Lessons in Manliness from the Egyptian Revolution

by A Manly Guest Contributor on February 11, 2011 · 228 comments

in Blog

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Yasser El Hadari, an AoM reader from Egypt.

If you’ve been watching the news, I’m sure you know that the Egyptian people have rocked the Middle East in their effort for self-rule and democracy. As I sit typing this, the newly appointed Vice President issued a statement of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation and his appointment of the Armed Forces Supreme Council to take power. It is the dawn of a new era. No delays, no lies, no half-solutions. We wanted our freedom. The temple of Corruption had to be toppled. No matter who supported it, be it the Army, thugs, the West, the East or even the planet Mars, the regime that has humiliated us and stole our rights and freedoms had to go. Period.

As I write this, the revolution has been on for eighteen days. During those eighteen days, my life has changed on a scale that I would have never imagined in my life. I am turning 24 in July, and in November 2010 I had just completed my dental internship, earning my license and Dental Union membership. Later on I opened an e-commerce business to make ends meet as I pursued higher studies. Who would have imagined that starting from the 25th of January, I would shift my activities to a neighborhood guard member, lumberjack and patrolman; then to an amateur online activist, protester, bodyguard and a small-scale speaker for the cause.

As I sit writing this, I look back at the past days, and have come to a conclusion: they have made a better man of me. Every stage I spent, from sitting at home watching the news and discussing the revolution, to guarding my neighborhood then actually participating in the protests, have taught me real-life lessons in being a better man. I seriously have felt a change in my character and perception, and this has inspired me to submit this article to one of my favorite sites, The Art of Manliness.

Lessons from the Neighborhood Patrols

I have to admit, I was involved in the revolution quite late. In the beginning I thought it didn’t affect me, that some reforms would be introduced and the protesters would go home. But Friday the 28th came, around 300 protesters were killed by live ammunition and 5000 more injured, and prisons and detention centers were mysteriously opened as the police disappeared, flooding the streets with convicts, and Cairo and other cities were ablaze in riots. To add insult to injury, the government shut down the internet. Only one word resonated in our minds: scare tactics–submit or face chaos. We were determined to prove the government wrong. Saturday afternoon we were in the streets to protect our homes, armed with whatever we had and setting up checkpoints in the streets. We stood guard daily, only letting go when local businesses started operating at night again and the police were returning to the streets. These were my first lessons in the revolution’s school of manliness.

A man adapts. I never expected in my life to stand in a checkpoint, armed with a hatchet and a hunting knife, checking cars and the ID’s of the riders with a case of homemade molotov cocktails beside me. Now that I look back, I’m actually surprised at the change. But my willingness to accept this change, in my opinion, helped me evolve for the better.

A man values his neighbors. The only reason the neighborhood patrols succeeded was the group effort. In my shifts, we caught nine criminals. We had it easy, since our middle class neighborhood was flanked by the Nile and surrounded by two other middle class districts near the center of Cairo. Those living in suburban areas and near prisons had it much worse: They caught tens and in some areas over a hundred criminals. We kept our homes safe, and most importantly we learned to look out for each other and each others’ homes.

A man respects others. Anyone passing our checkpoints had to be checked. We knew the criminals and hired thugs had hijacked sedans, police cars, ambulances, army vehicles and forged police ID’s and stole army uniforms. There were no exceptions. However, we had to appreciate the cooperation of those we searched. We weren’t policemen, nor did we have warrants; on pen and paper we were just concerned citizens. Showing respect helped us earn respect. And it wasn’t hard: it was as simple as saying thank you.

A man doesn’t think with his emotions. Like Mubarak’s speeches, anyone we caught tried to appeal to our emotions. They made up lies as to where their fake ID’s came from, acted dumb and sometimes begged on their knees not to be handed over to the military. I have to admit, sometimes I wanted to believe them, it was easier. But I had to remember the reality, and by reality meaning what he would do if he found his way into my house or my neighbor’s house. Cold hard reality: not everyone shares your good nature; it’s sad but you’ll have to accept it to do your duty.

On the other hand, a man shows compassion. People of all ages stood with me, some as young as nine and others in their seventies and eighties. The old ones were mainly war veterans, but the young ones were in an environment they never experienced in their lives. They acted tough and tried to talk like thugs, but the fear in their eyes appeared at the first cracks of gunfire in the distance. Lesser men made jokes about their age to hide what they lacked in grit. The best men I knew were the ones who gave a pat on the back.

