I was in Tahrir

Friday prayer

Yesterday Egyptians called for a million-man march to protest against the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), the head of the military, for several reasons, including the continuing arresting of protesters, the slow process of putting the previous regime on trial, and the general lack of action.

I arrived in Cairo on Thursday night and to my surprise my dad was fine with us going to Tahrir – I was pretty sure he would say no because of safety issues, since last week police attacked people in Tahrir with lethal tear gas & molotov cocktails. But since hundreds of thousands were expected, he was sure nothing would happen.

I can’t really explain how I felt walking into Tahrir. I studied at the American University in Cairo, which is located in Tahrir, and so for 4 years I spent most of my days there, around that square. But now it symbolized something completely different: freedom, autonomy, choice, justice, activism. Seeing the tents, hearing the chants, seeing the flags and the patriotic t-shirts – it hit me that Egypt had done something amazing.

Half an hour later it hit me that Egypt continues to do something amazing. The revolution started on January 25, and is still going on on July 8. People have not given up. It’s not over. People are not scared. They have fought too hard and lost too much for them to allow it to slip away.

The military cannot and should not rule the country. Why are protesters being tried in military courts, while Mubarak and co are being tried in civilian courts? Where are the police, and why haven’t they been reformed? What is the plan re. the economy? Many questions, and SCAF has not provided any answers.

Yesterday hundreds of thousands were in Tahrir, 2 million in Alexandria, hundreds of thousands in Suez, and thousands in other cities across the country. It was a nation-wide statement: the people are not happy.

And if we learnt anything from Jan 25, it is that what the people think counts now.