On January 25, 2011 around noon, Arwa Salah, Adel Abdel-Ghaffar and I met at a sandwich place in Shubra, a Coptic Christian majority neighborhood in central Cairo. The three of us were very skeptical that the day would amount to much, but being the people that we were, we were willing to give it a chance. We’d all given many chances before. We’d been to protests that amounted to not much more than a few yelling “troublemakers”. We’d voiced our anger about the state Egypt was in due to a very long dictatorship in a number of forums that were available to each of us. It had always felt like our actions were not much more than a drop into the sea. But we weren’t going to give up. We were going to give it another chance.
What happened over the following days was momentous and quite unexpected by most Egyptians. I don’t think we realized the potential we had as individuals and as a people to create change. Once this realization started dawning on us, we would not allow ourselves to be convinced that we could not take our country out of darkness and into the light.
We would not settle for less than Mubarak stepping down from power. We fully realized that the removal of Mubarak and his regime would create a huge power gap. We fully realized that there was only one power in Egypt besides the National Democratic Party that had any experience and popular support to step into that gap; and that was the Muslim Brotherhood. We were completely aware that once Mubarak and his regime were removed we would be in for trying times. I remember discussions about this going on and on between revolutionaries between January 25 and February 11. I remember saying those words over and over to the various journalists who contacted me for interviews at the time and who repeatedly asked, “But what happens after you remove Mubarak?” (more…)