Bring My Friend Back
Mona Kareem (23) had collections of her poetry published when she was just 14 and 16. Some of her poems have been translated into six languages. She has a B.A. from the American University of Kuwait. She currently works as a journalist at the Al Rai newspaper in Kuwait. She is on twitter. Her blog is here.
On the 13th of Jan 2011, I met Mosa’ab Elshamy for the first time in Cairo. We were nothing but two tweeps who got to know each other as fanatic FC Barcelona fans. I saw a young quite smiling person in Mosa’ab. Back then, the Tunisian revolution was a fairytale to us, we both thought Egypt is way far away from having a revolution; we thought the Egyptian character lost hope and gave up change longtime ago, because the regime knew how to oppress the people harder and slower every year to create a nation that is capable of sucking pain no matter how big it; The regime worked on replacing dignity with humiliation, the regime worked on dehumanizing a whole nation and let the Egyptians believe that they never deserve anything.
So Mosa’ab somehow agreed with me that a revolution is unlikely to happen in his country, but what shocked me is the way he believed in Egypt. The way he talked about Egypt made me think I am watching some patriotic sub opera that is hard to believe, but after all I enjoyed it; I was impressed people like him still exists, putting into consideration that he is a person with no ideological extremism. “Don’t you want to leave the country, and live in the west?” I asked him with a big question mark written on my face. “No, I want to stay here, open a pharmacy; I cannot imagine myself somewhere else, I belong here” he answered me, humbly.
When the revolution started in January 25, I knew Mosa’ab was already in the streets. I called him, but Mubarak was taking the communication servers down. I was worried about him and happy for him; I honestly envied him for existing in this historical moment. Afterwards, I kept calling until his friend picked up and told me that Mosa’ab got shot but he is no longer in a dangerous condition, I kept calling until one day I got him and he spoke to me with a weak voice trying to calm my worries.
He did not wait longer, he went to Tahrir Square with a tent that he refused to sell after the fall down of Mubarak. He changed his twitter bio to something very simple “I revolted and overthrew a dictator”. Then, Mosa’ab did not hesitate to express his wishes to have Palestine freed next. I argued with him, and told him they should be concerned with Egypt that needs years of their efforts in order to bring the change people died for in the past decades. He understood but never missed a chance to talk about it over and over, and so it did not surprise me to know that he went to the protest near the Israeli embassy in Cairo where he got caught.
It hurts me so bad when I think that this 20 year old friend of mine got caught and might face the militant court. Some have already been there, it is inhumane, and some have been sentenced to years in prison for speaking out or for being in a protest. Egypt had a revolution but the army cannot understand that; the army is a machine good in killing, arresting, and punishing. The army does not see youth, hope, dreams, and memories in those men and women they arrest, they do not appreciate their courage giving up what people of their age should live, just to build a better place for the coming generations, who most probably will deal with jan25 as a boring subject, just the way we dealt with our fathers and mothers’ revolutionary memories as boring and superficial.
I want my friend back, Egypt. Bring back Mosa’ab and all those who are getting morally and physically killed in silence and darkness, but never in souls.