The Happy Revolution

by Nariman Youssef

Whatever happens in the next few hours, despite the sadness of the last two days, despite the deaths, the terror, the rumours — we must remember that for a while, this was a happy revolution.

Sunday 30th, Monday 31st, Tuesday 1st — The streets of Cairo were safer than I’d ever known them. Every residential street protected by self-organised group of young men, with makeshift barricades and sticks (golf clubs in Zamalek), debating politics and joking and making bonfires to keep warm. Others, in Tahrir Square and elsewhere, walked around with binbags and brooms cleaning the streets. It was organised anarchy. Walking over an empty 6th of October Bridge after the so-called curfew, I felt cared for and protected by every single person I met. In a city where sexual harassment is usually rampant, I have not seen or heard of one incident since January 25th. In Tahrir Square and surrounding areas, people of all walks of life were sharing laughter, songs, food, ideas and hope. Volunteers organised themselves around the entrances to the square to regulate traffic and security. In a country where people never queue, natural zigzag queues were formed at the few food outlets that stayed open despite the curfew. Social differences were gone. We all sat on the same ground and ate the same koshari.

This revolution is no longer based on just a vision of a better society, but on an experiential reality of a better society that some of us have lived during the past week.

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the happy revolution