A man is practical, not showy. I was armed with a hatchet and hunting knife, since I had read earlier that anything that couldn’t be used as a tool was dead weight. I used the hatchet to cut firewood to keep us warm at night and the hunting knife, well, cut things. Others were armed with butcher knives, clubs, sticks and swords. Some took it too far to look bad-ass: a man tied two butcher knives together, nunchaku style and hung them round his neck to look threatening. The man just made his neck an easy target. Another point, and I know many will not like to hear this, but a man who owns a gun who knows how to use it is a better man, period. Three men in our neighborhood had guns, and whenever we were on alert, we looked to them, since their reactions determined how the rest of us would respond.

A man doesn’t talk of things he wouldn’t do. No matter how manly I portray people who took part in these patrols, no one has the right to ask others to put their lives or the lives of their loved ones in danger. It also comes to actions: If you’re not willing to use your car as a roadblock, don’t talk about others doing it instead.

A man appreciates the efforts of others. Although I respected the opinions of those who genuinely feared the outcome of the revolution being negative, it was repulsive to hear lesser men belittling the efforts of others. I know of people who make fun of the protesters who were fighting for their rights. Celebrities came on national television to claim that protesters were getting paid and received free meals from Kentucky Fried Chicken to protest against Mubarak. Others had the audacity to belittle the neighborhood patrols, not admitting that our stand in the streets helped them sleep in their beds at night. The funny thing was, the people I expected the most manly stand from were the ones who belittled us. The better men I knew, even if they didn’t participate, appreciated what others were doing for them.

Lessons from Taking Part in the Protests

The first day I participated in protests, my Father and I took a taxi to the nearby Tahrir Square where the bulk of anti-Mubarak protests were taking place. The night before, Mubarak had made a speech promising reforms and fair elections, appealing to citizens’ emotions and staging an aggressive counter-revolution. Upon reaching Tahrir Square we noticed pro-Mubarak demonstrators approaching the area, and the weirder image of horse and camel riders approaching the square. Upon going back, we were continually harassed by plainclothes policemen and supporters of Mubarak who had left their protest area at Mohandesin to disturb the anti-Mubarak protesters. When we got home, the media had launched an all-out offensive on those calling for democracy, branding them as saboteurs and traitors. The Internet was re-linked, and I found posts by people suggesting stability and going back to their ordinary lives. Since then I have alternated between joining protests and rooting for the revolution on Facebook. So started the new lessons in manliness.

A man shouldn’t be afraid of confrontation. Returning from Tahrir square on Bloody Wednesday, a plainclothes policeman harassed my father and I, calling us names and shouting threats as he followed us on foot for three blocks. If I kept quiet, I think he’d have followed us to our house. He didn’t leave us alone until I personally got in his face and made a scene calling any nearby uniformed policemen to deal with him and to show us his ID. Returning home, fuming with anger, I saw my friends posting online about how they wanted things to go back to the way they were and how those fighting for their rights were making a mess and disrupting peoples’ way of life. I called them on how a week ago they wanted change and these people they were putting down were bringing them these changes. Sometimes telling the truth meant no compromises.

A man respects the views of others and doesn’t take them personally. Of course there were those who wanted the revolution to stop simply because they were afraid. And their fear was genuine: there was a threat of chaos, economic collapse, and now foreign military intervention. It was easier of course to dismiss these fears as cowardly or stupid, but the harder thing to do, that in the end gained respect, was appreciating these fears, and helping them understand that freedom came at a high price, and how any short-term losses were worth it. Their disagreement wasn’t a personal attack, and one of the best speakers I knew made a point of letting listeners know that the disagreement wasn’t personal.

A man is presentable under all circumstances. The protests were peaceful. This was what made the revolution powerful. The world had to see that it wasn’t a peasant uprising, class conflict or even a religious takeover: those in the revolution were educated, young, loved Egypt and had realistic expectations of a representative government and civil rights. I participated in two more protests; before deciding to participate I had a haircut. Before going down to the protests I had a shower, shave, and went down dressed as if for a business presentation. In the second protest that started with a march by doctors (which my father, an ob/gyn surgeon, joined with me), I wore my best white coat and carried myself in the most professional manner possible. I was interviewed twice by American and British journalists, and in both cases I spoke with my best English accent. I was representing millions of people calling for change. Being scruffy or speaking in slang was going to misrepresent them.

