7 years ago: Egypt's first anti-Mubarak protest

 

Hossam reminded me with this post that today's is the seventh anniversary of Kifaya's (or to use its proper name, the Movement for Change's) first protest against the rule of Hosni Mubarak. I remember being in a cab Downtown and driving past the High Court when I noticed a crowd. I got out to see what was happening and saw well-known leftist activists (it's important to note these were practically entirely leftists and nationalists) singing together a funny version of the Egyptian national anthem, with the lyrics changed to poke fun at Mubarak and Gamal. I was stringing for the London Times  at the time and had to convince the editors that it was worth filing a piece despite the small size of the protests.

I wrote this post at the time — I'm glad I called it a "significant milestone."

It was those brave few people, at a time when no one else would dare call for an end to the Mubarak regime, who began to roll the snowball that turned into this year's avalanche — not the Muslim Brothers, not liberal activists, not political or business leaders. That's worth commemorating.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.