Book review: Randa Shaath's autobiography explores the link between soul and place    Laporte out for up to a month with hamstring injury, says Guardiola    Turmoil reshapes Malaysian politics with Mahathir role in doubt    Prayers at fire-bombed mosques as India's riot toll grows    Promising political stability, new Tunisian government takes office    Egyptian jewellery manufacturers need to more focus on product innovation to compete globally: designer Omama Atef    New virus has infected 83,000 globally, caused 2,800 deaths    Japan's Hokkaido declares state of emergency over virus    Coronavirus spreads in three continents; markets brace for global recession    Live score: Egypt's Zamalek v Tunisia's Esperance (African Champions League, quarterfinals)    Ighalo dedicates first Man Utd goal to late sister    Egypt becomes Africa's third fastest internet speed – minister    Egypt reaches agreement with Eni, Naturgy over Damietta LNG plant    Sudan celebrates Nile Day under theme of ‘joint investments on the river'    Mamluks' war with Ottomans: Rise of a civilisation, fall of another    Iran reports 22 deaths from coronavirus; 141 infected    Parliament has worked on files for all former officials deferred for years: MP Salah Hassaballah    Mo Salah joins UNHCR in combating refugee illiteracy through Instant Network Schools    10th Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children to showcase diverse theatre programme    FRA approves capital hike of EGP 200m for CI Capital    Egypt's Sisi approves loan worth $14 mln to establish grain storage in Port Said    Saudi Arabia stops pilgrimages over coronavirus spread    Egypt's Suez Canal post revenues to $5.8 billion in 2018/19    Turkey cuts off water supply to Syria's Hasakah city: report    Finance Ministry rejects SMEs law article amendments    GB Auto to discontinue Hyundai representation in Iraq    447% increase in mobile Malware attacks in Egypt: Kaspersky    NBE provides EGP 1bn credit facilities to Fiber Misr    Egypt's cabinet approves purchasing preventive equipment for Covid19    Military funeral for Mubarak amid regional, international absence    Tennis legend Maria Sharapova is retiring at 32    Egypt holds military funeral for former president Mubarak – Photos    The Mubarak legacy    Hosni Mubarak (1928-2020)    Is it time for Egypt to develop local English-language media outlets?    Controlling public assembly    The sound of a glitch    Don't miss Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet concerts at the opera house    Mahathir strengthens power amid Malaysian political turmoil    First art exhibition taking place in Saudi Arabia features connection between Fellini and Picasso    Al Ahly, Zamalek play 2nd Cairo Derby in less than 96 hours    Amr Fahmy former CAF general-secretary, dies battling cancer    Cairo court acquits Mubarak's sons of stock market manipulation    Al Ahly play Zamalek for Egypt Super Cup in Abu Dhabi    Little Women on its way to become a classic    UEFA Champions League: defending champions Liverpool clash with Atletico Madrid    Egypt's Golden Age actress, Nadia Lutfi, dies at 83    Egypt's President Sisi pardons some prisoners on 25 Jan. Revolution anniversary    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Messages from the revolution
Published in Daily News Egypt on 27 - 09 - 2011

“I used to be afraid. Then I became Egyptian,” read a sign a man seen holding in Tahrir Square.
“It completely took my breath away. What a powerful sign,” says Karima Khalil. “It was something very new to us, to take pride in our nationality as Egyptians.” It was Khalil's first time in Tahrir during Egypt's Jan. 25 Revolution and the first of many photos she took of people holding protest signs.
“The signs were deserving of focus, because they were so articulate and so eloquent,” says Khalil. And that thought evolved into the best-selling photo book, “Messages from Tahrir: Signs from Egypt's Revolution,” edited by Khalil and published by the American University in Cairo Press.
The book features photos by 36 photographers, including Khalil, mostly non-professionals who were in Tahrir to protest. The photographers are a varied group, consisting of bloggers, activists, high school students and a few professional photographers. Khalil herself is a medical doctor.
The book succeeds in capturing the unique moment in history when all Egyptians descended on Tahrir armed with nothing but handmade signs, creativity and their own determination that former president Hosni Mubarak would leave.
The book records the diverse, heartfelt messages to the former president. A baby holding a balloon that reads, “I won't go. He goes.” A woman's sign, “The people want to bring you down.” A young man holding a piece of paper that announces, “I've brought my bags and I'm waiting in the square.”
Khalil spent up to 16 hours a day in Tahrir during the revolution as a protester and photographer. “The overriding emotions that I saw in the square were anger and really steely determination,” she says. “People were very angry about the way Egypt had been treating its citizens for 30 years, but it was expressed in a very peaceful way. People were determined to keep it peaceful and just to make their voices heard.”
She became fascinated with the protest signs, the creativity of the conveyed messages and the used materials. People wrote on everything from shoes to their own foreheads, cardboard, wood and cloth. They spelled words on the ground with rocks and dates.
“I felt the signs were very articulate, very eloquent, they opened the door to an incredible richness of expression, richness of feeling and creativity,” says Khalil. The signs often drew on Egyptian popular culture: songs, poetry and proverbs, for example. And they often commented on the latest news.
One man's sign read, “More lentils, more chili/ Where's the Kentucky, you son of a liar?” commenting on the rumors that protestors were bribed with Kentucky Fried Chicken to protest in the square.
“The square itself was very reactive to what was going on. It was leading events but also reacting to events,” says Khalil, who notes that relevant signs would appear within hours of a new announcement or speech.
At home after a long day in Tahrir, she would look over her own pictures and ones by other photographers on Facebook and Flickr. One photo she found was the catalyst for making the book: a man with an eye-patch and a piece of paper taped to his forehead that read, “My eye won't be lost in vain.”
“I was incredibly moved when I saw that picture. This man has lost his eye and he's still standing in the square, determined,” says Khalil. It's one of the greatest sacrifices you can make. I thought, this has to be saved. You can't have people standing there making these sacrifices, holding up these messages and not have people aware of what they wanted and what they went through. This has to be remembered.”
It took three months poring over 7,000 pictures for Khalil to select the 150 images that make up the book. She was careful to select photos that reflect the different messages, the miscellany of people, materials used, and emotions felt. “Determination, grief, steadfastness and the wonderful humor that gave the protests their very Egyptian color,” Khalil adds.
And what made the experience uniquely Egyptian? “Tahrir was like all the good things about Egypt all at once in one place, the good humor of Egyptians, the patience, the determination, the overwhelming generosity, the creativity [and] intense spirit of cooperation and solidarity and camaraderie in a very Egyptian way,” Khalil says.
“People tell me that the book makes them cry,” Khalil says. “That's a sign that it succeeded to some extent in transmitting what the experience of being in Tahrir was like.”
And the creativity we saw in the signs was just the beginning.
“When you lift a lid that was so tightly screwed on, it results in an explosion of creativity. We've seen that since February, creativity in approaching problems in new ways: community initiatives, spreading democracy and creating art.”
“Everybody's become an active citizen in one way or another and that's unleashing all kinds of creative potentials,” says Khalil.
Messages from Tahrir: Signs from Egypt's Revolution, edited by Karima Khalil and published by the AUC Press. All royalties from the book are donated to El Nadim Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, www.alnadeem.org/en


Clic here to read the story from its source.