Like most of the world, I have watched the Egyptian uprising unfold since 25 January. There is something beautiful yet terrifying about watching millions of people stand up and say - "ENOUGH". Beautiful in its power and potential, but terrifying in the prospect of how it could all so easily go wrong, as it did recently in Burma and Iran.
Now the Egypt story has a more personal dimension. My wife has managed, after days of trying, to get in touch with a friend who lives in Cairo. Initially the messages weren't clear, but it appears that he was shot in the demonstrations on (we think) January 26th, and was wounded in the head. He spent several days in hospital, but as soon as he was discharged he went straight back to Tahrir Square.
Since then, they have been communicating by Facebook and phone, and whatever method works best with the situation as it is on the ground in Egypt. And the messages we get back are truly inspiring.
I have amended names and redacted contact details, but otherwise the following messages are unedited.
Ok my dearest friend. Get me posted with ur news. And I will pray for u. ALLAH is JUST. ALLAH is merciful.
Ok my friend. Take ur time. I'm sorry I can't open the link. I'm getting access from my cell phone. Takecare my good friend. And plz try to eat. Salam
im @ home now..... @ last i can send u now freeely from my desktop.
first of all i have to say that GOOD people appear in their support to others during obstacles. and u r 1 of those good people, ALLAH gave u that beautiful heart that beats with great sensation towards humanity. ALLAH loves that heart as well i swear to Him.
i've been thru torture my friend, i was 1 of those protesters from the very beginning, from the 25th, i was there.... we've been attacked by Police, injured most of us and even killed few of us. days after a complete withdrawal of police from the Egyptian streets took place.... they made way for the terror and gangs, the latter attacked our homes and families, they were about to enter my flat where i live with my parents but i stopped it. they stole many stores attacked many people down the road and did alot of corruption to Egypt. and finally we've been attacked by those supporters to Mubarak, but actually they r not, they r like those gangs who were attacking people in the streets but now they r attacking the protesters.. they were paid for that i bet.....
thats what happened very briefly, i couldn't explain it more coz mmy English is not supporting me as usual..... i am ok now my friend, i get better than before.
here is my cell phone
n my address
so when r u 2 coming to visit me then? :P u have no more excuses, u now have the address...LOL
salam my friend : ) don stop smiling plz, i missed ur face although i never saw it.
Believe it or not! Few days ago Gangs and prisoners were let out from their jails to attack the cities. People of Mubarak and the police left the gangs to do what they want . They even planned for it. They let them attack our streets and houses. But we stood against it right. And now the youth are the protectors not the police. Every area, the youth and good sons stand with huge sticks and kitchen knives in the streets waiting for those bastards. Just to protect our moms and dads. And yesterday, they sent those people on horses and camels AGAIN to attack the protesters. IF WE ARE ALL KILLED FOR ALLAH's sake TO FREE OUR SELVES FROM THIS DICTATORISM, WE DON'T CARE, AS LONG AS WE BELIEVE IN HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN VALUE. May ALLAH make those souls of the people who were killed among us rest in peace. May ALLAH support us more to end this unfair battle. MAY ALLAH bless u people of the west who know what A HUMAN is to be free. May ALLAH bless us all and lead us to the right guidance and the right track. Amin.
i can't describe how happy u made me by that call.... ur support to me is always making me better......
my head injury is not so deep, just a superficial trauma caused by a direct hit on my head. It was there of course, in my heart, in Tahrir square. Those supporters to Mubarak were armed with huge sticks, swords and bombs. They wanted to threaten us by their attacks to us but it didn't work..... we stood against them although 4 died of us. That was an unfair battle. we didn't have even a small swiss knife to save us.... but we did it...
yesterday, i was at work..... i missed going o Tahrir square alot, as if i got addicted to stand for hours there... i missed the energy that we all share while we r there... i was on duty and i swear to God i cried when i saw them on TV standing peacefully, i wanted to take a permission and leave but coz i work at a hospital, but culdn't leave....... tat was tearing me appppppppppaaart.
Yes sure, let anybody add me on facebook and on twitter ( although im new on twitter and still do not know alot of things about it but it is ok with me). Ur friends are most welcomed coz they come from ur side and u r very special to me so they r special too,
i will get some sleep now, and i will send u at night again : ) ALLAH bless u and ur family and those people having good heart like urs.
