Good piece by Mohamed Adam and Sarah Carr for Egypt Independent:
On the eve of 28 January 2011, the most deadly day of the 18-day uprising, a Central Security Forces (CSF) conscript, who asks to be referred to as Hossam to protect his identity, was nonchalant.
“My friends and I went out together in the lorry and we were laughing and joking. We thought it would just be a normal protest,” says the thin 22-year-old conscript, whose fingernails are chewed down to the quick.
By that evening Hossam was running for his life — in his underwear. Abandoned by their commanding officers and surrounded by hoards of angry protesters, Hossam and other recruits tore off their uniforms in an attempt to escape identification.
“My commanders, who always said to me, ‘Be a man, be a man’ ran away and left us,” Hossam said.
He eventually made his way home — before taking to the streets with his friends and joining protesters.
The mass protests of 2011 were the CSF’s first real test, and it failed abysmally.