I lived in Egypt in 2012 and I remember it as a place of hope and change. It was one year after the revolution and while there were large protests and unrest, there was also a sense of dreams being possible, of individuals coming together being able to make a change in their country and their community. There was art everywhere, creativity everywhere and a strong sense of commitment to justice amongst many people that I met. People committing to justice not only in words, but through actions – be in through business or protests these people were living justice and a fairer country in their day to day lives.
I remember interviewing an Egyptian activist for the first time and being so surprised at how beautiful his ideals were. Perhaps I was naive about what justified activism, or perhaps he was naive about what could be achieved in this world, but either way I remember mostly being impressed at how beautiful his words were; how much he believed in those bohemian, idealist words like truth, justice and hope and how he was, even on the day we spoke, putting his life on the line to defend them through street battles with SCAF.
This powerful video highlights how much things have changed in Egypt since the military took back power in 2013. Those activists who believed in truth are now being tortured and disappeared. When I remember the hope that grew so quickly after the revolution, when I think of the Egypt of 2012 I feel so sad to think that the Egypt of 2016 no one is able to defend those ideals; that they are disappeared not even for speaking out, but for seeming like they might.