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.’
#232: Rue Britannia ● The legacy of the British Empire ● An interview with Priyamvada Gopal ● The People’s Olympics ● An interview with Neville Southall ● Agribusiness in India ● Deliveroo’s disastrous IPO ● Latest book reviews ● And much more!
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Sanhaja Akrouf explains how the fear that stopped Algerians from joining the uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa in 2011 has now been broken
Despite the carnage of contemporary Syria and Libya, and the ruinous stalemate of Yemen, the euphoric appeal of what was once described as the ‘Arab Spring’ continues to feed revolutionary processes across the region, argues Toufic Haddad
The uprisings against police brutality that swept across Nigeria must be contextualised within the country’s colonial history, argues Kehinde Alonge
The Algerian regime has offered its youth a future of poverty, humiliation and repression, now it must go writes Zakaria Chaabi from Constantine, Algeria
The final instalment in Dangarembga's trilogy is a provocative exploration of identity and race in modern Zimbabwe, writes Johanna Russell.
Phoebe Kisubi reflects on using participatory theatre as a tool for social and political activism among sex workers in Cape Town, South Africa
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