It is not only men’s revolution, assures 25-year-old Dareen Khalifa, who has been demonstrating since day one.
(Originally published in the Swedish daily Göteborgs-Posten.)
“I have been eating, sleeping and living at the Tahrir squere. During the night I was guarding the house. There are a lot of women around me”, Dareen says.
Lately, in western media, many have asked where the female demonstrators are. It did not take long before Facebook users provided an answer. A photo album called “Women of Egypt”, packed with images of women participating in the demonstrations, has spread like wildfire all over internet.
Furthermore, a group with the same name was set up displaying photos of women on the streets of Cairo. The group was liked by over 400 people in less than 24 hours. Women from all over the world have left messages expressing their support.
Dareen Khalifa spends her seventh day on the Tahrir squere. She is a human rights activist but says that many of the other female demonstrators are just citizens without any previous experience of activism.
“Everyone, really everyone, regardless of sex, social status or political point of view, is out and protesting. Tomorrow, even my mom will demonstrate. This is what makes these demonstrations different from the ones in which I participated over the years.”
After a few days of relative calm in Cairo, the protestors are preparing for tomorrow’s demonstration that is believed to be the biggest yet.
“We are afraid that it can get very violent. But we hope that international coverage can deter the regime from using too much force”, she says.
How would you describe the relationship between the demonstrators and the army?
“The media is portraying it as if the people love the army. It is not really like that. Demonstrators are trying to make sure that the army stays neutral. They are giving them flowers and bread. They are answering civilized and with a smile.
How long will you stay there, if nothing happens?
“We are staying until Mubarak leaves. I am tired and exhausted but also very happy.”