News / Middle East

Egyptians Celebrate Revolution, Get Back to Work

A burned vehicle, piles of rubble and trash in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, February 12, 2011
A burned vehicle, piles of rubble and trash in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, February 12, 2011
Lauren Frayer

On the streets of Egypt, people are doing three things: celebrating their revolution, memorializing those who died in it and getting down to the nitty-gritty work of building their country’s future.

For the past three weeks, Farah El Moataz’s frantic father wouldn’t let her out of the house. He said a revolution was no place for a 15-year-old girl.

"In the beginning I kept begging him to go, but he kept telling me no, it’s dangerous," said Farah. "I kept telling him, at school they keep saying, you have to say your opinion. Today, finally he told me yes you can go downstairs, go to Tahrir Square. Finally I’m here."

But Farah didn’t bring a camera to capture the moment, and she didn’t even come with friends. She rode the bus down here alone - with a only a broom, to sweep the streets where her country’s protesters held vigil for 18 days. "Because it’s my country. I want it to be the best country in the world," he said.

Families stroll downtown Cairo waving Egyptian flags. Parents balance infants on the side of idling army tanks and snap photos for posterity. 18-year-old Doaa Sabry says Egypt’s youth is ready to take on the world.

"We inspired everyone in this revolution, and we want to do something that will inspire every human being in this world, because we can do it," said Doaa.

Watch Carolyn Presutti's Companion Report:

Amin Abu Hashem describes his feeling of empowerment. "They feel a sense of hope. It’s gushing from everyone here, like we can do anything now. Everyone has this feeling of a new Egypt - making it a better tomorrow for everyone," said Amin.

But underneath the euphoria, there seems to be a sense of responsibility.  More than 115,000 people have signed onto a Facebook group called "Egypt’s Rebuilding Campaign."

Farah El Moataz picked up her broom, but others don’t know where to start.  Cairo resident Karen Kamel says that after 30 years of authoritarian rule, the idea of freedom can be a bit overwhelming.

"We’ve been used to that for 30 years and maybe people prefer stability rather than something new. I think every person is afraid of change and something very new, but I think it’s in the hands of the people to make a better Egypt," said Kamel.

Much remains undecided - who will lead Egypt long-term? What constitutional changes are coming?

Mourners throw roses and pray over the names of some of those killed in Egypt's revolution, at a makeshift memorial in Tahrir Square, Cairo, February 12, 2011
Mourners throw roses and pray over the names of some of those killed in Egypt's revolution, at a makeshift memorial in Tahrir Square, Cairo, February 12, 2011

There’s also the question of what will become of Tahrir Square, where dozens of unarmed protesters died in clashes with security agents before President Hosni Mubarak resigned. Fafette Mazloum says she wants to see a memorial built in the square.

"It’s for the people. It’s going to be a place where people can come and remember what happened here, how Egyptians were able to bring about a revolution peacefully. This is a symbol for the rest of the world, that things don’t need to be violent," said Fafette.

The future holds many big questions for Egyptians, who are just returning to normal life after 18 days of uncertainty. For now, perhaps it’s easier to pick up a broom and start sweeping.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid