have the most at stake. They want the same opportunities that we in the developed world have. They see their cohorts around the world and don’t see why they can’t obtain the same. Technology has a way of dividing AND uniting.
Three weeks after the Military took power, Tahir square is still the gathering place for protesters. You can feel the energy in the air as young men and woman bustle in and out of the now infamous square. Our second night in Cairo we looked up a few restaurants and settled on Birdcage, tripadvisor’s top pick; the restaurant is in Tahir Square. It was Friday. Friday is the Islamic holy day. Fridays are when the revolutionaries gather in the square keeping pressure on the government while maintaining a sense of purpose in this evolving revolution. Of course, I wanted to go and check it out…especially over a plate of Thai noodles, but GP wanted no part of it, so we stayed in camp and ordered in watching the spectacle on Aljazeera. We did head into the square Saturday morning.
If you had been pent up in a cave for the past few months and suddenly woke in the middle of Tahir Square Saturday afternoon, you would have thought nothing of the scene around you; other than a curious glance at the burned out government building looming black and sinister to the north, or the profusion of armored tanks mounted prominently around the square, daily life pulsed on as usual: vendors were selling their wares, young people perfecting their struts walked from end to end occasionally glancing around for approval, shopkeepers stood-watch like smoking sentinels outside of their shops. If you were a well socialized caveman you might have tuned into the elevated pride exuding from everyone young and old alike. More than a few times we’ve heard that being Egyptian is now a good thing to be. The people of Egypt pulled off what millions of others one day hope to accomplish, to be heard. To be understood is to feel loved and these guys are feeling the love big time. ‘Welcome to Egypt’ has taken on a whole new meaning and it is remarkable to be here in the midst of it all.
Egyptians love to talk and think nothing of sharing their thoughts on just about anything you want to know, you can feel the pulse of a nation through its citizens and right now Egypt is pulsing with youthful vibrance.