On this day, one year ago, Egyptians took to the streets to protest the regime of then-President Hosni Mubarak. Following the example of Tunisia, protesters gathered to demand “bread and freedom,” and later escalated their demands to “the People want to bring down the Regime. ” The independent paper Al Masry Al Youm reported that it could be “the start of something big.
And so it was.
Two and a half weeks later, Mubarak stepped down. People rejoiced–they had brought down the Regime.
A year later, though, it’s clear that the Regime is still here–like a hydra, its head was removed only to sprout a dozen more in the form of the generals of SCAF. Mohamed El Baradei, Nobel Peace Prize winner and presidential hopeful, publicly withdrew his candidacy because “the old regime has not fallen yet.”
It’s been an interesting year. A year of hope and disappointment, of protests and violent military crackdowns reported as “clashes.” Of increasing confusion as to what the revolution has accomplished, and whether or not is has continued or concluded or simply fallen into stagnation. A year whose official timeline is incomplete and filled with blood.
Today, people are gathering all over the city to remember this last year of revolution, to commemorate all those who died, all those who were detained, blinded, tortured, and sexually assaulted. All roads today now lead to Tahrir, and some reports from Twitter say that the square is already so filled with people that the marchers coming in from all over the city might not even make it into the square itself.
Today’s marches and demonstrations, inshallah, will be peaceful. Indeed, I’m fairly sure that they will be, for as long as the daylight lasts. But the worst military crackdowns have always happened after dark, and so I’m waiting to see what happens after sunset, and what happens over the course of the next three days.
For real-time updates, I’ll be following the Egypt Live Blog on Al-Jazeera. I recommend that you do the same.