Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cairo Update: Day 14

Thousands of anti-Mubarak protesters are still in Cairo's Tahrir Square on this 14th day of protest.  Here are a few photos of today's crowd (taken from TV reports).

This CNN reporter (below) is doing reports from Tahrir Square every day.  The photo below from CNN news shows on the info. line on the bottom that the Health Ministry said there were 11 deaths resulting from these two weeks of protest.  Other estimates come from Reuters (more than 100) and a UN source (as many as 300).  Fortunately, there were no deaths today and no violence as far as I know.  There is much less reporting on protests here now with many reporters having left, but here is the little bit that was on the news today.
The CNN reporter said the protesters held a mock funereal for the Egyptian journalist who died photographing the protests.  Below is a photo of his wife in Tahrir Square today.  His photo is below that.

The TV journalists also reported on the role of women in the protests and how things such as sexual harassment were completely absent from the Square.  
All the news stations I watched (CNN, EuroNews and Al Jazeera) reported that an Egyptian named Wael Ghonim, who is an Executive with Google, was released today.  Here is a photo of him.  One journalist reported that he was the person who designed Mr. ElBaradi's website.

Meanwhile, things have started to get back to 'normal' for many Egyptians, but it is a new kind of normal.   For many, there is the sense that the recent events and however they are ultimately resolved, are a demarkation point:  a before and after... with nothing being truly the same after all of this.  The country, and all of us who have been here at this time, is forever changed, we just don't know what that change will ultimately mean.

On an everyday level, the new 'normal' means there are tanks stationed at particular places around town so people walk by them regularly.  Gunshots are sometimes heard in the distance... but fewer each day and I didn't hear any today.

Some neighborhood watch groups are still out keeping guard at night, though the groups aren't so big and things feel a lot safer at night.  You see piles of burned wood and ashes in the road from where the night watch groups had their night-time camp fires on cold nights.  There are barriers of all sorts scattered around at the heads of some roads that were pulled over at night to try to block traffic to make a neighborhood harder to access, making the jobs of the night watch people easier.

There is still a curfew, though I think it is now 8pm, which is much easier than the 3pm curfew that was in effect a week or so ago.  The downtown campus of the university is closed along with many businesses around town, and along with the main metro station for downtown, called Sadat (which is at Tahrir Square).  Half the expatriots have left so classes at international schools are much smaller than they used to be.  At our son's school, his class of 17 was down to 5 when it reopened yesterday, but up to 9 today.  

Everyone I know spends a lot of time watching TV these days, trying to get the most current news.  I spoke with another parent from my son's school who said she, too, was glued to the TV, anxiously watching and waiting to see how this monumental change that has swept over Egypt will end.  The protesters tell reporters they are determined to stay as long as necessary to achieve their demand.  Each day we watch hoping there is no more violence and wondering how this story will end.  The ending matters a lot.

1 comment:

  1. Carol, Thanks for these updates from the field. I saw Wael Ghonim's interview after being released on Youtube. Incredibly moving. So sad that someone is arrested and held for nearly 2 weeks for simply putting up a page on Facebook.