Sadly, I have to leave Egypt to get back to Lebanon tomorrow. The events of the past few weeks have been absolutely unbelievable to be part of. Few thought that overthrowing Mubarak would be possible, but people power made it happen. However, it was only the first step in a larger struggle for rights and a more democratic government in Egypt — read my interview with blogger/activist Mona Seif for more on this. What happens next is up to the workers. Many who were part of the uprising to overthrow Mubarak, are now taking to the streets from various sectors to overthrow their corrupt union leadership and demand better pay and more rights. As this happens be sure to follow Egyptian photographer and journalist Hossam El-Hamalawy (www.arabawy.org), who has documented the struggle of Egyptian workers for years.
The below portraits are of public transport workers protesting in Cairo today:
I’ve never been one for national flags, but Egyptians waving them the day after deposing their dictator of 30 years didn’t bother me too much.
Saturday, 12 February:
Sunday, 13 February:
Despite the 48 hours of celebrations, the revolution seems that it’s far from over. Egyptian workers are now organizing in their respective sectors for better pay, more rights, and against their corrupt union leadership. Protests happened across Egypt today, including one that I couldn’t believe. On 28 January I watched violent clashes when the police tried to repress the people’s uprising that became a nationwide movement that day. The police failed and the uprising surged ahead, but not before more than 300 were killed by the police and other branches of the Mubarak regime’s security forces.
But now, after the people’s victory, thousands of police are organizing for their rights and join in the larger revolution. My jaw dropped as I followed police across the Qasr al-Nil bridge where on the 28th they used all kinds of force against unarmed demonstrators. Today they chanted, “the police and the people are one,” playing on an earlier chant by protesters that went: “the army and the people are one.” There are a number of strikes and other worker-related actions planned in the coming days. It looks like the workers’ movement will be the new phase of the Egyptian revolution.
A rather large man (pictured above) stopped me in Tahrir yesterday and started shouting, “Lave before the Sa’idis come!” His threats were directed at Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who he said should leave office before the Sa’idi people from Upper Egypt (a largely rural area of southern Egypt) come and really mess him up. As he spoke a crowd gathered around us, most were smiling and welcoming the lone Sa’idi man to Cairo. His loud threats were enough to make me feel a bit worried. I keep wondering what must be going through the mind of the 82-year-old president as he sees much of his country out in the streets every day expressing their hatred for his regime and calling on him to pack up and go.
The uprising is definitely escalating and taking on new forms. Yesterday, many of the labor unions joined in the struggle. Journalists are still facing many difficulties, and even those with credentials have been denied from covering factories on strike, or different cities like Alexandria and Suez where protests are ongoing, like the ones in Cairo.
The below are some images from Tahrir Square yesterday:
Just when many commentators felt the ongoing protests at Tahrir (Liberation) Square were losing steam, the largest number of demonstrators yet came out to call for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and his regime. Here are a few images from yesterday:
A dear friend from Chicago called me last night to check in on me and the uprising in Egypt. She’s been following my work closely and wondered why it seemed like there are few women taking part in the protests. I was shocked, but then I realized that most of my pictures contain mostly men. It may be true that the majority of people at the protests are men, but it’s certainly not by a big margin. While I do try to represent a wide variety of people in my images, I find myself sometimes being overly sensitive when photographing women in this region. I’ve also been told to stop at least a couple times when taking pictures of veiled women. But I will do my best to make sure they’re represented in my photographs from now on. They have been just as present as men during this uprising, and it’s not fair that they’re not represented in the coverage.
Here are some images of revolutionary Egyptian women from Tahrir Square today:
Hundreds of thousands again came out to the “Day of “Departure” protest at Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square to call for the ouster of the US-backed regime of Hosni Mubarak. At the day’s end, Mubarak had yet to depart. But with non-stop protests continuing not only in Cairo but across Egypt, the dictator’s real day of departure will come soon.
And this is a banner hanging from a building at Tahrir listing protesters’ demands, you can find them translated below (thanks Hicham):
1) Bringing down the President
2) Dissolution of both houses of parliament
3) Immediate end to state of emergency
4) Formation of a transitional government of national unity
5) Elected parliament to undertake constitutional amendments to hold presidential elections
6) Immediate trials of those responsible for the murder of the revolution’s martyrs
7) Expedient trials of the corrupt and thieves of the country’s wealth
And this is a video (not shot by me) from tonight that shows protesters singing some of the chants from the past week. The chorus is, “All of us are one hand, and we have one demand: Leave! Leave! Leave!”
After supporters and thugs of the US backed Hosni Mubarak dictatorship tried to attack protesters staging an ongoing sit-in/protest at Tahrir Square, protesters fought back and maintained control of the square.
More on this soon, out the door to Tahrir again now …
More than two million took to Tahrir Square yesterday to call for President Mubarak’s overthrow.
Last night in a televised speech, US-backed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refused to give in to the demands of millions of Egyptians and step down. Outraged by the news, protesters again took to the streets and marched through downtown before arriving at Tahrir Square to meet up with the thousands who continue to protest through the night.