First Hand Account of Surmounting Protests in Egypt

Policebarricade

original photo, Cairo

Below is a first hand account on the surmounting protests erupting in Cairo against 30-year Egyptian president Mubarak:

We went to downtown to see what was going on and we were there from about 3:30 till 7:30 and it was crazy!!!! Hundreds of riot police, lots of riot trucks, screaming ambulances went back and forth, and loud chanting by the protesters! The protesters wrote graffiti on signs saying down with Mubarak, they pulled down NDP (National Democratic Party) signs and trampled them in the dirt. The police shot cannons of water from the riot trucks at the protesters and we ran for it but we still got wet. Rocks were being thrown by both sides and we’d have to turn and run because we’d see the riot police running at the crowds, straight at us, and then somehow the tide would turn and we’d see the riot police running like no tomorrow! We also saw one poor guy (probably a leader of the protests) being bodily dragged into the Mugamma (a government building where you go to get your visa and lots of other paperwork and things) while people were running around him and the police dragging him taking pictures and filming the scene! We were yelled at quite forcibly by the secret police who were standing around conspicuously in dark sunglasses with ferocious looks on their faces. And the protesters were chanting slogans loudly such as down “down with the system” and “down with Mubarak” and “Gamal tell your father the people hate him” and “Suzanne ask your husband why he is starving his people” and “Batil” which means “false!” and “HORREYA!” which means “FREEDOM!”. It was so exciting and exhilerating but also quite terrifying cause we were always having to be prepared to literally run for our lives, and we did many times in the four hours we were there. Not just from the riot police but from the crowds running at us, though the fact that the crowds were running at us with terror on their faces was a sign to run because who knows what was behind them! The police were also shooting out lots of tear gas, and so people were running from that, and there were walls and barricades of police barricading and blocking every street, keeping the people contained in the square. As we left at about 7:30 PM, right after we left and were walking away down Qasr Al Nil street toward Zamalek towards the car (away from Downtown) we looked back and saw that the police had now come and blocked that entrance (or even exit you could say). Who knows whether their intent was to prevent more people from coming in or to prevent people from leaving. We figure they were preventing people from coming in. It was getting weaker by that time. At the beginning people were chasing the riot trucks and jumping on them and pulling the doors open and pulling the drivers out but towards the end, while people were still chanting and even climbing on top of red light poles, there was a definite sense of weariness. People were tired I’m sure and hungry and simply beaten down.

Today [January 26th, 2011] there were supposedly renewed protests, though as you saw I’m sure, the police were severely cracking down on any and all protests and even group gatherings in certain areas of more than 2-3 people! I heard several conflicting reports about live fire, but I’m not sure. I read that live fire was being fired in the air, up, as a warning. But I’m not sure to what extent the use of live ammunition continued.

There are going to be major protests on Friday I think. Protests are being planned for that day, following the afternoon prayer. I’m so excited, I can’t wait to see what happens! But things are definitely pretty risky and dangerous right now.
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The Oscar Nominations Have Been Announced!

Oscarnoms11

It’s that time of year again and the Oscar race has officially commenced! This morning, a little after 530 am PST (so early for those creative Californian types!) the nominations were announced for the 2011 Academy Awards. While most of the nominated were to be expected, I was surprised to find Hailee Steinfeld nominated for her role in True Grit and a little sad to see Mark Whalberg not nominated for The Fighter. That being said, Melissa Leo, who is nominated for best supporting actress for The Fighter, did comment that every nomination for The Fighter is a nomination and testament to Mark Whalberg.

Here are the nominations:

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – The Fighter

Helena Bonham-Carter – The King’s Speech

Melissa Leo – The Fighter

Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit

Jackie Weaver – Animal Kingdom

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale – The Fighter

John Hawkes – Winter’s Bone

Jeremy Renner – The Town

Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are All Right

Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

Best Actress

Annette Benning – The Kids Are All Right

Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman – Black Swan

Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine

Best Actor

Javier Bardem – Biutiful

Jeff Bridges – True Girt

Jesse Eisenburg – The Social Network

Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

James Franco – 127 Hours

Best Original Screenplay

Another Year

The Fighter

Inception [hells yes!]

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay

127 Hours

The Social Network [Aaron Sorkin, you are a god among words]

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

Best Animated Film

How to Train Your Dragon [loved this movie, true contender]

Toy Story 3

The Illusionist

Best Picture [9 of which I have already seen…FTW!]

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

For a complete list, including nominations for score, cinematography, foreign film, etc, check it all out on the official Academy Awards webpage.

Counting down the days until February 27th and watching Anne Hathaway and James Franco host!

Truth of an Inconsolable Reality

[excerpt from 'One Day' by David Nicholls, a wickedly amazing book]

"More often than not he would cancel their meetings at the last minute and when they did see each other he seemed distracted, uncomfortable. They spoke to each other in strange, strangulated voices, and had lost the knack of making each other laugh, jeering at each other instead in a spiteful, mocking tone. Their friendship was like a wilted bunch of flowers that she insisted on topping up with water. Why not let it die instead? It was unrealistic to expect a friendship to last forever…”