Two years after protests unseated the dictator Hosni Mubarak, a 15-year-old girl in Cairo was ready to risk her life to defeat her country’s brutal army. And she was not alone
Ruqayah crouched behind a sandbag wall, blinking away the sweat running into her eyes. The sun was directly overhead and the acrid smell of burning plastic stung the back of her throat. Shouts and screams rose thinly over gunfire, helicopter rotors and the rumble of armoured bulldozers.
It was the middle of August 2013, soon after the Eid feast that marks the end of Ramadan, and the security forces were clearing the huge protest camps at Rabaa and al-Nahda squares in central Cairo. Their tens of thousands of inhabitants were demonstrating against the removal of the president, Mohamed Morsi, in a military coup at the beginning of July. Beside Ruqayah huddled another teenage girl and a young man, pressed as close as they could get to the rough hessian of the sandbags. To the side, sprawled on the concrete with blood pooling around them, lay the bodies of two men who had been shot dead by police snipers.
Around Ruqayah, young men began crying to God for help. At midnight, they heard shooting in the darkness
To the majority, Rabaa seemed trapped in time, a fragment of an unworkable past. But to Ruqayah, it was a utopia
Tanks and personnel carriers sat at Cairo's major intersections, their guns trained down the main streets
Sisi became president in May 2014 with 96.9% of the vote, but his leadership brought a succession of disasters Continue reading...