February 2011
So many stories in Liberation Square.
This miniscule part of the sprawling city of nearly 20 million has become a microcosm of what Egypt can become. Protesters represent an array of social and educational spectrums that reflect exactly what makes this country rich, yet so poor and conflicted. From artists to politicians, engineers, farmers, lawyers, bankers and schoolteachers to government employees, construction workers and plumbers – they are all here for the first time – and as one.
Abdel Rahman and his wife, Dalia, cradled their two babies as they walked through the square. Their faces were beaming. Their eyes searched around as they heard the booming loudspeakers broadcasting anti-Mubarak chants: “The People Demand the Fall of the Regime.”
At the opposite end of the square, Ashraf Abdelhamid, an Arabic teacher at one of the country’s most prestigious universities, told me he’d been here since the ‘Day of Rage’. His body had been sprayed with bullets fired by Egyptian police. “I don’t want this regime anymore. I don’t want the police. We are suffering and I’m here for freedom.”
On the sidewalk sat Qutb Ali Ibrahim al-Sayes, a young farmer who had travelled from Kafr al-Zayat, a town 80 kilometers north west of Cairo, to support the anti-government movement. “I’m here for the future of my children.”
There is a lot of emotion here but some sadness is starting to creep in.
A young man told me he had packed a small bag and told his family he was leaving. He told them he was going to the square because he wanted a better future. “I told them they might never see me again. I am here until Mubarak leaves and I know I may die fighting for it.”