The Night the People of Egypt Regained their Country

Dearest Seif,


It is strange being present in a moment you know will be written about in history books…  Today is another significant day to remember.


Your dad and I were watching TV in the kitchen, not expecting to hear anything earth-shattering coming from the Vice-President after Mubarak’s disastrous speech the night before.  In a matter of 20 seconds or so, the VP made the announcement that Mubarak was stepping down.  Your dad and I were frozen for a few seconds.  I felt the hair on the back of my neck tingle. I asked your dad, “So, Mubarak resigned?” Perhaps I didn’t hear correctly.  He nodded his head, giving me a wide smile and a big hug.  We jumped up and down like little kids, laughing and God knows what we were saying to each other.


Your dad ran to the TV room where you were sitting, changed the cartoon channel to the news, and interrupted you in the middle of your sacred “Angry Birds” game.  He explained that Mubarak “left the country” and pulled you off the couch and twirled you around, dancing to the images of thousands of Egyptians waving the flag in euphoria.  Even Lara joined in by weaving in and out from between your dad’s legs.


The excitement didn’t last long with you, unfortunately, as you returned to playing “Angry Birds”, then slept an hour or so afterwards.  We tucked you in bed, and your dad and I decided to live the feeling of a successful revolution. We took the car and drove to Heliopolis, as we planned to walk the streets of Korba.


We parked the car as we neared a traffic jam.  We walked on the side walk passing cars in a dead-lock.  It was the most beautiful traffic jam that I had ever seen… Music from FM radio was spilling out of all of the cars, playing the same song at the same time – Dalida’s “Helwa Ya Balady”.  It was as if there was a thousand sound speakers installed in the streets.  The people packed in the cars, and the people walking on the sidewalks were all singing in unison to the song.  I felt like I was walking in the middle of a music clip.  Everyone was smiling… Flags waved out of the cars, held by people of all ages.  Some flags were attached to the moving windshield wipers, dancing from side to side.


Beyond the cheerful traffic jam, we found a huge crowd gathered under the Marghany Street bridge.  The busy streets transformed into a pedestrian hang-out.  Your dad and I weaved through the crowd of strangers who were singing patriotic songs, chanting, “The people have brought down the regime!”, cracking Mubarak jokes on loudspeakers, taking pictures with their phones, and shooting sound guns in the air.  The flag of Egypt was waving everywhere; those who did not have flags were either wearing red, white, and black, or had the flag painted on their faces.


It was a strange feeling, Seif… I found myself smiling at these strangers as if I had known them well.  I felt connected to them all;  I even wanted to give them hugs.  As we neared Korba, the crowd thickened.  Youth with drums passed us and each pound of the drum resonated in my body.  The smell of sulfur filled the air as fireworks glittered in the sky, drawing an “Aaaaaaaw” sound from the crowd.


Your dad and I stopped beside a car surrounded by people.  The car owner had large speakers playing Mohamed Mounir’s new song “Ezzay” that was in honor of the revolution.  We clapped along as boys, girls, men and women danced, sang the new lyrics, and waved the flag.  Confetti was released, showering us in a rainbow of colors.  I wondered how people managed to get so much confetti and fireworks in such a short notice.


I wished you could have been with us.  So many moms and dads were out in the streets with their children.  I think the loud noises would have startled you, though, but you would have seen something that doesn’t usually happen in a person’s life-time.


Oh, Seif… what a time this is.  It feels so unreal, then reality hits me, then it feels unreal again.    A seed of an idea, developed into a simple plan, that turned into an organized crowd, that toppled a stubborn regime.  All in 18 days.  Who would have thought that youth could have such power? Learn from this moment, Seif.  As the saying goes, “Impossible is nothing”… Go after and hold on to what you believe in, and don’t settle for anything less… even if it takes a revolution to achieve it.



Your elated mother, Rania


Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 11:26 pm  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dear Rania

    Thank you so much for this wonderful write up of the euphoria that was Cairo last night. I am an Indian but grew up in Cairo and I still consider it my home.I was sitting here in India wishing I was back home in Cairo the whole night and wanted to just be there to witness this great moment.Reading your account made me feel like I truly was there! Funnily enough, when I went to bed last night, with the excitement brimming to my ears such that my head felt it would explode, the song that kept playing inside was Helwa Ya Balady…reading your post above made me feel that the music from the streets of Cairo had indeed filtered its way here to me!
    Thanks again! Hope you don’t mind, have shared this on FB as I know so many others out there who so wanted to be in Cairo last night, just like me!

    Cheers to a wonderful new Egypt!
    Nandini 🙂

    • Yaaaaay 🙂 I’m so glad my post was able to do that! The other post I wrote to my son (also featured on this blog) was quite depressing… I never thought that in the span of a few days we could go from turmoil to celebration.

      I’m honored that you shared my post, and thank you for your love of my country. The international outpour of positive thoughts towards Egypt is something we’re not used to, and something that warms our hearts and makes us feel even more pride.

  2. Rania, you don’t know me, but a friend shared your blog with me. It is so great to hear the thoughts coming from a ‘real’ perspective (not just a major newssource). God bless you and your family!

    • Thank you, dear… I appreciate your note.

  3. Habibti Rania

    What beautiful words to capture not only the euphoria of the moment but the hopes of a mother to her child! It brought tears to our eyes. Seif and Lara will grow up in the dawn of a new sun. True are the words- Impossible is nothing… (Reem and Moataz)

    • When you called yesterday, I was so emotional with disbelief and happiness. Seeing people rejoicing in the streets grounded what just happened even more for me. You were the first to call and congratulate us on the news 🙂 Big hugs to you & Khalo.

  4. amazing!!!

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