Our friend and collaborator in Cairo has been able, now with the internet turned back on, to send a message about what they are experiencing there in the thick of downtown Cairo. I won’t share his name but suffice to say he is too close to the action for comfort. Here is an excerpt from the first we have heard from him since this all began:
” We are under siege, the nights events are happening all around us, there is automatic gunfire and the constant thump of helicopters as I write this. Our area is completely locked down by the army, our street is blocked with concertina wire, there are two sand bagged bunkers at the entrance to the street with an elite Egyptian army unit manning the defenses, and there are 5 tanks in our midan opposite our house. It is 11:30pm at night here, and the battle still seems to be raging. Earlier, at about 7:00 pm, our midan was being used as a rallying point for the pro-Mubarak ‘demonstrators’ and the army decided to disperse them. When they refused, they began firing in the air and the crowd dispersed. About an hour later another crowd came in a knot down our other street. This time the officer decided they could not enter our midan, the crowd began to grumble, and the officer went ballistic. He ordered them to withdraw at least 300 meters from his checkpoint and when they balked he warned them that they had 10 seconds to withdraw or he would clear the street with gunfire. His men began unslinging their weapons, cocking their assault rifles, and fixing bayonets, the crowd of about 50 people withdrew. At this point a small NDP leader, a typical muazzaff (Official) came forward to speak to the officer, the officer bellowed that his people and his ilk were committing larceny and chaos all over the city, and ordered him to leave instantly. The official hastily withdrew shouting that the army were only 400,000 men but that he represented Egypt and its millions. This crowd of 50 people consisted of NDP thugs trucked in from one of the delta cities. These counter demonstrations are merely the last spasms of a dying regime. We shall see what tomorrow shall bring…”
Our prayers go out to our Egyptian friends and relatives, and we wish for the best possible outcome!