The Washington Diplomat, September 2011
By Jacob Comenetz
On Jan. 25, the “Day of Rage” that sparked the Egyptian revolution and the demise of President Hosni Mubarak, Omar Abdel-Maksoud, a mechanical engineering student at the British University in Cairo, received a Facebook invitation to “join the revolution” in Tahrir Square.
Clicking “maybe,” he called a friend who had already joined the tens of thousands of protestors thronging the square. Hearing that not much yet was actually happening, Abdel-Maksoud told the friend he would call back later. He had to get ready for a trip to Turkey in any case.
Like many young Egyptians, Abdel-Maksoud expected the protests, a recurring facet of life in Cairo, to die away. During the week he was away, the protests did the opposite: they escalated. He watched the fighting in the streets unfold on Al Jazeera. People were being brutalized for trying to assert their rights. Abdel-Maksoud knew then that nothing could make them go back.
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