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Former President Hosni Mubarek in the cage

History was made today in Egypt, when Mubarak, the former Egyptian president actually appeared in court in a white jump suite lying down on a hospital bed with an I.V. in his arm, (contents of IV are unknown). He appeared in court along with his two son and other accused. One of whom was the former minister of Interior and security Habeeb El Adly (who is already serving 12 years sentence for corruption and could be facing the death penalty if found guilty of having a hand in the murder of the victims of the uprising for allowing the security forces to use weapons and live ammunition).
Lawyers from both sides took turns speaking in to their microphone, declaring whom they represent and what requests they would like the judge to consider during the trial. For the prosecution there were over 130 lawyers, many of whom were not permitted to enter the courtroom. Most of who represent the people and the families of the martyrs from many different governates in Egypt.
The lawyers when speaking were reciting verses of the Holy Quraan and would harp on and use fancy words and phrases, which the judge didn’t care for and insisted that the lawyers got straight to the point. At times the circus of lawyers fighting for the right and time to speak in to the microphone looked like a classroom scene where eager students were trying to answer questions to impress their teacher. At one point in time the judge insisted all the lawyers be seated and come up to the microphone one at a time in an orderly fashion. There were a few lawyers who stood out, some demanded that Gen. Tantawi be brought testify as well as Anan former Vice President Omar Soleiman. Another brought charges against the phone networks Mobinil, Vodafone and Etisalat for cutting phone lines, one lawyer pulled out and ink pad and demanded the finger prints of the former president and his sons to open a criminal file against them. The lawyer that stood out the most was the one who wanted a DNA test because he believed that the man in the cage wasn’t Hosni Mubarak but an imposter who has been posing as him since 2004, because he believes the real Hosni Mubarak is dead.
The momentous moment for me was hearing the Prosecutor read the charges against the defendants gave me chills. To see the country’s former giants in a cage in a courtroom in jump suits hearing the charges brought against them was surreal. Never did anyone in this nation think they would see the day when a former leader and his crony’s being brought to justice. Mubarak’s sons who remained standing beside their father’s bed blocking the cameras from getting a clear shot of their father were chocked up and emotional when they heard the charges against them being read.
When the judge (Rifaat) asked for the defendants to show themselves and prove that they are present and asked them how they plea to the charges that were read and brought against them and hearing their answers of ‘not guilty’ to me was a moment to remember. I didn’t think that I would ever live to see a trial of this magnitude or significance take place in Egypt.

I am glad that the Judge has split the cases, Mubarak and sons will be tried separately from Adly and his aids. Adly and aid’s case will resume tomorrow, August 4th and the Mubarak’s case will be brought back on August 15th.
Mubarak has been ordered to be held at a hospital on the outskirts of Cairo, on the Cairo Ismalia road. I know that many people felt sorry for Mubarak and believed him to be seriously ill. I am skeptical and think it’s part of an act. I do however admire his sons standing by his side and trying to block camera’s view and showed unity, (that doesnt change what I think of them though).
We have to wait and see what will happen until then…. Never the less it’s all history in the making and possibly a significant step towards true democracy.

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Diary Entry 9

Friday, 4th February 2011

 

‘Departure Friday’

 

 

I wake up with my nerves on edge. I am completely and utterly nervous. So nervous that I am nauseous filled with fear and dread. If the past two days have been bloody then God only knows what lies in store for the brave protesters today.

 

Today we anticipate more protesters to take to the streets and head towards Tahrir, but after seeing the event unfold on TV the past two days I am fearful for the lives of those who want to go, Becs and a few friends of ours too.

 

‘Please God, If you can hear me, let there be no blood shed today. Blow away those who want to inflict harm, violence and chaos.’

 

Every time I look at the clock or my watch the hands don’t appear to have moved. I feel as though everything is going in slow motion.

I sit and continue to type my diary entries out on to my lap top. As I peck away at my keyboard, I feel as though my intuition is picking up on the anxiety of everyone around me. My heart is racing, breathing heavily and a tightness forms in my chest. I try and over come the strange sensation, by taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly. Bec now is looking at me with concern and ask if I’m alright and if he can get me anything.

 

“God, I just want this day to pass”

 

Becs’s sister asks me if I want to accompany her at Makani, a café very close to the house. I think getting out of the house might be a good idea.

 

My Blackberry these days seems to be an extension of my hand. I check twitter every few minutes for up dates from trusted sources in Tahrir and in other areas of the country.

 

Friday prayer has commenced and the TV is showing rows upon rows of people worshiping, bowing and praying together shoulder by shoulder and in unison,

while others form a human chain around the people praying to protect them. The sight of the live footage on TV is empowering and moving. I am moved so much that a lump forms in my throat and my eyes begin to burn from holding back the tears.

 

This is a scene I have longed to see, where hang ups and walls between Muslims and Christians do not exist. They stand together as people, as Egyptians. I can not help but feel proud. How I want to be there and stand among them and witness the barriers between religion, classes and people come crashing down along with a regime that built it. I am thinking of ways of escaping the safety of Heliopolis to go there. A phone call from my mother quickly ends that. She calls to make sure that I am safe and nowhere near Tahrir! Grrrrrrrr

‘Are these the same people who had been fighting in self-defense the past two days?’

 

The world as I have been told by many have been glued to their TV sets for hours every day and today they will be as shocked as I am to see a different scene, a scene of unity and solidarity. Muslims and Christians standing together, what a vision, what a sight and what an example they are being to the world.

 

For the pas few years I have been teach in a school where my students have tried tirelessly to find out what faith I belong to. I never tell them because it shouldn’t matter what religion I practice. What should mater is what kind of person I am. We shouldn’t teach children to identify others by their practices. It’s wrong and that is what causes BIG problems and a huge rift in our country and society. I hope my students and the administration are watching this and will be inspired and learn from it.

 

Heba comes and joins us at Makani. I introduce her to Meeza we talk about how things are going right now in Tahrir. Heba shares my desire for wanting to go to Tahrir. She too has given her word to her parents that she won’t go. Her father calls her every day, early in the morning to make her promise that she will not go. He doesn’t want to have to worry about her, while he is out of the country. She alone understands and shares my frustration.

 

The café is filling up with more customers; the limited menu doesn’t turn them away. The change of scenery and being out of the house seems to be a common change that everyone is in need of. Being here sitting in a café makes me feel guilty. I feel as though I am not contributing or supporting. I am a firm believer in the freedom of speech, liberty and justice and for years I have been trying to break free from the chains that the country and society have tried to shackle me with and here I am sitting at a café!!!! What a hypocrite! ARGH!!!

 

I take my phone and check the tweets!

Reporters are having a tough time down on the ground. Military officials are confiscating cameras and detaining them. The safest place for them ironically is in Tahrir, where the protesters grant them refuge.

The square is turning in to a huge big out-door concert or festival with live music and dancing!

 

I should be there!

 

 

 

 

There is so much going on at the moment and it’s very hard keeping up with all the information and rumors that are coming in faster than you can process.

So, what I am going to do is post the emails I have been sending to my family and friends abroad so that you know what is going on with me and here in Egypt.

The 25th of January is a national holiday in Egypt in honor of policemen. (not much of a day off for them yesterday)
As you may or may not have heard, there are protests going on across Egypt. Before the march began, police arrested everyone in Cilantro Cafe, in Gamaat El Dowal, in Mohendiseen. One of the people I follow on twitter (@sandmoneky) got away in time to report what had happened.
There was very little news coverage yesterday when over 30,000 people went to peacefully demonstrate in downtown Cairo, Tahrir Square. There was no property damage or harassment of any kind. The protesters were being ‘respectful’ for loss of a better word.
(You might think…. so what is the big idea… people protest all the time all over the world. Well in Egypt, it’s illegal to protest, you
can get arrested and badly beaten for speaking out against the president or the government.)

KFC, Mc Donalds and Pizza Hut distributed food for free to the protesters. Other people supported the cause by providing water and
food.
The Government is still in power and is limiting the amount of information to the public within the country and abroad
The riot police had road-blocks set up and riot police every, before the march was due to start at noon. The people found ways around the blocks, by side roads and walking on the 6th of October Bridge.
Yesterday the government succeeded in blocking twitter and shutting it down for a couple of hours, especially for those in the square.
Mobnil, a mobile phone network company shut down it’s communications too.
All of this to prevent the protesters from spreading the word to people withing the country and abroad.
Out of uniform police officers were in the Al Jazeera headquarter building taking down journalist/reporters names  so that no one would
be able to cover the story.
At 11pm last night the people were still making their way to Tahrir square with the intention of spending the night. People were arriving
with pillows, blankets and food supplies.
That is when the police opened fire and used Tear gas, water hoses from fire trucks and batons against the protesters.

Today the people continue to speak out and are gaining help from the Tunisians, International Hackers to brake down firewalls and find
alternate ways to spread the word on line. They even sent the police on wild goose chases to false places where protests were going to
happen.
While in truth the protests were planned for 2pm, in Nasr City, Medan El Saa3a, 6th of October City, (Hossari)  press and lawyers syndicate in down town Cairo.
Riot police have been on high alert all day.

Out of uniform police have been arresting small groups/clusters of people off the street and confiscating their mobile phones.
Government is limiting Internet access and is shutting twitter and facebook down in Egypt. (i have had a hell of a time trying to get in to gmail, it’s very reminiscent of the time when the Internet cables in the sea got cut)
I still have access to facebook and twitter from my blackberry, but that could be temporary…

While i still have access to twitter, if you have an account follow CNNs Ben Wedeman, Ian lee (ianinegypt), @sandmonkey…these are people that  are  on the ground reporting what is going on and taking pictures. you can see it for yourself.

(I am more of a behind the scenes kind of person)
A friend just got through to tell me, AlJazeera English has live coverage of what is going on in Egypt.
Police are taking no chances today…they are really cracking down hard on the protesters and using the words of Benwedemen, ‘No
Restraint’
The protesters have been fired with tear gas, beaten with bamboo sticks and kicked by out of uniform police officers

I just received a message informing me that people should avoid
The following areas, Tayaran Street, Tareeq El Nasr and Midan El Sa3a. ‘The demonstrations are getting crazy over
there and it’s becoming out of control’

Just got word mobile phone provider, Vodafone has blocked google, gtalk, blog spot and twitter.

I’m in Heliopolis, I live very close to the presidential palace and across the street from the national guard. There have been no protests
here at all.  I am safe and not on the ground with the protesters.

Just thought you might want to know what is going on, in case you are trying to get through to some people. International calls were blocked yesterday for some time.

I want change in Egypt, but I dont think this is the wisest way to go about it. We don’t want some other guy to take over and screw the
country over. We also don’t want the extremists coming in to take over and turning Egypt in to the next Iran or Afghanistan. I think that
there has to be a plan…… So, as much as I am happy that the people are speaking up and voicing their frustration and want of change…I
hope this doesn’t become the next country to fall after Tunisia.

Nadia

Rumor has it if the protests don’t end by 11pm, electricity companies have been told to shut off power. I don’t know how accurate that is.

* The power did go out in the downtown area and in Zamalek. People were asked to leave bars in case it got raided or dangerous.