"I was 11 during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. One Friday morning, I woke up and my dad told me, ‘I’m leaving. I’m going to protest.’ I didn’t know what was going on. I went to my room, opened my laptop, and there was no Internet. I checked my phone and there wasn’t phone service either–the government had cut all of it. We couldn’t contact our friends or family.
My mom packed a bunch of swine flu masks for my dad, and she said, ‘You could save someone’s life with this.’ All we had was the news on TV because every other method of communication had been cut. I just sat in front of the TV all day. We saw tear gas thrown at the protesters, right where my dad had said he would be. My dad came back with none of the masks–he had given them to all the elderly people that were passed out on the side of a bridge.
One night, looters came by my house and I had to sit upstairs in my room with my uncle and a shotgun. Since there were no cops, the only thing that saved us was my uncle’s Spanish friend, who brought his Argentinian pitbull and left her in our garden. For some reason, a lot of Egyptian people are scared of dogs. The looters came to our house, but as soon as they heard her bark, they got in their car and left.
After a few days, when things were safer, my dad took me and my sister to the protests. I had never felt so Egyptian in my life. When you’re amidst everything, you feel so patriotic, and you actually feel like you have potential–like you could be something together. You don’t usually feel so close to everyone else until you’re all fighting for the same thing. And all these people, even the super wealthy people who benefit from the regime, were just sleeping there, camping out on the streets–we even saw the president’s son’s best friend there. It’s just not a life worth living being under this kind of stuff.
I remember after the revolution, when we could finally see everyone again, every person had their own ‘revolution story.’ This was mine."
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Photo credits: Grace Yu