Carlo's Think Pieces

Reflections of a Filipino in the Netherlands

The Egyptian Revolution, from Nadia’s Eyes

Posted by butalidnl on 11 February 2011

Mubarak has stepped down! Egypt is Free! The Egyptian people have succeeded in bringing down Mubarak, and have conquered their fear. They now need to build a new Egypt.

During this revolution, I’ve been following a Tweeter in Egypt named Nadia El-Awady. Nadia is an Egyptian science journalist. Her tweets have given me an insight into that revolution which is much deeper (and even funnier) than what the news media can give.

I started following Nadia from 3 February, at the time that pro-Mubarak thugs started roughing up journalists.  Nadia was one of the victimized journalists, and her video camera was destroyed by the thugs. This meant that Nadia had to resort to other means of reporting (i.e. tweeting) – and this proved to be a boon to me and 8100 other people who followed her tweets.

“I did not cry when I saw dozens injured, unconscious or dead emerge from the front lines of fighting with Mubarak police/civilian thugs…I did not cry or cringe when I was tear gassed and shot at by Egyptian police. I cried when my camera was broken by Mubarak thugs. My camera was my weapon in this revolt. It was the tool that created a role for me…Today I leave home without my camera. I will not be able to afford a new one for a long time..” 3 Feb.

In the days that followed, she kept reporting from Tahrir Square. It’s the small things that made the struggle come alive for me. About her friend who was “flag crazy” , buying 3 flags of varying sizes and a bandana; about her not showing her journalist ID when checked by the police while walking home; about her eating a meal at a friend’s apartment which was next to Tahrir (and that this family was continuously feeding friends and friends of friends).

She borrowed a wheelchair to bring her 73 year old father to Tahrir square on 7 February. Her father was so excited, kissing the hands of people who were wounded in the struggle… talking to the people in Tahrir…

On 8 February, she was feeling sick, but decided to go to Tahrir anyway: Today is one of those days i should be lying in bed getting served soup and meds by a doting family member for this cold. Ahhh…

And then, her musings about the revolution:  “Sometimes calculated risks must be taken to achieve one’s dreams…A calculated risk is taken by anyone climbing a mountain and putting their life in danger just to see what the world looks like from the top…A calculated risk is taken by anyone putting on gear to breathe underwater just to swim alongside a manta ray….” ( 5 Feb.)
(Nadia is an avid diver and mountain climber.)

or about concerns about her security:  “My fear is not getting arrested. My fear is getting arrested and no one knowing about it. That’s why I don’t go to the protests alone…” 5 Feb.

And her comments about the “civilized” nature of the revolution:
“Christian mass performed with muslims and christians chanting AMEN…” 6 Feb.
“My sister said: people now go to Tahrir to spend some time in “the perfect world where people love each other and treat each other well”” 6 Feb.

or about its “funny” nature:
“My sister talking to herself and laughing: “Egyptians protest in the funniest ways… People were killed a few days ago yet Tahrir is full of people doing art, playing their guitars, reciting poetry, and playing out sketches”… 7 Feb.

And her problems getting an internet signal: “I spend 3/4 of my time in the revolution obsessing over finding a signal so I can connect to the Internet and tweet..I look absolutely ridiculous standing in the middle of millions of ppl holding up my phone looking for a signal..” 4 Feb.

And finally,  here is a link to Nadia’s blog entry on the revolution, written before her camera was broken: Egypt’s Revolution, an Eyewitness Account, January 25 -29


4 Responses to “The Egyptian Revolution, from Nadia’s Eyes”

  1. frizztext said

    greetings from

  2. […] To read the full post in Carlo’s Think Pieces: Reflections of a Filipino in the Netherlands […]

  3. nadiaelawady said

    Carlo, I don’t know you, and because of that I was deeply touched by your post. To realize that my tweets were actually read and followed, that the emotions and facts I tried to communicate were felt and heard, is quite an amazing feeling. The international support we’ve received as Egyptian revolutionaries from normal people has been overwhelming and has brought me to tears many times. Thank you, Carlo. Thank you dearly.

  4. butalidnl said

    I was touched by your tweets when your camera was smashed by Mubarak thugs. So, I decided to follow your tweets. A revolution happens when “ordinary” people do the “right” thing with whatever means at their disposal. You were not THE Egyptian revolution, but simply one of the “ordinary” people doing the “right” thing. Your tweets made the Egyptian revolution alive to me (and a lot of other people).
    All the words in this blog post are yours. I just rearranged them a bit. When Mubarak fell, I felt the need to make a tribute to the Egyptian revolution. So, I chose to present your tweets, slightly rearranged. It is I who should be thanking you. Thank you, Nadia.

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