At 18:02 GMT+2 on 11 February 2011, I heard a country roar. I’ll never forget it. I had just stepped out of a lift, and into an office overlooking the Nile. I was struck by everyone’s transfixed gaze on the small TV in the corner. A moment later, those words: President Mubarak has stepped down and handed over control to the Armed Forces. Less than a beat later it came – The Roar.
It’s hard to describe what the simultaneous gasp, cheer, shout and scream of millions sounds like. A wall of human sound coming from living rooms, tower blocks, taxis, coffee shops and pedestrians. I ran to the window. I remember digging my palms into the aluminum frame as I looked down at the flood of exuberant humans gushing down into the street. It’s like the Nile had burst its banks, the dictatorship’s dam had cracked. And the river roared.
I ran down into the street and joined the crowds. In 10 minutes I was in Tahrir where the party was well under way. For the first and last time since, in Egypt I felt free.
History is written by the victors. In retrospect, when observing the state of the nation today, it seems that Tweets from Tahrir is a more important work than we then thought. It is a small contribution to subverting the hegemonic discourse, a challenge to the machinery engaged in rewriting memories as we speak.
This moment, the roar, is an opportunity to thank those we passed the baton to. To those people whose projects continued the documentation of those 18 days: The emotions, the demands, the hopes, the dreams, the laughter, the camaraderie and the pain. To those who got in touch from around the world, eager to amplify the revolutionaries’ story and inspire activists everywhere, you are too part of insuring history isn’t lost, thank you.
Here are just a few: Peter Weibel and The Centre for Art & Media, bringing the Egyptian story to their global aCtIVISm project, the Pandora’s connecting of Tahrir to Taksim with the Turkish translation of our book, Paul Mason for his unwavering and continued support for the Egyptian Revolutionaries.
But most of all, this is a moment to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in those 18 days. The majority of whom were the urban poor, with no Twitter accounts or university degrees, chancing their luck for freedom. They are the martyrs of #Jan25. The word Martyr in Arabic is here poignant, as it holds both attributes of self-sacrifice, but also bearing witness. They saw a moment of hope and died fighting for a better life. It’s our job to make sure their story isn’t forgotten.
Al Thawra Mostamera: The Revolution Lives On!
You are not alone.