ALLAH is Just.
Hello from the middle of cairo, from Tahrir square. Yes. I'm back. Slept for some time, checked my family and came here all thru the obstacles of the ''avoid walking thru'' rules. They set that rule from 4pm till 8am next day. I'm here not with my friends this time but with my self. I don't feel strange, those faces were here and always stay here until we hear his resination news. ALLAH is Just. I've seenpeople in UK march today in the news. Infront of the American embassy :-) I said to my self ''those are the people of justice who do get our point from the first day''. Stones kept thrown against us from the buildings around the square on that night. 100's of people got injured deeply, to the extent that I consider my wound is nothing in comparison to theirs. ALLAH is Fair. Happy to know that u the English, the people of humanity see the image clearly and not biased and getting the hidden details easily, this is even much more promising to us, mmotivating as u said. Yes, the other side of the earth has a clear vision also :-) love u all for ALLAH's sake.
If I have the money, i'd have travelled to u as soon as we finish it here. U r a friend that really deserves travelling to. I'm praying ALLAH to make me rich first to take better care of my parentrs, help Egypt's economy in recovery and travel to my faithful friends like u. ALLAH is so fair and he is looking to those who ask him in prayers if they are honest. Imagine ALLAH turns his face to u while u r asking him. He never turn away from those who aask him, if they have faith and enough honesty. His reply to ur asking doesn't have to be immediate, the reply might take years and years. Just don't forget when it comes true that someday u asked for that, and don't forget to thank Him when u achieved what u asked. May ALLAH grant us honesty, faithfullness and patience.
I followed the reporter. And I will get u updated my friend. My pleasure to hear that the people of the United kingdom are so attached to our issue. This is so noble, but i'm not astonished because I know that the English are very understanding to such critical topics before they judge.
Send him please my best regards and great appreciation from the people of the square.
I am now back home to see my family needs and tomorrow i'll be off from work so i'll go early to the square after I do some shopping. I'll buy alot of food for us there because it takes us everytime to leave the square inorder to get something to eat. So i'll pack my bag with food and water.
I'll get u posted with any updates. Takecare my NOBLE friend. SALAM.
Forgot to tell u that on Tuesday we will be making some maintenance to the square. It looks ugly now lol takecare
Hello my friend from the middle of Cairo, from the square. It took me alot to read all ur forwards. Sorry for not answering ur call, my cellphone is almost out of charge. I'll be leaving the square in half an hour. I've to look after my parents as well. I'll come back again tomorrow for another day in Tahrir.
Curfew has been narrowed to (8pm-6am). But it is safe to leave after 8pm as long as u have ur personal ID. It isn't that dangerous as u think, even if it is, no 1can stop ur now.
I don't have money these days. I didn't run to the bank today to withdraw as much as I can like many people did. I couldn't even reach an ATM. Most probably they've been raped violently by people's lust for cash today. Every 1 took his place from early in the morning in those ques regardless of what will happen MORE to our economy. They just wanted to drink it all now and not even tomorrow. I've to admit, this is selfishness. If I say that I am LOYAL TO MY COUNTRY THEN I'VE TO ACT IN AWAY THAT SUPPORTS ITS ECONOMY, NOT TO RUIN IT MORE. Sorry my friend for being nervous about that. I'm sorry.
Yes. Suliman is talking to OTHER opposition groups. Those who are standing in the square now are the ROOTS. Actually, Sulieman is discusing the issues concerning the leaves and guess what, of ANOTHER TREE.
Thanks to XXXX for his great concern, tell him not to worry. Even if we got arrested we won't stop.
Our country is writing a brand new chapter in her own history so as to tell those who are looking forward to being in charge, BE AWARE OF THE ROARS OF MY PEOPLE, THEY CAN DO ANYTHING FOR ME. Mubarak's tale ain't over yet, but its gonna make alot think twice before they judge on us.
To all GOOD PEOPLE of our earth. To all those very few clean hands knocking to help. THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING OUR CASE THE RIGHT WAY. You give us hope I swear.
Sorry for being extra dramatic.
I wish them all the best of luck.
Photographs: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA & John Moore/Getty Images