Sunday, March 6, 2011

Scenes from the Maadi Festival

Yesterday I took R to a Revolution Festival that was happening in my neighborhood. Tons of flags. Lots of music. Fun for all (except those caught in the traffic). It was originally scheduled for last Friday, the one-month anniversary of the start of the revolution but there had been a police shooting a couple of days earlier (another story) so it was rescheduled. And it was able to celebrate another victory—the departure of the former Prime Minister.

There were thousands of people out. The street was closed. There were volunteers doing security though I, with a baby stroller, was quickly waved around the side so I would not have to wait. R was something of a celebrity and made lots of friends.

There was not a lot of politicking going on. It was mostly commercial with people advertising or selling one thing or other. The Egyptian Revolution sponsored in part by Auntie Anne’s soft pretzels. (No I am not making this up.)

I was slightly heartened, however, to see that the most lively table was that featuring supporters of the protesters in Libya.

What did amaze me about this scene was how unfamiliar it was. Here we have a country where the streets now belong to the people to do with them what they choose—from politicking to partying and, at its best, both at the same time. I ran into some students there—the main demographic was 15-25 year olds—and talked to them about how novel they found this scene. And I think this is one of the legacies of the revolution—the reinvention of public space.

I wish I had taken more pictures. My camera batteries were low. I had the foresight to purchase new ones but forgot to bring them along.

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