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Museum of Egyptian Revolution Vividly Chronicles Uprising

  • Al Pessin

Activists in Egypt have created a makeshift museum to chronicle the last two years of uprisings and political protest. A branch of the museum has been set up across the street from the presidential palace in Cairo.

Opposition protests continue several nights a week in front of the presidential palace. But during the day, when the street is more quiet, anyone passing by can stop in at the Museum of the Egyptian Revolution, a roofless collection of wooden frames draped with plastic-covered photos and written memories.

Wael Abu el-Leil is one of the museum's founders. "If you will see from here, it's the first day. All the cars and the police when they attacked the people. And after that the battle of camel," he said.

He is proud of the collection, and said it serves an important purpose for Egyptians who come by to see it.

"It's the Facebook and Twitter for everybody, because about 80 percent of Egyptian people haven't got an account on Facebook and Twitter, and they didn't have a connection with the young people who made the revolution, and they didn't think about how they feel," said el-Leil. "Anyone who wants to write anything, he goes inside. We have a designer. He can say what he wants and we will put it on the paper. And if he wants to put it on the wall we will put it for him. The day after, he will come with family, and the family will write also. It's the same way as the Facebook and Twitter."

For Abu el-Leil, the most emotional item in the museum is one of the newest. It's a poster showing his friend and fellow-activist el-Husseini Abu Deif, who was killed just a few days earlier in a clash with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood during a protest over the new draft constitution.

"He is like our brother. He collected everything for us, like films. He died. They chose the better in the revolution and shot them. He made something for good. And we say to Husseini, we will complete the road until we get your rights, or we die with you," said el-Leil.

For liberal activists like el-Leil, the revolution is not over, and the museum's collection will continue to grow. It can be a cathartic experience for visitors, and a chance to share memories and emotions of a momentous period in Egypt's long history.