Sylvie Nony reports on a day of harrassment and hope.
Just a quick post to reassure my readers. As we had feared, yesterday saw massive intimidation of foreigner. The government is accusing of being "the cause of all our troubles", and the state media are relaying this message widely.
State Security passed through my street and many other streets Downtown, checking up on foreigners, gathering information from CIs, seizing memory cards and cameras, USB keys and hard drives. They wanted to search my appartment, and they asked my landlord to prove that I was neither a journalist nor an activist, that I didn't attend the demonstrations and that I was not mixed up in politics. Unfortunately, I couldn't put their minds at rest myself, because I had left the centre of town at dawn. I am now staying with friends who kindly invited me to take refuge in their distant neighbourhood. I expect to be there for some time.
Yesterday, the protesters continued their occupation of Tahrir Square, despite the cold and the rain. Today, the Christians have announced that they will be celebrating Sunday mass on the square. Western analyses which appeal to the Islamist bogeyman to justify even the worst dictatorships have to be revised, to take account of the diversity and richness of this citizen's movement.
Here, I'll just add some extracts from a letter I received last night from Mohamed, a friend from Alexandria:
"I am fine, except that I am very tired, because I am spending all my time in the street, what with the demonstrations that last all day, guard duty around the library, and then at night, keeping watch in my neighbourhood, just as everyone else has been doing in all the towns and villages throughout Egypt, since the police disappeared, exposing us to the attacks of the bandits who are paid by the authorities (by the central police, the governing national "democratic" party, and certain businessmen close to the regime)!!!... The people of Alexandria are in control of the whole city, of every aspect of its life. We do everything for ourselves: without any help from the administration, the police, the traffic police, the supermarkets or the banks.
.... now, it is just a question of enduring, of resistance... but hope grows day by day... it is magnificent to live this moment, after 30 years of frustration and despair!"
Translation: Fred Bowie. Original FR text here.