Wednesday, 9 March 2011

9th of March 2011 – The End of Liberation (Square)?

The 9th of March is an important date in Egyptian history. On that day in 1938, the first President of Cairo University, Ahmad Lutfi as-Sayyid, resigned in order to protest against the governmental decision to dismiss Taha Hussein from his position as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts. Freedom of thought and expression were then progressively banished from the campus of Cairo University and this situation  was to last until present day.
During the last three days, students and professors have been openly protesting against their superiors. They want to push the president and the deans –representatives of Mubarak’s regime– to resign. However, the president just decided to maintain Cairo University closed for some more days until everybody might forget about the issue…
College for English Literature of Cairo University; students claim for the re-opening of the university, 9th of March 2011

When I came back from the campus, at around 8 pm, Midan at-Tahrir was empty. Soldiers with machine guns were patrolling the square and a group of around sixty men had gathered in a corner of Qasr al-Nil Street. They were gazing to the centre of the circle where a few hours earlier the “inner-circle of the revolution” had still been operating. Officers of the traffic police in their black winter-uniform and armed soldiers were circling around them.

Administration Building: The Mogamma
The “utopian city of liberation” had completely vanished. The core building of the Kafkaesque authoritarian administration –the Mogamma– had recuperated its sinister totalitarian aspect. It had suddenly, reappeared out of the shadow of the tents under the shelter of which freedom had been born. Was this a dream? Are we to wake up all of a sudden from this short ecstasy of liberation?
The traffic police seems to have recuperated their former positions and are to be seen everywhere in down town. Curfew is –starting from tomorrow– back on at 8 pm. The reason why? The baltagiyya, as usual… 

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