Did it Really Happen?

So many times in life you pass by moments that, at a later point in time, seem almost too improbable to have actually occured.

Did I really start planning for my future? Did me and my future bride really pick out the finishings for our dream home? Did the meeting of the families really take place? Those are the questions my heart asks.

My mind on the other hand, asks a very different set of questions.

Did I really go to Tahrir Square yesterday night?

At roughly 8:30pm yesterday, my cousins and I ventured toward Tahrir Square, to show solidarity, not anarchy, in face of the peoples demands for reform, democracy and peace.

The night started off innocently enough, with cheers and chants (which we participated in) and an overall feeling of excitement. There were people standing around with bottles of vinegar (for the tear gas) and a spray of water and a a fermenting substance to be used on the face to remove the effects of the tear gas.

breathing apparatus were being sold, as well as goggles. A true one stop shop for reform and revolution.

The general direction of the people in the square was gravitating toward Mohammed Mahmoud St. Had this been a scene from resident evil, I would not have been surprised.

Total darkness. Lights flashing on and off in the distance. A faint, but definite sound of gunfire just out of sight. As the people push forward, the crowd disperses to allow motorcycles to pass through, and at times ambulances. We say many wounded carried out toward the square itself, some unconscious, some teetering on the edge of consciousness.

Later, panic ensued as the air was filled with the acrid white smoke of tear gas. There have been many reports that this “brand” of tear gas is considered a chemical weapon, as it affects all organs, causing some to cough up blood, liver and kidney problems etc.

The closest I had ever been to tear gas was watching it on TV during the reports of the uprisings, and seeing it in movies.

The reality is much, MUCH worse.

The first feeling that engulfs you is a sting inside your nose, and then a burning in your throat as you begin to cough uncontrollably. Then your eyes tear up and you are forced to shut them. It hurts to breath. You cannot see where you are going, people are stampeding all around you.

The good news is, there are people around the square that assist you when in need, there are make shift hospitals, and those that pass out are carried there. I force carried a man infront of me who was on the brink of passing out until we got to safety.

A note however to those that think that only anarchists are participating at Tahrir Square. Or anywhere else for that matter.

There are two types of people at these gatherings. Those that do, and those that add value and send a message. Those that do throw rocks and attempt to retaliate. Those that add value, are the ones that show up to add numbers, for there is definitely strength in numbers.

We were there to send a message. No more. No less.

Politics is a part of every day life. You cannot ignore it, you cannot pretend it is not happening, you cannot hide your head in the sand and hope it all goes away.

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