Sunday, February 06, 2011

Everything ██is█████ ████ ████fine ███ █ ████ love. ████ █████ the ███ Egypt ███ ████ government

A friend on Twitter recently...uhhh...tweeted*...that she spoke with an expat friend who had been in Cairo but recently returned to the United States due to the revolution. She said that it "sounds much worse than they all let on."

I think that's definitely true—now that my friends are returning to the States I'm hearing a lot more about what was going on in their lives I'm seeing the same trend. When they were in Egypt still they were so...silent. Part of that can be blamed on the internet blackout, I'm sure. But after it was back on I expected more facebook updates, more blog posts, more tweets, more...anything.

I received a couple of emails from friends but most of my friends waited until they were standing with two feet firmly on the ground before they gave the world an update of how they were feeling. Many of them were still distressed at having to leave a loved-one (in most cases the husband and father of the family) in Cairo, but the relief they expressed was almost palpable.

My friends still in Cairo seem to be employing defense mechanisms. Sometimes I almost have to laugh when I read about how they're doing. They say things like, "Oh, we're well as can be expected. We pushed all the furniture against the front door and sleep with a bat under our pillow and we can see a tank out our window. But life's basically normal."

Uhhhh...pushing furniture against your door, arming yourself with clubs, and seeing army tanks on the street outside your bedroom window...that's not normal.

Our friend joined the neighbourhood militia. He's using his driveway as their base, providing firewood for everyone to keep warm during the night shifts. They have armed themselves with anything they had on hand and are searching anyone coming into the neighbourhood for ID—they even pulled over an actual army truck.

We have similar groups organized in our neighbourhood. When our neighbour returned to the States Andrew asked her about the status of our apartment building since we don't have guards (or a very diligent boab). She said:
Let's just say that when we left yesterday, there was a demonstration forming with flags and megaphones on 85 and 13. The boabs did an excellent job on blocking off our block. They put bonfires on 86 and 12 and 85 and 12, as well as blocking the roads with parked cars. Their set of weapons was photo worthy: golf clubs, sticks, chains with padlocks on the end, knives, you name it! No damage happened near us, just a ton of gun shots from the prison.
86 and 12 is our intersection, and while it wasn't uncommon for the street to be crowded with cars, nor to have the night watchmen talking beneath our bedroom window, it was never normal to have blockades, bonfires, and armed (civilian) men patrolling our street. Just sayin.'

These past few days have been a whirlwind of emotion for me—and I am so far removed from the effects of the revolution—I can't imagine how it must be for those right there. My hat's off to the brave men, women, and children sticking it out in Tahrir (and other places around the country). Their bravery is remarkable.

* I'm new to Twitter. It still sounds silly to me to say that someone tweeted. That's right though, right?


  1. Great post and great title...
    In French, we 'tweetons'. 'ee' as 'i'... ('Touiton')...

  2. Hey, just so you know, I read your blog for updates on Egypt. I mean, I listen to the news too, but what you post is way more interesting and personal, the kind of news I want to hear (especially because you talk about the LDS community there).

    I wonder if I would be the same way, sort of defensive of what remains of "normalcy" there. My friend's husband is still in Alexandria because his passport was in Cairo for a visa renewal when the protests started. He's the only one left, and my friend is super worried. But she shows her worry by trying to acknowledge what parts of his life are normal and safe. It would be SO hard to have your husband there and you here (or in Cypress or wherever).

    That is insane about the blockades and gunshots on your street. Oh man. I'm glad you're here (well, I'm in Texas,'re still not "here" here, but here-USA-here). It would be so scary to be there with children.

  3. Tweet, twate, twoten. :)

    So so scary over there! I just hope it ends peacefully soon.

  4. Nancy - I've been thinking about you guys over the past few days. Thanks for the insight into what real people on the ground are thinking and doing. Yowza is all I have to say.