Just another night in Tahrir.
The day was November 19th, the start of Mohammed Mahmoud clashes. After a lot of friends been shot, some of them in the eye. May they all have a speed recovery and God bless our martyrs, may they rest in peace.
it was about 6 pm, the CSF soldiers shot tens of tear gas canisters at us and they were reaching the square. We all retreated back to the square; CSF troops started attacking us from everywhere pushing us away from the square. We scattered all over downtown, and the reports of people missing or hurt all over twitter, and I can feel the chaos that was going on all around us.
I met my friend Amina, who is a big part of this unforgettable night. We met in Qasr el Einy st. we were retreating back from the gas smell. I remember the smell didn’t reach us there; we were right behind the Tahrir Complex. We stopped for some air and relax a bit from the running. We can see the hundreds of soldiers raiding in Tahrir and the gas smoke everywhere.
People starting heading to Omar Makram, which is at the end of the street we were standing in, since Amin and I are photojournalists we wanted to get closer from Tahrir and try to take pictures, so we left everyone and headed to the Square, inside the complex area, trying to stay away from the eyes of Soldiers. The Complex garden was deserted, we didn’t see anyone, we can see the square is filled with soldiers, going all around and shooting birdshot and tear gas to all Tahrir entrances.
We reached Omark Makram entrance but from the Complex area, we met 5 soldiers, 1 with a tear gas gun, another with birdshot shotgun and the rest with sticks and shields. Amina approached them and tried to talk some sense in them, saying that the protesters – who were couple of hundred meters away- are your brothers and sister, why are you doing this to them! The guy with the tear gas gun answered, because you attacked first, we simply answered, with what! You have guns we have nothing. I still remember the look in his face. He was convinced. Another soldier said “I never beat a protester, I have only 4 days left and I will leave this force, I don’t want blood in my hands”, few more civilians joined the conversation and we talked them out of it. They didn’t shoot the protesters and they went back to the square.
less than a minute later, we hear a gun shot, it turns out there is another group came from Qasr el Nile bridge, the gun shot was a tear gas, shot at the protesters who were after Omar Makram. Few more soldiers appeared, same number, same type of weapons. A Soldier in a mask takes a shooting position on one knee and aims his shotgun at the people near Omar Makram, Amina screamed at him “STOP”, he changed his aim and aims directly at Amina who was few meters away, that would scare the shit out of anyone, I was right behind Amina, I took her behind me and started shouting and cursing the soldier, who was heading away after scaring Amina, then suddenly he stopped, took the same aiming position aiming at us, then fired his rubber bullets at us from less than 6-8 meters away.
I felt something in my right leg, my thigh, I was too angry to feel anything; I didn’t move and kept shouting and screaming at him. I noticed a guy who was standing right next to me got a rubber bullet right below his left eye. Amina grabbed me as they were coming towards us. The injured guy was being treated by a doctor, which was a friend of mine, while running she asked if I’m alright, and I said, I’m fine.
Amina and I ran towards the complex, we saw many protesters are running inside it and the security are letting them in, as we reached there, the soldiers were too close, so the security closed the doors and told us to hide under the front door table, and with that starts the longest 2 minutes in my life.
We were hiding under a desk that was still outside the building, we heard stuff crashing, I thought they shot another shot at the front door of Tahrir complex, but I’m still not sure. We heard shouting, very clear voice, very close, I think they were talking from right above the desk, I can’t tell what they are saying, I was focusing with Amina, who was really scared and shivering. I was scared my self, how often do you get in such positions! I was in a total black out mentally, all I can think about is, we are gonna be alright, Amina and I were whispering, don’t know what exactly, but we were living all this together as one of the longest moments in our lives. A hand hit the top of the desk few times, and if they just put their heads few inches to the front, they could have seen us, but thank god they didn’t.
“They are gone, you can leave now” The Tahrir Complex security man told us, pointing out that we shouldn’t stay cause it’s dangerous for him and the building. They were telling us to use the metro (subway) but we know that people get arrested there. we headed back to where we met, Qasr el Einy, behind the complex. On the way I met Mahmoud Salem (a.k.a Sandmonkey) who noticed that we were kinda lost in all of this. He calmed us down, gave us few tips to pass by any police as we were just passing by and we are not protesters. Mahmoud was there with his parliament campaign to get the known activists from the clashes, so they don’t get arrested.
We went behind Tahrir complex and we didn’t see anyone, I can see my car, it’s parked right behind Omar Makram, it’s not so far, but it’s in the middle of the clashes now. Amina was still with me and we decided to go for it and take the car and drive away for a while and see how it goes. We managed to get to the car and people protected us from rocks and cleared a way to leave, and we managed to leave.
While all this was going, my phone battery died, and there was this rumor that I got shot in the eye and I think another went out that I was missing with @Sandmonkey was asking if I got out alright from Tahrir. Thank god I had the other phone, I was alright, feeling some pain in my right thigh, but I’m not really sure what’s that but I couldn’t walk easily.
Few hours later, after going back to Tahrir and making sure everyone we know is alright, Amina and I decided to go home. It was a pretty long night.
I went home, my leg still hurts, after such a night, everything in me hurts. Then while I was changing, I was shocked!! “Shit, I got SHOT” and “SHIT, why does it look like this!!!!”
A Photo of my injury, right when i got home: http://twitpic.com/7ggl3a .
Yeah, I got shot! but it’s a rubber bullet, so it’s alright. That’s what I said to my self and everyone who asked, and that’s how a rubber bullet looks like : http://twitpic.com/7gazye .
A Photo of my injury after 4 days: http://twitpic.com/7ikvgx .
It was a night I will never forget, I will never forget the company I had, the masked soldier who was cold-blooded enough to shoot us in such short-range and how close we were from getting arrested.
My pictures of the November Uprising: http://www.flickr.com/photos/msheshtawy/sets/72157628129719027/