Alaa Khaled is the editor of Amkenah magazine.
I always dreamt of walking in a massive demonstration, among a huge crowd that gathered humans from all wakes of life, people with various colors, from various levels of society, but who share a common dream. The rows mingle, come together, grow further apart, interlink, touch one another, become organized in a highly sensitive manner resembling queuing for prayer, with one slogan “The People … want … to topple the regime”. Walking amid rows of buildings on the “Freedom Path”, residents throw bottles of water for us to recover our throats from the chanting. Some hang the Egyptian flag waving from their windows, some whistling and clapping, and for each of them we wave V for victory. The demonstration is not complete until we see the “victorious one” walking while flowers are falling on his head from all around, like in the classic pictures. If all these people are in the streets, who will wave for the “victorious”? If not for these, the walk will be empty of pride. There must be an observer to testify from above and tell the story to bestow confidence to each one, before the demonstration finally disappears and dissolves.
In our walk, the “sacrifice revolutionary” disappears. This model, which was created by all previous walks in the history of Egypt, has left a poor and desperate legacy of revolt. But our walk is in fact an extended stroll, with entire families joining, a covered joy amid the joining hands and chanting and hugging. This group sensation is what gave the walk its purpose without the need for any excessive emotions or ancient parables. There was a sweet taste to the word “the people”, which we never before experienced till lately. Before that, each of us had our own walk, which was never complete, lacking its most important factor: the masses which push forward with the power of stored emotions unknown before, surfacing now finally. It’s a moment of mass floating … something is flying above our heads; this “deep essence” with its emotional taste of our own people, the right of the group for every individual … the delayed inheritance we never tasted till now. Finally the inside of each one is an integral part of the outside. We are not walking or demonstrating only out of anger, but with a stock of this deep essence we bear inside ourselves and which is now visible to everyone and no longer a personal secret.
We walk forward, and usually walks are forward, like the judgment day, when we stand before God, each carrying their good deeds and the masses surrounding him from each side … forward to an earthly paradise.
These walks which have nearly disappeared in our modern globalized history, has now returned, like an old sprout in a new world … like a “unique unglobalized time” … like a long-awaited revenge from the moment when the masses were devoid of their uniqueness and turned into a stray herd.
Forward, the future opens … the future that was like a large hidden wall we saw nothing beyond. Now the word “future” can have a meaning. It has finally opened and the time is complete: the past, the present and the future which is no longer a dead boring repetition of the past but a solid independent being in an independent time. A unique unglobalized time. Maybe it’s being made now, but still independent like dreams inside oneself.
The walk is like a dream. It gave each one of us a new personal dream with the public bearing an active part with its warmth, emotionality and also chaos. Though this walk continued since January 25th, not knowing exactly when it will stop, we uncovered a new parallel road to the paths of public death we have marched for decades. This new road has found a temporary rest for death, while we continue our walk. The journey is still very long!
Alaa Khaled from Alexandria, February 2011.