A man respects the opposite sex. The protests were free of sexual harassment. Men were being searched by men and women searched by women, a lesson airport authorities in some countries can learn. When women passed by we made way for them. If people thought that the protests were a place to meet women, we told them to stay home. It wasn’t a game. The whole world was watching us, and those opposing the revolution were looking for the tiniest speck of dirt to put us down. Acting like a horny teenager was such dirt.

A man respects people who are different. While Muslim protesters were attending Friday Prayers, Christians formed a human wall to protect them. On Sunday when Christian protesters performed Mass, Muslims stood watch to protect them. There was no slurring in the protests. People who attended were of different races, religions, and social backgrounds; black and white, Muslim and Christian,  rich and poor, we stood together. If people deep down inside had a certain hatred for others due to these differences, the protests helped them replace this hatred with understanding. In the end we were all the same. We were all Egyptian, and we all wanted freedom.

A man isn’t afraid of putting his life at risk. In one of the protests I was in, an important online activist was released the night before after 12 days in detention by the secret police, and was coming to Tahrir Square for a speech and a press conference. His younger brother is my colleague, and I found myself going to pick him up from the subway station. My friends and I, for the duration of the journey to the stand, made a human shield around him to keep people from slowing him down, and more importantly, to protect him. After his speech, our human phalanx fought the crowds to take him to the press conference. Most of the people meant well, but I personally considered the possibility of a counter-revolutionary with a concealed weapon harming him to shatter the morale of the revolution. Of course I’m still surprised at taking part in this endeavor, but if I were to repeat it again, I would do it happily even if it would have ended badly. I admired the man, and he was the voice for our youth and presented us well with no personal agenda, a man worth defending.

A man isn’t afraid to admit his mistakes and willingness to change. When discussing the revolution, I’ve been faced with the question of why I didn’t go down to the streets from the first day of the protests, as a way of proving me wrong or proving the point that those supporting the revolution were all talk. Of course, saying I wasn’t politically inclined and was afraid of riots was incongruous and didn’t do justice to the others of my age and similar background who were fighting for my rights. Finally when I had enough I reached for the answer inside me and told the truth: I didn’t believe in myself enough to think my voice mattered, but now that I’ve changed there’s no use talking about the past, since I can’t change it like I’m changing myself. Watching whoever was arguing with me show his respect or shut up was proof enough that an honest answer, however effacing, was worth it.

To conclude this article, I am happy to welcome you to the dawn of a new era. As I type this people are still flocking to the streets, celebrating their new age of self-rule and freedom. I will be forever proud of my nationality as an Egyptian. I promise to be good to Egypt, to use my knowledge to grow her, repaint her picture in the eyes of others. I’m sorry I insulted her when I was younger, for thinking she wasn’t pretty like the others. I’m sorry I gave up on her, for wanting to leave her, and being ignorant of her history. I promise to be a better citizen to Her, a better Egyptian, a better Man.

I just want to impart a final word before I end: I am not the best person ever, and I have my faults, but never forget the value of freedom and dignity. Our people were deprived of those virtues for at least 30 years, and no words can describe how aggressively those in power tried to put us down. They sent hired thugs and plainclothes police to attack and disturb us; it didn’t stop us. They got celebrities to insult the protesters and praise the regime. National television called the protesters saboteurs and they shut down foreign news channels; we ignored them all. They shut down the internet; we promised to shut THEM down. Nearby dictators promised to support the regime. We heard rumors that the US Navy sent the fifth or sixth fleet and the Israeli Defense Force was grouping at the border. It didn’t matter. We were fighting for our rights, and we were ready to face anyone who interfered. The people weren’t afraid of losing what they had, they are winning something greater. When people aren’t afraid of losing, they are free, and great men can only be free men who build great countries.

{ 228 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lancelot February 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I gotta say, I admire what you did.

2 This Much February 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Extremely interesting. Thank you for finding Yasser El Hadari to be a guest writer.

3 Aly February 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I am an Egyptian, and what my fellow man has just said has happened countless times all across the country. What Yasser said, and did, was by no means just him. Me and many people I know acted as bravely and as honorably. This is the proudest day of my life, not because of what we achieved, but because of what we can, and will achieve. God bless Egypt and the Egyptians. Bahebek ya masr! (I love you Egypt :D )

4 Mike February 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Fantastic read. Just one quibble:

“A man isn’t afraid of putting his life at risk.”

