Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

Egyptian activist speaks: ‘This is only the beginning’

Waseem Wagdi: 'I have seen a new humanity being born in Tahrir Square'

February 12, 2011
2 min read

Waseem Wagdi, whose moving YouTube interview about the Egyptian uprising has been wildly popular, spoke to the Amnesty International ‘in solidarity, in defiance’ rally in London’s Trafalgar Square on 12 February, the day after Mubarak fell. This is what he said.

‘They said they would bring him down – and they did bring him down!

Brothers, sisters, comrades, I come to you here today from the freest spot on the face of the Earth: I come to you here today after spending a week in Tahrir Square.

I have seen a new humanity being born in Tahrir Square. I have seen people – men, women, children – chiseled of solid granite, and yet moved to tears when they hear the songs of our freedom and hope.

I have seen the biggest study group in the world: two million people, discussing politics not as that thing that happens in the corridors of power, but that thing that happens on the street.

I have seen people who threw themselves on the ground in front of tanks to stop them from infringing on an inch of the republic of freedom that is called Tahrir Square.

I have seen people who with their bare hands beat, resisted and defeated the fiercest, biggest and the ugliest police force probably in the world. And Egypt became a much safer place afterwards.

I will raise the slogan that was raised by eight million people a couple of days ago. In English, it is: “revolution, revolution until victory”.

In Egypt, they were talking about bringing forth a new society. A new society where no-one will go hungry, where no-one will be tortured, where no-one will be beaten or imprisoned for expressing their own opinion.

The slogan was “bread, freedom and human dignity”. And to be able to bring this society into existence, they needed to bring down Hosni Mubarak.

Hosni Mubarak, ex-dictator, butcher and petty thief of $70 billion, was warning the superpowers that if he falls, that will whet the appetite of the masses for more change and a better society.

And, strangely enough, I find myself seeing eye to eye with Mubarak. This is only the beginning.’


Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.

Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani

Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week

A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes

Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.

Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu

Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns

Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism