Friday, February 25, 2011

Egypt: 18 days that shook the world


In the early afternoon of January 25th 2011, I found myself on the Nile corniche north of Qasr El-Nile bridge, alongside about a thousand pro-change protesters. My companions and I had already been watching extraordinary scenes unfold across the city all morning, particularly in the populous northern neighbourhoods of Bulaq and Shubra El-Masr, where small, mobile crowds of demonstrators swept through the streets with astonishing ease, chanting 'down, down Hosni Mubarak' and exposing a simple but explosive truth to nonplussed bystanders: behind the facade of a supposedly-impregnable security apparatus, there really was nothing to stop Egyptians standing up for their rights and making their voices heard.

Mubarak's security forces were taken by surprise that day; thinly-strung and overstretched, they were powerless to stop the dozens of parallel demonstrations erupting all over the capital and beyond. By early afternoon though, they had rallied, and were now stationed in their hundreds across the road in front of the derelict Nile Hilton - rows of amin markazi, helmeted and shielded to the bone. The protesters didn't charge, didn't fight, didn't flinch - they just kept on marching, heads up and eyes forward. And against the sheer weight of human fearlessness, the security forces melted away. At that moment my newspaper called me and asked for an update.

I remember looking around me at the gleeful abandon of demonstrators running from one part of the street to another - revelling in the giddy sensation of having reclaimed their public space from the state. I saw the uncertainty and terpidation etched onto the faces of senior police officers, and at the new columns of protesters streaming in from across the river. And I knew then with absolute certainty that for Mubarak, nothing was left. I didn't know how long it would take, or what horrific violence might unfold in the interim, but a fear barrier had been broken, and for a president whose power rested solely on a bed of fear - fear of the police, fear of the government, fear of extremism, fear of instability - this could only mean the end. 'A revolution has begun,' I told my editors.

18 days later, on February 11th, newly-appointed vice president Omar Suleiman appeared on state television for twenty seconds and announced that Mubarak was stepping down. This is a summary of my writing throughout that period, as our emotions fizzed about like home-made firecrackers and Egyptians took it upon themselves to not just knock something down, but build something new in its stead as well, something that would inspire and amaze well beyond the country's borders. This unfinished revolution has a long and turbulent road ahead, but that only makes the steps taken so far all the more incredible.

Many of the articles below were written with colleagues, including Peter Beaumont and Chris McGreal. Photos are taken from The Atlantic.

--- Before the 25th ---

Sunday 23rd January

Egypt's young wait for their lives to begin - and dream of revolution (The Observer)
In Cairo, as in places all over the country, all eyes are fixed on the drama that is unfolding in Tunisia. Jack Shenker travelled across Egypt and heard people increasingly asking: could it happen here?

Monday 24th January

Egypt braced for 'day of revolution protests (The Guardian)
Youth activists, Islamists, workers and football fans to hold rallies and marches against Mubarak government

--- 18 days ---

Tuesday 25th January

Mubarak regime in crisis as biggest anti-government demonstrations in a generation sweep across Egypt (The Guardian)

Guardian live blog - January 25th

Wednesday 26th January

Bloodied and bruised: An eyewitness account from inside Mubarak's security apparatus (The Guardian)
The Guardian's man in Cairo tells of his beating and arrest at the hands of the security forces

Egypt protesters prepare to return to the streets (The Guardian)

Guardian live blog - January 26th

Thursday 27th January

Egypt braces itself for biggest day of protests yet (The Guardian)
Pressure builds on the president, Hosni Mubarak, as banned Muslim Brotherhood backs protests

Mohamed ElBaradei lands in Cairo: 'There's no going back' (The Guardian)
Supporters insist Egypt's people will make change from below

Guardian live blog - January 27th

Friday 28th January

Egyptian protesters are not just facebook revolutionaries (The Guardian)
The internet has galvanised dissidents, but the key events that fuelled the uprising happened offline

Egyptian government on last legs, says ElBaradei (The Guardian)
Exclusive: Mohamed ElBaradei says he is sending a message 'to the Guardian and to the world'

Hosni Mubarak orders curfew as protests continue (The Guardian)
• Soldiers told to restore order as violent clashes continue • Mohamed ElBaradei placed under house arrest • Many police switching sides and joining protests

Egypt on the brink as the tanks roll in (The Guardian)
• At least 25 killed on day of violent protest • Mubarak stays but dismisses government • Demonstrators defy nationwide curfew

Guardian live blog - January 28th

Saturday 29th January

Egypt's day of fury: Cairo in flames as cities become battlegrounds (The Guardian)

Guardian live blog - January 29th

Sunday 30th January

Hosni Mubarak in frantic bid to cling on to power (The Observer)
President appoints intelligence chief to vice-president post as streets ring out to cry of 'Mubarak, your plane is ready'

'Mubarak must fall' - across Cairo, the protesters' message is the same (The Observer)
Sacrificing government ministers is not enough: for the people to be satisfied, the president must be deposed

From the young to the old, the voices of the Egyptian rebellion rise (The Observer)

'The youth are motivated to keep going, and the old political leaders have been left behind'

Change is coming, says Mohamed ElBaradei (The Guardian)
Thousands rally in Cairo to defy curfew as Hillary Clinton calls on Hosni Mubarak to allow 'orderly transition'

The mosque that became a hospital (The Guardian)

Egyptians form makeshift militias as police stay off the streets (The Guardian)

Friend or foe? Egypt's army keeps protesters guessing (The Guardian)

Guardian live blog - January 30th

Monday 31st January

Egypt set for mass protest as army rules out force (The Guardian)
Military issues statement via state-run agency on a dramatic seventh consecutive day of unrest

The Muslim Brotherhood: protesters play down Islamist party's role (The Guardian)
Opposition movement vows to 'respect the will of the people' if Mubarak's regime falls

Guardian live blog - January 31st

Tuesday 1st February

Protesters refuse to leave the streets until Mubarak steps down (The Guardian)
Emboldened by the army's support, people pour on to the streets to demand the president's departure

Hosni Mubarak vows to step aside - but not until next election (The Guardian)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's announcement that he will serve out remaining term immediately rejected by angry crowds

Protesters react angrily to Mubarak's televised address (The Guardian)

Opposition parties reject talks with government in effort to shore up credibility (The Guardian)

The president vs the people (Monocle)

Guardian live blog - 1st February

Wednesday 2nd February

Protests show signs of division as Mubarak drives a wedge (The Guardian)

Bloodshed in Tahrir: Mubarak supporters stage brutal bid to crush Cairo uprising (The Guardian)
Egyptian president's regime orchestrates bloody battles in Tahrir Square against protesters seeking his removal from power

Egypt's revolution turns ugly as Mubarak fights back (The Guardian)
Extraordinary scenes in central Cairo and violent battles in cities across the country

Mubarak's thugs fight for Tahrir Square (The Guardian)
Claims that plainclothes police hidden in ranks as battles take place in the symbolic epicentre of the revolution

ElBaradei urges world leaders to abandon Mubarak (The Guardian)
Criminal acts by government-backed thugs and a regime killing its own people make negotiations impossible, says Nobel laureate

Guardian live blog - February 2nd

Thursday 3rd February

Cairo protesters face more gunfire (The Guardian)
Death toll rises as violent clashes continue in Egypt between anti-government and pro-Mubarak supporters

Egyptian army disperses Mubarak supporters from key bridge (The Guardian)

Tahrir Square battleground: 'These people tried to slaughter us last night' (The Guardian)
Anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo fight to hold square littered with bricks and burnt-out vehicles after night of bloodshed

Guardian live blog - February 3rd

Friday 4th February

US hatches Mubarak exit strategy as Egypt death toll mounts (The Guardian)
White House involved in discussions to remove Egyptian president, in spite of Mubarak claims that he is on staying on

'You come near Tahrir again and things won't be so good' (The Guardian - written by Peter Beaumont)
Guardian reporters have hair-raising encounters with the Egyptian security forces and an angry mob

Cairo's biggest protest yet demands Mubarak's immediate departure (The Guardian)
Egyptian president clings to power as hundreds of thousands stage 'day of departure' demonstration in Tahrir Square

Guardian live blog - February 4th

Saturday 5th February

Mubarak's departure will not be enough to quell uprising (The Guardian)

Egypt protests: government will meet key opposition figures (The Guardian)

Talks to begin with newly appointed vice-president Omar Suleiman as protests run into 12th day

Guardian live blog - February 5th

Sunday 6th February

The Tahrir Square medic (The Guardian)
Cardiologist Dina Omar shares her experience of treating injured protesters in makeshift medical camp as rocks and petrol bombs were thrown at them

Guardian live blog - February 6th

Monday 7th February

Business as usual for Egypt's rich - but their children are out protesting (The Guardian)

In New Cairo – a satellite city to the east of the capital – life, on the surface at least, seems to have barely changed

Guardian live blog - February 7th

Tuesday 8th February

The Muslim Brotherhood uncovered (The Guardian)
In an exclusive Guardian interview, Egypt's Islamist opposition group sets out its demands

Guardian live blog - February 8th

Wednesday 9th February

Egyptian talks near collapse as unions back protesters (The Guardian)
Government refuses transition plan as demonstrations are joined by strikes – and vice-president's coup ultimatum raises tensions

Guardian live blog - February 9th

Thursday 10th February

Egypt's economy suffers as strikes intensify (The Guardian)
Thousands of workers walked out from their jobs, piling pressure on a political leadership already rocked by protests

Egypt: Day of rumour and expectation ends in anger and confusion (The Guardian)
Vast crowds in Tahrir Square expected a victory party after the departure of Mubarak – but it was not to be

Guardian live blog - February 10th

Friday 11th February

Protesters surround state TV building (The Guardian)

Opposition protest blocks streets around pro-Mubarak symbol of power in bid to stop journalists inside 'spreading more deception'

Hosni Mubarak resigns - and Egypt celebrates a new dawn (The Guardian)
President Mubarak surrenders power to army and flies out of Cairo as 18 days of mass protest in Egypt end in revolution

Tahrir: In Cairo's liberation square, the victory party begins (The Guardian)
Jubilant Egyptians push aside fear of future and celebrate Hosni Mubarak's resignation

Guardian live blog - February 11th
Guardian live blog - Mubarak resigns

--- Aftermath ---

Sunday 13th February

Egypt: How the wheel of history turned (The Observer)
By overcoming their fears and defying the man whose regime had terrorised them for 30 years, Cairo's protesters not only drove out Hosni Mubarak, they have changed the Arab world

Monday 14th February

Young Arabs throwing off the shackles of tradition (The Guardian)
The frustrated generation at the heart of the protests tell how their progress is being stifled by unemployment, corruption and cronyism

Egyptian protester: Tunisia shows us something different was possible (The Guardian)
Frustrated Cairo graduate Shady Alaa El Din wanted to leave Egypt because of the lack of freedom and opportunity, but protests in Tahrir Square have made him feel capable of bringing change

Tuesday 15th February

Egypt's army hijacking revolution, activists fear (The Guardian)
Military ruling council begins to roll out reform plans while civilian groups struggle to form united front

Wednesday 16th February

Egyptian activists condemn brutal attack on CBS reporter in Tahrir Square (The Guardian)
Serious assault on Lara Logan of CBS took place in middle of crowd at height of celebrations after Hosni Mubarak resigned

Monday 21st February

Egypt's press undergoes its own revolution (Media Guardian)
Does the political upheaval in Egypt spell the end of state-controlled media?

The revolution, violence and KFC: In conversation with Abdel Latif Al Menawy
Transcript from interview with the head of Egyptian state news

Tuesday 22nd February

Arab League urged to condemn Gaddafi by angry protesters in Egypt (The Guardian)
Demonstrators outside Arab League headquarters in Cairo accuse members of being out of touch

Thursday 24th February

Mubarak's cronies face corruption charges in Cairo court (The Guardian)
Three stalwarts of the deposed Egyptian president are greeted by angry crowd at courthouse

Saudi king accused of misjudged bribery in attempt to stave off unrest (The Guardian)
King Abdullah needs to implement political reform, scholars claim, as students plan 'day of rage'

Sunday 27th February

Egypt general's unveil reform package (The Guardian)
Interim government's committee of experts proposes eight changes to constitution

Monday 28th February

Hosni Mubarak barred from leaving Egypt (The Guardian)

Attorney general announces travel ban and freeze on Hosni Mubarak's domestic assets in possible prelude to prosecution

Wednesday 2nd March

Egypt's revolution: The T-shirts, the tat, and the tremendous struggle that continues (Monocle)



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