So today, I watched The Square (‘Al Midan’) by Jehane Noujaim. It’s an Egyptian-American documentary film about the civil uprisings that occurred in Cairo between 2011 and 2013. Having grown up in Egypt and having family that live there (in Cairo), means that I actually followed this closely via the news and social media while it was happening. When I say the news, I am referring to Arabic news channels, because (as the film mentions) for some reason, some chunks were not thoroughly reported by western channels.
If you don’t know much about this uprising, let me explain it in a very simplified way. Egypt was ruled by a dictator – Hosni Mubarak – for 30 years. The people decided to protest against the regime forced upon them by sitting in Tahrir Square (a central area in Cairo) on the 25th of January 2011. There were loooooaaaaaddddss of complications between the people, the army and various political parties, but in the end, the people managed to overthrow Mubarak, as well as the man who replaced him as president – Morsi. Things didn’t really work out too well though, so it’s hard to consider what happened a victory. Although the country has settled down (*cough*) for now, under the rule of yet another dictator, it still has a long way to go, waiting for a decent leader to give the people what they need.
It’s a tough film to watch. Especially for an Egyptian. One thing you should know is that Egyptians are very proud people; they are exceptionally passionate about what they believe in. They are some of the (if not the) biggest patriots I have known – they worship Egypt. So you can imagine how tough it was (and still is) to see the country in such distress, and the people in such woe.
It’s also a very graphic film. It contains a lot of real footage of some very gory and upsetting moments. It really broke my heart to see it. Just like it broke my heart 5 years ago, watching it live on the news.
I wanted to write this post because I was so saddened by this documentary. So many countries are going through the same thing (for example – the Arab Spring). It’s just so horrible to witness the unfair treatment of these people who only want the same rights that a lot of us take for granted. Maybe you don’t take them for granted, I don’t know. But I know I do. It’s even worse seeing it happen in a city I call home. Revisiting it last Christmas, I could clearly see where all the fighting had happened. The streets my family and friends live on were in ruins. Thankfully, all my loved ones were all okay.
It’s a sad world we live in.