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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid