Monday, February 14, 2011

Communique from Cairo

Isn't Egypt nifty?  The Nile, the Cairo Museum, the Pyramids of -- HOLY FUCKING SHIT protesters!!!

As a journalist(?), I have been following the protests and eventual ouster of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. I have to tell you in the early stages I was so incredibly moved by the displays that I witnessed on TV that I had to hop on the 1st plane to Cairo so that I could capture the images first hand.  Well, it was pretty intense.

As soon as I arrived I found myself smack in the conflict, fighting against uncertainty as state thugs attempted to snag my Canon PowerShot and fedora with "press" card snugly inserted into the band.  I couldn't help but feel that this movement was unstoppable, much like the honey badger.

Through my dogged  reporting, I was able to salvage many pictures from the protests.  Shocking,  surprising photos of the protesters making their grievances known through that most timeless vehicle of non-violent civil disobedience, the protest sign.  Signs which I share with you now.

So much of staging a successful revolution as we know from our time fighting the limeys during the Revolutionary War, back in 1976 I think it was, never underestimate the power of a good sign. Oh, and perhaps most importantly, it's good to let people know geographically where your protest is taking place.  This sign is a great example of this:

In deference to providing both sides of the story, while I was there I did spy -did I say spy? I meant see, not spy. I'm not a spy okay???- that there were pro-Mubarak protesters, requesting that he be allowed to stay in power.  Some news reported that these people were actually just the country's brutal police force in street clothes.  Me?  I just think they're Mac enthusiasts.

As I walked around listening to remixes of "Walk Like An Egyptian" on my Mubarak endorsed iPod, I did observe that the protesters had some solid grievances.  For instance...

In a protest of several hundred thousand people it can be so hard to stand out and not just feel like a number among the masses.  However, like most good ideas, necessity breeds Greatness:

As we U.S. Americans watched history unfold before our eyes when Mubarak stepped down after 18 days, many worried that the protesters would quickly turn to the Muslim Brotherhood and anti-American sentiments.  This, so far, has not been a problem.  In fact, it has been quite the opposite.  As these protesters feel self-actualized, they have turned to offer to help us with the biggest problem facing our country:

As the protesters work with the Supreme Military Council to get the thousands of participants back to work, there is trouble.  Some protesters feel that they should not leave Tahrir Square until all their demands are met:

Whatever you do, please don't tell him about Esperanza Spalding.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In all seriousness, the past two weeks have been an incredible example of a revolution created solely by an empowered citizenry protesting peacefully and speaking in one voice to bring down a 30-year dictatorial rule.  Really remarkable, historic moment.  May whatever is next continue in a tone that provides Egyptians with a real voice in the future of the country.

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