Protests in Cairo: a Daily Occurrence

It has been a week of loud celebrations, thunderous displays of solidarity from military jet planes soaring overhead, and more recently, the angry chants of pro-Morsi protesters not only demanding his return to power but to bring justice to the 51 killed on Monday.

Egyptians are tense. And afraid. The recent split in society is the relatively new territory. Families are divided in their differences of political opinions– a father will make his way to anti-Morsi protests in Tahrir Square while his son will make his way to pro-Morsi protests in Rabaa. It’s now normal to overhear political conversations on the streets, in supermarkets, and in waiting rooms. From being active viewers of the tens of talk shows discussing and dissecting political events, people want to take their turn at talking– and they’ll gladly talk to anyone. From being a politically repressed society for so long, Egyptians are talking politics at every opportunity because of the turmoil the country scene since the 2011 revolution.

This afternoon saw pro-Morsi supporters walk away from the Rabaa intersection where they have been staging their sit-in and demonstrations since before 30 June. The men on the front line held honorary coffins symbolizing those who had been killed in Monday’s deadly clashes between Morsi supporters and the army. Each coffin is labeled with the name of the deceased, with the Egyptian flag resting above the coffin.

While accounts are shady on how the deadly clashes started, or by whom, at the end of the day 51 human lives were taken. In the battle to demonize each side, some are missing that point – that life is sacred, no matter whose side an unarmed person is on. Seeing these coffins pass the street brought a somber mood to bystanders.

Following the coffins, men held their funeral attires in a dramatic display to show they weren’t afraid of dying. These protesters want the sympathy of a public that is glad to see the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi go.

Women and children were also part of today’s protests. These women adamantly believe the president they elected should be returned to power. They chanted, “We are staying for 3 more years!”

Streets across Cairo have had their walls, signposts, and billboards defaced with anti-military graffiti. These pro-Morsi protesters write “Hasbi-Allahu wa Ni’ma Al-Wakil” in Arabic, which translates to Allah is Sufficient for Me, and He is the Best Trustee. Mentioned in the Qur’an, Egyptians like to use this expression when they are in difficulty or under a threat, to seek Divine help and support.

It’s still unclear how things will turn out for Egypt. But for these Morsi supporters, it looks like they’re staying, much to the dismay of residents around the Rabaa intersection.

“I haven’t left my house in 10 days because we’re frightened and it’s impossible to,” complained one elderly woman at a local supermarket as she rushed to stock up on food for the start of the holy month of fasting for Muslims.

“Today is the first day my husband and I left the house because of dwindling food supplies,” she told a group of Egyptians waiting for their turn at the butchers. “No supermarket will dare deliver in our area. They have literally trapped us in our own homes and we are afraid,” she added before using the very same words the pro-Morsi supporters had spray-painted earlier on the walls: “Hasbi Allahu wa ni’ma al-wakil.”

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