The scene was beautiful. Released activists who haven't seen one another since they got out of prison were hugging, and in tears. Others were recalling their prison stories, and exchanging jokes and laughters. Veteran socialist Kamal Khalil, and his colleagues Wael Khalil and Ibrahim el-Sahary got the lionshare of hugs and kisses. They led the demonstrators, in chants against Mubarak, and against State Security police.
Central Security Forces surrounded the syndicate. The usual support brigades of baton-wielding plainclothes thugs were also present, together with few officers from State Security's CounterCommunism's Bureau. However, no hassels were witnessed, and one could get into the syndicate easily.
The one-hour protest was followed by a conference, organized by the Liberties' Committee. Several released detainees took the poduim, and shared their experiences with their supporters. Kamal Khalil denounced any talks between the opposition and Mubarak's National Democratic Party, called for the release of Dr. Ayman Nour, Sharqawi, Sha3er, and the 700+ Muslim Brothers detainees. Kamal also condemned the US support for Mubarak and Israel, affirming that the movement for change in Egypt sees its democracy cause to be organically linked to other regional causes, most importantly Palestine and Iraq. Kamal also expressed his sorrow for the loss of his mentors and colleagues, Ahmad Nabil el-Hilaly, Youssef Darwish and Ahmad 3abdallah Rozza, who passed away while he was in prison. "Rest in peace," he said to his lost comrades. "I want to assure Hilaly the socialist movement has been revived. The Communists in Egypt are only getting stronger day by day. You taught us a lot, and we will not fail you."
I went out later with 3alaa, Manal, and Malek to a friend's place where we were supposed to party. Unfortunately, after two hours of laughters, singing and dancing, we were showered with SMSs about the Israeli invasion of Gaza. We lost the mood for partying, and decided to go home and follow Al-Jazeera. Israeli tanks, as I write now, are rolling into north and south of the strip. Israeli F-16s have bombed two bridges in Gaza's central zone. Gaza is now in darkness as Israeli jets shelled the only electric power station Gaza has.
I tried calling a good friend of mine who lives there, but couldn't get through to his cellular. My thoughts go out to him and all the Palestinians in Gaza...