Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Actual Protests at the American Embassy

Let me begin this post by saying I sometimes don't follow rules.I've already blogged about the protests and let everyone know everything here is great. So here's the story about how I actually saw the protests. Three of us began our adventure downtown. We didn't plan on just strolling into the protest. We wanted to see at what safe distance could we actually witness history happening. Trust, it was a planned approach.

Our original plan was to go to the roof of the Ramses Hilton, a couple of blocks away from Tahrir Square, to see if we could see the protests. The rooftop restaurant on the top floor didn't open for a couple hours, so we decided to just walk around and see what we could find. As we were walking towards the Egyptian Museum, I could see a large crowd of protesters waving flags. We decided to walk around the museum and change our course around the square towards the Nile. As we were turning the corner, a guy stopped us and asked if we spoke English. He basically explained the safe places to walk around and gave us a stopping point where we shouldn't walk past.

 While we were walking towards the crowds of people, there were some people leaving the protest. Some of the men had surgical masks on to shield themselves from tear gas. It was very intimidating to know that a couple hundred feet away people were protesting the American Embassy. So we were walking towards the protest, when we were stopped by a group of men. They signaled to us to turn around. With a wave of a hand and a shake of the head, we knew we had to listen. It really meant a lot to me that these people wanted to prevent us from walking into an unsafe situation.

I wrote the previous blog post on the protests the night I went downtown.I didn't want my father hearing about my little adventure on my blog, so this post had to wait until after that skype conversation. I could blog about the protests, but I had only seen what everyone in America had seen on television. I wasn't trying to get hurt, but I wanted to witness history from a reasonable distant. There were students who voluntarily went to the protests and students who had the misfortune in getting caught in the protests on the first day. I spoke with some of the students who got stuck in the protest, and they said some people said some mean things to them. That was it. No one was hurt. Those guys who warned us on the street didn't want to see us get hurt. The people of Cairo have really impressed me with their kindness and hospitality. I never expected anything less, but people are people.

After we were advised to turn around, we walked to one of the bridges over the Nile to get back to Zamalek. Everything was fine. I never felt unsafe the entire time I was downtown. I had to witness my first protest in Egypt. Egyptians loved to protest. I've see three protests since I've been here: a football(soccer) protest for Ahly vs. Zamalek, the protest at the Embassy, and a protest at my school. I'll explain about the football protest and the school protest another day.

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