18 Jul 2011

Hopping From One Revolution to the Other

I am not sure whether I am in love with the Egyptian revolution, with Cairo itself or with the Nile. For 3 consecutive nights Cairo's amazing full moon had accompanied me. May be I am in love with Cairo's full moon too. I was so love-struck the first night when it first caught my eye, I could not sleep till the full moon disappeared, kidnapped in full day light at dawn .. by a cloud.

My Cairo nights were the best part of the day, whether spent at Tahrir Square or on my balcony, watching the Nile and a city that doesn't ever sleep. 

I think I am in love with all of the above at the same time... in love with the Egypt I got to know over five and a half weeks.

It was time to go.

No better place to say good-bye to Cairo on my last night than Khan el Khalili.  It is a bit too touristy for my taste but the atmosphere at 3am feels like 3pm: so full of people, noise and movement. Walking through the allies of the Khan (market) I felt at times I was in Beijing's famous alleyways known as Beijing Hutongs, and at other times in the famous souks of Damascus or Aleppo.

I did not take a picture of the full moon. I wanted to keep my own mental image of it rather than a physical picture. I shall forever remember how it was staring at me. I felt it was all mine.

I leave Egypt grateful for having lived amazing revolutionary moments. Tahrir spirit was in the air and it was shaking the government and the military which rules the country.

I took one last look at Cairo ..

And said : good-bye..

It is going to be a long ride. The coast looked beautiful from my car window. As I went by Matrouh, a popular summer getaway, I could hear the sea calling out my name : Dima Diiima. I had to turn away cruelly from the waves and continue my path to ... Libya.

I had my laptop on my lap, sitting in the back of the car when …. our car suddenly hit a bus, then got bounced to the other side of the road, then back to the right side.  It was such a shock, and it was painful. When the car finally stopped I realised how one's life could end in just a few seconds.

I felt scared .. I am not in "dangerous" Libya yet, and I am already injured. I couldn't help feel nervous about my whole trip. Will I be safe?

My injuries were minor. I decided to just continue the long drive. I remember how I once had a car accident in Syria (actually fell out of a collective "service" taxi while it was driving - the door just opened) and when I was taken to the nearest public health centre the lady there slapped me on the face to wake me up (I had passed out ), then said : "go home, wash your face" !!!  Later on, my mother took me to a proper private hospital where they really cared to look into my injuries.

The scenery was beautiful as we approached the border, climbing a mountain overlooking the sea.

The border crossing was relatively easy.  I did not see a single woman on either side of the border. May be they stay in the car while men do the necessary paperwork for them. I was treated with utmost respect by both Egyptians and Libyans at the border. Hardly any questions asked. As soon as I say I am Palestinian, I usually get a smile and some nice warm words of "welcome".  But I also get lines such as : "But you don't look Palestinian". I was even told I looked "German" and "Swedish" !! I think it is just my attitude.

The first thing you see when you enter Libya are the three colours of the "Free Libya" flag. They are painted everywhere. Also the stickers and the graffitis. One read : We salute the Egyptian army for treating its people as it should".  

As we went through checkpoints, I wondered who those uniformed men were. I was told some were actually from the defected Libyan army, others were just civilians who joined in to help. 

Sunset was beautiful. The road seemed endless on the flat arid land. My heart was beating. I was about to meet another Arab revolution. I was so eager to understand what is happening in Libya. As I looked ahead, I could only see mirage in the horizon..  


Anonymous said...

u wrote this wiz ur heart,u should really consider writing a book abt those marvellous days,it seems to me u would be our fisk

Will Stebbins said...

Thank you for taking us on this journey with you. I appreciate having someone I know and trust as a guide to the most dramatic events of my lifetime.....wish I was there, but failing that, it's great to have your first hand account. I do feel a bit sorry for your husband, having to compete with the moon....I bet he prefers sunrises!

Thor Thunderbolt said...

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