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Egypt: Seeds of change – People & Power – Al Jazeera English

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Refugee Emergency Relief Efforts. Call for Donations!

Anti-government demonstrators in Cairo. UNHCR is finding ways to help refugees during the political uncertainty. (c)Reuters

Refugees in Cairo have become increasingly vulnerable because of the recent unrest in Cairo, many if not most of the NGOs or agencies usually serving them are closed or working on a limited-staff basis. 

Staff from St. Andrew’s and other organisations have been in contact with Tadamon organisation which is currently running food distribution around the city for the most extreme and vulnerable cases. Everything is welcome, rice, pasta, vegetables, canned food, fruits, milk, clothes, blankets, everything. If you’re not in Cairo but still have stuff here to handover, contact us and we will arrange for it. 

Depending on the security situation we plan to be at St. Andrew’s Sunday from 10am to 1pm if you want come and drop some stuff, or if you prefer we can come to your place during the afternoon. Anything, even if it’s 1 kg of rice, contact Maelle by email, maelle.pelletier@gmail.com, or by phone, 0166077047. Thanks! 

Toward the same end we will accept financial contributions. These will go toward emergency food provisions and to help prevent evictions by providing temporary rent assistance to especially at risk refugees. We have several channels through which we can receive donations, depending on location. Contributions from the U.S. and Europe are welcome and will be received via transfer to local bank accounts in those countries. If you are interested in helping in any way please contact me, meli.holmes@gmail.com, for more details.

Another Loop.

The muffled cries of demonstrators, freedom fighters, martyrs-to-be? waft electric in the breeze to my room perched three blocks from the epicenter of this revolution. The emotional roller coaster of the last two weeks has just taken another loop at full speed, inspiring some to tears, shaking shoes into the air, and causing all Egyptians to grip even tighter to their dream.

In Tahrir this evening the festival was taken up another notch with the giddy expectation of victory smiles were wide, singing was full voice, and the people were infused with an energy like that which emerges in the last lap of a race. The mood was celebratory on the streets adjoining the square. Mubarak’s resignation is seen as a forgone conclusion here and it seemed for these hours that this goal was about to be realized. In the hour before the speech Tahrir waited. Sporadic chants, drums, and dancing echoed throughout this the largest waiting room on earth, punctuated by rumor induced hushes. Along pathways delineated by chains of men we forged our way through the crowd to cross the square, arriving in front of a loudspeaker just as Mubarak’s first remarks rang out. A nervous quiet settled over the people, gazing in the direction of the sound. I never imagined it was possible for so many people to be so quiet.

It seems that he didn’t even write a new speech but simply added a few flourishes and condescensions to the first one. The gall he has to claim a share of the people’s pain, the martyrs’ sacrifice. As the realization dawned that he would stick like molasses in his chair, few burst out only to be hushed, and one by one the shoes rose over the heads of the crowd, soles pointed at the origin of his voice, a gesture that is one of the greatest insults Egyptian culture has to offer. With disbelief and anger, exhaustion and determination, the protesters went back to business as usual with cries of ‘Irhal’ rising into the night. The elation of the evening was premature, this is a long distance race, one that many more may not finish.

What could the goal of addressing the people so be? On the eve of what was already expected to be the biggest day of protests yet, Mubarak has turned to the country and like a child stuck his tongue out, wiggling his fingers, and said ‘na, na, na na, na, you can’t get me’. He has lost any chance of retreating gracefully. This past Tuesday, two weeks into the revolution, 15 million people were in the streets demonstrating. This is twelve percent of the population of Egypt… 12%… again that is 12 out of every one hundred people in the whole country out in the streets actively demanding a free Egypt and the end of the Mubarak regime! It is not numbers he is waiting for, so what? The demonstrators have already alluded to marching on the presidential palace and if they do this tomorrow he may squeeze more blood out of the people.

I walked home tonight from the cafe carried in the wake of a of group of protesters heading for Tahrir. The people were chanting “bukra, bukra”… tomorrow, tomorrow, in Arabic.

Is there a greater beauty?

Another day expressing the beauty of humanity in the center of Cairo, the center of Egypt, the center of the world. I was in Tahrir square for only a moment today, between meetings with colleagues to organize moving forward with our work with refugees, but it was enough to repair the doubts I never had about the soundness and sincerity of this revolution. Walking to the office this morning, the peace, joy and pride was thick in the air and spread across the faces of the people in the street. There was a line to enter Tahrir square in the early afternoon, Egyptians were queuing patiently on the sidewalk for over a block… Egyptians don’t wait in line.

Father and son

… it was enough to repair the doubts I never had about the soundness and sincerity of this revolution.

While entrepreneurial youth have set up shop inside the mini-city that Tahrir has become, there is still the generous spirit present that have pervaded these demonstrations from the beginning. There is no struggle for resources here. I am struck again with how lucky I am. To have ever come to Egypt in the first place, purely by chance, to have fallen in love with the country and its people, to have kept my relationship with Egypt alive and to have decided only three months ago to come here, now. There is an Egyptian proverb that claims once a person has drunk the water of the Nile, that mother of all rivers, that person will always return again. I am so thankful I drank the water those years ago when I first set foot in this ancient land.

I would not want to be anywhere else on our planet during these times. Long live Egypt!

Revolution – Mohamed Mounir – Ezzai 2011 .. محمد منير – إزاي؟

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