My word is free #11Feb

I can do this.

I have been trying to write this blogpost for a while now. But there is an inner conflict going here between me and myself.

My present-self keeps doubting her words and her thoughts. She doesn’t want to share them because she thinks that it doesn’t matter anymore… or that her words might get her in trouble. My present-self has been avoiding trouble for around three years now in hopes of living a normal-like life. But my revolutionary-younger-self is trying to push me up. She’s telling me that my thoughts are still worth of being documented and shared like in the old times. And that one day my future-self might need to read them when in doubt or when she needs to remember who she is.

Anyways, I don’t want to confuse you anymore. My younger-self obviously won that argument. Here I am trying to put out there what I am currently thinking. It’s not going to be as elequoent as I’d like to believe some of previous writings were… but it doesn’t matter at this point. I just want to succeed in finishing that blog post.

Today marks a somewhat holy memory to many of us out there. The day when we thought we win. Six years ago, I thought this was the happiest day of my life.. or of our collective lives as Egyptians. We had just got back home from the square, and in less than an hour he stepped down. We screamed and yelled in euphoria. We went down to the streets, and celebrated. We chanted “People and the army are one hand.”

I woke up the next morning, and I went straight to the square. Without planning ahead I went to help in cleaning the effect of 18 days of protesting and the sit-ins. We cleaned like the square was our home or even more. I even picked up the cigarette stubs! A friend took a picture of me there looking exhausted yet happy and proud. I thought this was the beginning of our time to be in charge of our destiny. Six years later, I realize that I couldn’t be more wrong… or could I?

11 February 2011
Taken by Salma H. 11.02.2011

Honestly, I thought this day would still be painful to me just like I know it is for many of us. But the truth is, I am blessed with a weird selective memory that keeps forgetting A LOT of things without me having any choice in it. And I do believe it is for the best. After all, truth be told, these past six years have been transformational in a lot of ways some of which were not very pleasant. They had excruciating pain. So, the ability not to remember a lot of what happened and what I witnessed may be is a big factor in why I am still alive and breathing, and how I managed to survive till now. You think I’m being a drama queen? You have every right, but those who lived and shared these memories with me probably know I’m not.

May be the time has come to finally admit it: I do not regret taking part of this “revolution/movement/uprising/riots/anarchy”, but I am fully aware now that I might have revolted for the wrong reasons. At one point I used to think that the head of the regime was the sole devil and the reason for all the people’s misery. My mind kept switching between other vile politicians to blame. But in the end, they were not. The people keeps choosing to let this happen. And when I protested out there risking my life several times, my main trigger is that I wanted fair and justice to the people and myself. May be I shouldn’t have gone all that for the people. At least this is what I’m thinking of now. I’m not sure if it’s a phase, or I’m still channeling anger over people letting others die and ignoring it. Nevertheless, I think I would/should have done it for myself.

My only consolation, is that the rebellion lives within me. Hadn’t I gone through this incredible life-changing experience quite early in my life, I wouldn’t have gone closer to knowing who I truly am, and what my core values are. I wouldn’t have known that there is so much potential in me than I realize. And so like I once told a friendly British guy, I shifted my focus to my small daily personal revolution. I fight trying to protect my own identity, and keeps reminding myself that no one can suck the joy I find in little things out of my heart.

A couple of days ago I went to the book fair to attend Ahmed Khair’s signing session for his book “Min Al Shibak“. I didn’t know what the story is going to be about, and had I known, I honestly doubt that I would have read it. They were short stories that details real testimonies from the “deportation truck”. The irony here was I bought around 11 other novels from the book fair that falls under the same genre “comedy/hilarious/light” books. Yes, I have been avoiding all things that would trigger my empathy. I selfishly made a choice to keep on with my life and forget those who lost theirs. And with reading few pages, I felt instantly that these testimonies are real. Are we the only ones who are going to read these stories, get affected by them knowing that there is so little we can do? May be for those behind bars, that’s so much hope and more.

A lot of the time I ask myself whether any of my actions in the past were a reason for how someone lost his life or was put away in prison. The thought even frightens me. The guilt is there, deep inside my mind, and I doubt I’ll ever get rid of it… how come you got away alive while others didn’t.

I don’t know how to end this blog post, except by saying, that no matter what happens next, we still have our memories. My head will still remain high, for I never wanted any harm for anybody. I demanded justice and fairness for the people. I still have hope it will come true, and I might live to witness that day. My dreams still live. I hope to have a conversation with my revolutionary-younger-self one day and tell her, that I hadn’t given up on us. 

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