Afraid isn’t the right word. Unwilling, perhaps. As they say, bravery is not the absence of fear.

5 John Benton February 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Wow, how inspiring. I actually heard about the Christians forming a human wall to protect the praying Muslims a few days ago, from another source. How beautiful that must have been. It should be an inspiration to people of all faiths and differences of what can and should be accomplished when people get together to fight for a noble cause.

Beautiful day for the Egyptian people!

6 Joshua February 11, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Great story and lessons, Yasser. It’s been a joy seeing your joy. I especially loved your last line: “When people aren’t afraid of losing, they are free.”

7 Andrew Spiehler February 11, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Wow, this was really something to read. Whatever the Egyptians do, I hope they aren’t fooled into letting Omar Suleiman replace Mubarak.

8 Ken February 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Thats the most beautiful thing I ever read. Good luck, Egypt. I hope this all works out for you.

9 John T February 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Absolutely spectacular article, and I applaud your efforts for the freedom of your nation. There are so many great lessons to be taken out of it.

10 Matt February 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Thanks for the article. Truly great insight.

11 Thank You February 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I haven’t been following the news as to what has been going on in Egypt, because, frankly, I don’t trust that the information I’m getting is unbiased. I really appreciate being able to read a first hand account of what has been going on and how it has affected the people there.

12 Darren February 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Wow. So inspiring. My hat’s off to you sir. Not many Americans for whom English is their first language could write as well as you…I’m sure your country will be just fine.

13 Justin W. February 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm

An inspiring post. The courage and strength that the Egyptian people had was amazing to say the least, and the end result not being followed by a large trail of blood is what is most amazing. In the end, the groups, such as your own, kept yourselves clean and respectable, and that is the only way to make somebody listen. Unlike violence, which only causes anger, respect and decency create a presence.

14 Marc Quinn February 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm


I am so incredibly grateful you shared this with us. I had tears in my eyes reading it. I don’t often read blog posts but this is the first one in quite a while that I read top to bottom.

Thank you for believing in your country, in its people, and for doing what you had to do when the moment arose. I am blessed to have come across this post and I wish you ALL well in what you are constructing in your country. May it serve you all to become a symbol of hope and inspiration to everyone in the Middle East (fuck it, the WORLD!!)

My best,


15 Arick D. February 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Watching the events unfolding in Egypt has given me a new appreciation for all that I have. I find it wonderful that the Egyptian people have been able to hold together for so long and achieve what some thought unachievable. These are lessons I will not soon forget.

16 Yasser El Hadari February 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm

@ Aly: I hope my writing represented us all well. Hail Egypt! We’ll do great things together!

17 Joe February 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm

This is the best of the internet, right here. Manliness goes beyond national borders, matters of faith, age, and time.

I have been following today’s events very closely on Al-Jazeera English. More than once I have come close to tears. I am a 24 year old American man and this has been a day I will never forget

18 Lonnie February 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Freedom is not free. Thank you for showing us what it means to be a man who fought for his people’s freedom.

19 Davis February 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm

This is awesome. Thank you for sharing this, Yasser.

20 Brian E February 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Wow. I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes the whole time I was reading this. It was truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing it with us.

21 Justin February 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Mr. El Hadari,

Thank you for telling your story. This is a cynical world and we too easily forget what the efforts of a strong, principled, and brave people can accomplish.
The relationship between the USA and Egypt has not always been an easy one, but I hope you know that more than a few American eyes teared up watching what you have accomplished. There will no doubt be difficult days ahead, but the Egyptian people have today earned their freedom.

22 T. Hernlund February 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Amazing article. Well done Mr. El Hadari. Very well done.

23 Caleb Sessoms February 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I have to say this is the best article I have read on this website. You are a true man who has done great things for his country.

24 Enrique San Juan February 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Keep the fire burning.

Don’t let traditional politicians run the country. Learn from the lesson of history where People Power succeeded in toppling one regime but was replaced with a weak one. Egypt has a long way to go.

Will offer our prayers for a NEW Egypt. I was there two weeks ago!

25 Aly February 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm

@Yasser: I am proud of you, and proud of us! The hard work starts now, but I have NEVER been this excited! 2erfa3 rasak enta masry! (Raise your head high, for you are Egyptian!)
p.s. I think we have shattered the stereotype of shifty, lazy Arabs, and consigned Islamophobia to the pages of history, along with Mubarak.

