News / Middle East

    Egyptian Protests Spark Camaraderie, Romance

    Alia's uncle (L) stands for his niece as Mohammad takes marriage vows which include that ousted President Mohamed Morsi is still the president, in Cairo, Aug. 6, 2013. (Photo: H. Elrasam for VOA.)
    Alia's uncle (L) stands for his niece as Mohammad takes marriage vows which include that ousted President Mohamed Morsi is still the president, in Cairo, Aug. 6, 2013. (Photo: H. Elrasam for VOA.)
    Heather Murdock
    After two-and-a-half years of near constant protests, demonstrations in Egypt have become not only a political platform, but a form of entertainment, a social forum and for some people, a way to find love.  
     
    Before his marriage ceremony, groom Mohammad sang for the crowd, providing a break from daily rallies in favor of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
     
    “And you are smiling for me,” he sang. “And you say, ‘We are for each other,” and my heart beats faster from happiness.”
     
    As he took his vows to be married according to Islamic Law, he also vowed that Morsi is the president, and the crowd went wild.
     
    Another couple followed them onto the stage as fireworks went off.  It was the seventh marriage on that day at the protest camp.
     
    Directly after his marriage, Mohammad, 27, explained that he chose to marry his bride, Alia, in Rabaa, a sit-in that has been occupying several blocks in a commercial district in Cairo, two months after mass protests against Morsi, who remains detained by the military.
     
    Mohammad said now that Alia is legally his wife, he will resume protesting.
     
    The camp is organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammad said he wanted to marry there because the Brotherhood follows Islamic law. He added that he wanted to share the moment with his fellow demonstrators.
     
    Morsi’s critics say although he was elected, he used his position to dismantle emerging democratic institutions and governed recklessly, deepening the country's political and economic turmoil.
     
    Imam Safot Hegazi prepares to preform an Islamic marriage for two couples on Tuesday. He has done the same for 50 or 60 other protesters in the past two and a half years of political turmoil, in Cairo, Aug. 6, 2013. (Photo: H. Elrasam for VOA)
    Imam Safot Hegazi prepares to preform an Islamic marriage for two couples on Tuesday. He has done the same for 50 or 60 other protesters in the past two and a half years of political turmoil, in Cairo, Aug. 6, 2013. (Photo: H. Elrasam for VOA)
    Backstage before the ceremony, Imam Safot Hegazi said between the protests in Tahrir Square that forced Hosni Mubarak out of office in 2011 and the current demonstrations against military rule, he has performed 50 or 60 Islamic marriages for activist couples.
     
    He said some couples met at protests and others chose to make it official at the demonstrations because the events are life-changing, and occasionally historical.
     
    Other protesters said camaraderie is not why they came out to demonstrate, but it is one of the best parts of sticking around.
     
    Senna Ibrahim usually teaches Arabic to small children, but on Sunday, she sat with a crowd of women in a tent near the stage where the daily ceremonies occur.  She said when -- not if -- protesters’ demands for the restoration of the constitution and the re-instatement of Morsi are met, her new friends will be friends for life.
     
    In quiet moments at the two-month old protest camp near Rabaa Adiweya Mosque, children splash each other with water to stay cool, in Cairo, Aug. 6, 2013. (Photo: H. Elrasam for VOA)
    In quiet moments at the two-month old protest camp near Rabaa Adiweya Mosque, children splash each other with water to stay cool, in Cairo, Aug. 6, 2013. (Photo: H. Elrasam for VOA)
    In a relatively quiet moment on the pathways between the tents where protesters sleep and eat, children squirted each other with water to stay cool. 
     
    A teenager played his drum to slogans like, “Down with military rule.”
     
    But while the demonstration sometimes takes on a festive tone, young couples said they were not there to celebrate.
     
    Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes in the past two months and the camp is surrounded by sandbags and barricades made of bricks torn out of the sidewalks.  Army tanks block roads between military bases and protesters.  On Tuesday morning, men streamed out of Rabaa, marching towards security buildings.  Many had gas masks hanging around their necks.
     
    The military-led interim government has ordered protesters to abandon this camp and another near Cairo University several times, but protesters refuse to leave.  Analysts fear there will be hundreds of deaths if authorities attempt to dismantle the camps by force.
     
    But at his marriage ceremony, Mohammad said despite the fear, people in the crowded, hot camp need to make time for happiness. 

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 07, 2013 1:29 PM
    Where is the muslim trust in their god? Since the crowds claim to be religious islmaists, what happens to the will of allah that an average muslim claims leads them in their daily decision? I do not see good side of the Muslim Brotherhood protests and demonstrations. If anything, it reveals rather a total lack of trust in their god. Asking innocent children to remain under the scotching sun just because their unmindful parents have to protest against another Egyptian revolution is inhuman. It negates the attributes of a religion serving a god that knows everything. The Muslim Brotherhood here paints a picture of since allah cannot do it, we can do it ourselves. And I can only say, shame to you all that are protesting, after all those in power right now are also Egyptians.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora