I don’t know where to start or what to begin to say, there’s so much to say and many feelings to convey but not enough space. But, I found myself looking for my white paper to lay down what I have inside of me. I have to share my horrific experience with everyone out there because I know I won’t just be speaking for myself, I would be speaking for millions of Egyptians who spent their most terrifying night yesterday.
The day before yesterday was Friday, “The day of Rage” where thousands of protestors went down to “Medan El Tahrir” in central Cairo to protest and demand the change of system and their wishes for president Mubarak to leave. Where they have been protesting for four days now.
By the time of the sun setting, some people, CRIMINALS, started vandalizing shops and cars in the streets and stealing everything and anything they can find, causing horror in the streets and there was a sudden disappearance of the police forces and the Army stepped in to interfere and keep the city safe.
By 12 am approximately, president Mubarak went out for the first time since the protests on the 25th of January and said that he asked the government to resign and that he was going to form a new government the next day.
Problem is that this never calmed down the protestors; it made the situation worse, where the protestors started demanding for the president to leave after 31 years of ruling Egypt.
Vandalism increased and national properties were being burned down. And protestors started forming human fences to protect what’s left of this country’s legacy like the Egyptian Museum.
All this was happening and I felt hand tied, I was very sick and felt the need to cry for my country, properties were being burned down, stores were being robbed and I couldn’t do anything about it.
At 2 am I tried going to sleep as my head was going to blow up, I could not take the massive amount of news and things happening in my beloved country Egypt.
I spent a horrifying night, having all sorts of nightmares, waking up suffocating where only a sip of water would allow me to take my breath again. I could not get but a three-hour sleep only when morning came up and the sun embraced me with its warmth.
I woke up somehow optimistic, I ran to the T.V in hopes of finding some good news, in hopes of people of authorities saying this nightmare has ended and you finally woke up. But, that’s not what I found. I woke up to find more destruction and more protesting and still no one was answering the protestors, no one knew where the police was and the military didn’t seem to be in control of the situation.
More of the horrifying news reached us at home, that the hyper mall Carrefour was robbed and damaged by outlaws, we were also told to take care as these outlaws were heading to our homes, they wanted to rob us not only from our money and properties but from our dignity.
Men living in my street heard the news and they all hurried down to stand and protect their homes, the only thing left for us. In a few seconds the street I live in and all neighboring streets were filled with men carrying sticks and all they could bring, waiting for any outlaws to even try and pass by our neighborhood.
My mum and I hurried to the balcony to monitor what’s happening in the streets, while also watching the news and trying to know what the hell happened to the city.
Standing in the balcony watching my brother and father and other men waiting and willing to risk their lives to save us, I started to be scared, and I got really cold I started to shiver, especially because my phone could not stop ringing all my friends and family were making sure we were okay and claiming that they have the same situation of outlaws breaking in their homes and neighborhoods.
The situation got really scary and we started hearing gunshots, this was real, this was no joke and there was no police officer to be spotted though I lived beside a police and fire department.
We got the news that the outlaws were carrying guns and weapons from all sorts and that they were shooting randomly to terrorize the civilians.
With worry in my hearts and only hope that God will save us all from this situation, I went to my room to respond to the “Aasr Prayer” and ask God for forgiveness and help. In my time of need I would always call upon God for help and he would always answer my prayers and put peace in my heart.
We all waited in terror with repeated signs that the outlaws were approaching. Men gathered up and agreed to take shifts of new group each four hours. My family had been in the street for 5 hours now, trying to come up with weapons and they started creating gas bombs, incase any of the outlaws out ran them with their weapons.
8 pm came and my family came back home. They ate and rested to be ready for their next shift, which was at 12 am.
After hours of horror, and no authority were spotted in our streets, I was sitting in my room, I was very attentive and heard everything. And every now and then I would call and check up on my friends and the situations they had and friends would call me and check on me too.
Suddenly I heard several gunshots and a terrifying sound of some vehicle approaching. I said to myself, the outlaws have entered our street and started killing our people and I could not open the window I was afraid I would see something I never wanted to see. But then I heard something very weird, other cars were honking like there was some sort of a festival giving a sign they were happy, so I got over my fear and opened the window and there it was, the military tank and civilians were following it and cheering “Long Love Egypt”, a sudden wave of peace passed over me and my tongue could not stop thanking God for answering my prayers.
Then I thought to myself, I never thought I ‘d live through the day to see a military tank passing through the main street of our neighborhood and that I would be that happy to see it.
Reality kicked in and it was time for my family to go for its 12 am shift. I locked the door behind them and left a piece of my heart with them. Their four-hour shift from 12- 4 am passed like 4 years. My mum had went to sleep and I was completely terrified, the amount of gun shots I heard was not normal and every hour I would call my brother to make sure they were okay, because I could not spot them from my balcony.
I went to bed and covered myself because I was shivering like hell, but later I discovered I was shivering because I was scared, like I’ve never been before.
I opened the T.V. to monitor what’s happening out there, it was as horrifying on T.V. as it was on the streets, people were calling live shows, they were calling for help claiming that the outlaws wanted their gold and money or they will come up and slaughter them and they were asking for the military help since the police had long disappeared.
I silently cried, remembering how safe it was when I finally entered home after an outing with friends, how warm it always was. And now my home, my sanctuary was a place of horror, cold, dark and horrifying.
I kept company by talking to my friend Jaida, who was as terrified as I was and we shared our fears and worries.
I could not close my eyes; it felt like I was blind when I closed them. It didn’t feel safe to close them, at least not with my family sitting there in the cold and dark street. I could not breath, I had a runny nose and it blocked my airway. And even if I tried to sleep I was sure I would wake up suffocating.
The “4 years (hours)” passed and they finally came home. And the next thing I remember is that I woke up in the morning. I guess I fell asleep only because I knew my family was safe, but I wouldn’t sleep willingly knowing the rest of my friends and family and all the Egyptians were still out there trying to protect themselves.
I had never been that scared in my life.
It’s what I know
It’s what I know
I re-questioned the meaning of home
The warmth, the safety and the sweetness was gone
Terror took over in just a second
No body was safe I reckoned
Who were they to keep us terrified?
All their purposes were unidentified.
When we needed the police, where were they?
They feared us, that’s what they conveyed.
But, I still had my hopes and dreams
That, we would overcome the outlaw schemes.
There is still something I always crave
All my people would be safe.
But there was something I concluded
I loved this country I wasn’t diluted.
The view from the balcony was so sweet
It was the unity of the people on the street.