Cairo’s Tahrir Square: Post Revolution

It’s  back to business in and around Tahrir Square, the site of Egypt’s Revolution January 25th, 2011. Just months after hundreds of thousands of Egyptians flooded the square demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, democratic elections, and an end to the corruption that has put billions of dollars into the hands of a few rather than helping to improve the country’s infrastructure and to help its’ poor.  I was glued to my television in Hanoi watching the historic  demonstrations in Tahrir Square grow, then turn violent and finally the celebration as the President announced his resignation.  It was a flashpoint for similar protests across the Middle East and a symbol for people around the world wanting to rise up and take back their country sending a message to leaders everywhere. Today shops and hotels have reopened and traffic is jammed on the streets leading to Tahrir. Occasionally you see people wandering around with cameras trying to capture an image of this touchstone for a new Middle East.  There are vendors scattered around selling Egyptian flags, Revolution t-shirts, pins and bumper stickers. Every Friday (Muslim’s holy day) thousands converge on the square again demanding everything from accelerated change, Egyptian religious solidarity, or any number of issues at the top of the agenda.  The revolution was driven by young people and technology; Twitter and Facebook and mobile phones helped to mobilize the crowds. When the government tried to block them, the young people simply figured out ways around that to get their message out and the call for others to join them and the revolution continued.  Next to the Cairo Museum is a burned out concrete building, ex-president Hosni Mubarak’s headquarters that the revolutionaries hope will remain as a symbol and a reminder to other politicians that the people are watching, vowing to rise up if they are oppressed ever again.  As I walked near the square I ran into an older woman who I recognized from the TV broadcasts of the uprising. I stopped to speak with her for a few minutes and to take her photo.  Amina Shafiq is the grandmother of the revolution, a politically savvy woman who talked to the young revolutionaries about the country’s future and how to achieve their goals.  She was also interviewed numerous times during the struggle, a face that personalized the revolution.  Today people are still seen arguing politics around the square, there is still graffiti on the buildings, railings and phone booths but you sense an energy and an excitement about Egypt’s post revolution future.

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2 Responses to “Cairo’s Tahrir Square: Post Revolution”

  1. Sue
    May 30 at 6:05 pm #

    I was in Egypt 2008 and like you and many many others I was glued to the TV watching the Revolution unfold. I felt connected some how since having been there. The Egyptian I’ve met were very proud people. Our guide was very passionate about his heritage. I was very interesting to find out what it is like there now. Thank you for this blog and the pictures.

    • Darren
      June 1 at 7:50 am #

      I must say I was a little nervous, hearing about the protests continuing but it is very safe. There are some issues with the police these days… because of the change of government you find police are not really doing their jobs. You see evidence of it, like people speeding without fear of getting stopped and Cairo residents tell me it is getting more dangerous at night on the streets (after 11pm). Still it is very safe there and you don’t have to worry about getting caught up in a violent revolution!

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