Picking Up the Pieces
Echoes of a Revolution in Tahrir Square
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2012 09:07
The video blogger and activist, who graduated from the AUC last year, has gained a following of over 20,000 on Twitter. Even in this age of instant information, change is slow, she said.
“It’s not going to be as quick as posting a Twitter update or a Facebook update. It’s going to be very difficult. It’s going to be a long time,” she said. “I’m 24 years old. Me and a bunch of people are not going to give up until we die.”
She stressed the importance of on-the-ground demonstrating, debunking a popular misconception in Western media of the “Twitter revolution.”
“When people are attacked in the square and you’re risking your life, you don’t hold up your smartphone and [say], ‘protect me, Twitter,’” she said, flashing her phone for emphasis. “No, you protect the square with your flesh and blood. You risk your life. You don’t risk your Twitter account.”
A year since the uprisings began, Egypt is straddling two eras: before Jan. 25, 2011, and after. Since taking their first breath of fresh air after years of oppression, young activists are striving to make their voices heard. Many of the demands of the protesters have not been met, but what has been most successful about the post-Mubarak era has been the ability to challenge the status quo.
Among the failures of the much-hoped-for revolution, Abdelrahman sees glimpses of success that continue to motivate her.
“I think it’s that sudden feeling of ownership over the country. Because once you feel that you own something, you want to make it better, you want to make it prettier, you want to make it the best. It’s like having children, I guess,” she said. “They’ve converted us to parents of the revolution.”
“A lot of people would say, ‘Parliament is bad, the military is bad, you’re getting arrested, the public is not with you, the media is militarized … ’” she said, rattling off innumerable challenges. “My common answer, to them and to myself, is that I don’t have any hope in anything but myself and my generation and my revolution.”