26 Jonathon Seaborn February 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Wonderful article! It was very inspiring.

27 Supernaut February 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Truly inspiring. I sincerely hope that your revolution comes to a happy ending, and that you have the willpower, the strength and the energy to ensure that Egypt from now on remains free and democratic. Keeping the respect for each other, free from religious conflicts and the other crap that tends to rip countries, families and friends apart. I am looking forward to some day being able to go visit your country, see the pyramids, and speak to and meet some of you who couragously fought for democracy. A big up to you, hope that you will maintain the good spirit even though you propably will have a few hard years in front of you, creating a new government, a functioning buerocracy and establishing new diplomatic relations to the rest of the world.

I hope that you, during this struggle, will remember why you started fighting in the first place.

28 Amber Elizabeth February 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Great post.

Thank you for sharing, Yasser.

29 Josh Wise February 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Wow. This is an amazing piece. I’ve been completely blown away by the resiliancy, courage, and tenacity that you and those who’ve stood with you have shown. I believe that all of us can look at your examples and hope to embody them in our own lives. What you all have done will go down in history. God bless Egypt.

30 HMPlatinum February 11, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Well done, sir.

31 Juliano February 11, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Amazing post, thank you for sharing. I am brazilian and I found this text really inspiring, wish the best to you and your country.

32 moustafa moamen February 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I’m Yaser’s professor in the faculty I used to teach him but really I can say that I’m the one who is learning now. Yaser your article really expresses a lot of feelings that most of feel know and inspired me thanks

33 Yasser El Hadari February 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Thank your Dr, Moustafa! Seriously thank you all!!!

34 Kevin February 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Simply incredible. I’m really at a loss for words.

35 renad February 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm

im proud to have you in my life its because of you and people like you that we can hold our head high and say I AM EGYPTIAN
love you bro

36 Trevor February 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Amazing post. Sending this to everyone I know.

37 Carter February 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Man’s natural state is freedom.

38 RJ February 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm

@ Sir Yassir El Hadari .
I have often lost hope in many Middle East issues.. I pray and always wish the best.. I see Other M.E. countries with these horrid protests.. yelling screaming burning awful even very Hateful groupings.. I have never been able to grasp it. As I have heard about the Egyptian Protest.. I had hoped to see a real Freedom. Durring the last week I had chosen to watch the Movie Gandhi on TV.. thinking What a GOD thing that was.. wishing that other countries could do as they did. Wondering if that sort of Respectful , Sacrificial Behavior could change the world of the middle East, as it did for India. In the US we very often don’t get Good News or accurate portrayals of what is really going on. Your message today has given me a new found respect for Your Country and touched my heart deeply. You are doing what Gandhi and his did.. and I have great respect for it. Islamic and Christians “PROTECTING” each other.. we are shown that never happens in American News.. ( My perspective ). May HE Bless and Indeed Help you all in Every Way to have a Truly FREE and Honorable Country , in the same way you acted FREE and Honorable before us. I am at a loss to say more. I feel like I am watching real History. It has burned a bit of an Image in my head. How Great your People are.. how Educated.. Civil , Righteous , Honorable , You deserve the very Best. NODS To you.. and yours.. We Americans could Learn books of things from this. I hope we do. I am humbled.

39 Gary-A February 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm

This is the manliest article on this entire website, hands-down.

40 Tiffany Willis February 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Copied from my FB post about this article:

“When I first became single, I saw some “instincts” kick in with my son. Making sure the doors are locked, etc…At one point he made a comment saying “I’m the man of the house”. I agreed and said “yes you are!”. (understanding that I do NOT hold him in any way to a man’s responsibilities….he’s still a little boy).

So anyhow….we were driving to school an hour later and he was quiet. Then he said “Mom, what does the man of the house do?”

I didn’t have an awesome answer to that (I tried). But I think reading this article together would provide a good answer.”

Thank you so much for sharing this.

41 Hesham Yousry February 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Thank you Yasser for expressing all our feelings and thoughts, I’m Yasser’s friend and colleague. I hope that our brave revolution against tyranny would be taught to all mankind to learn from our experience. Thank you (non-egyptians) for your support and for celebrating with us this moment in history.

42 woodsrunner February 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm

This piece was truly inspiring.

May I put a link on one of my blogs?

43 racha farid February 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm

proud to be egyptian , god bless each protester

44 Andrew February 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Fantastic article!

Keep your chins up and maintain your ideals, because now will be the tough work of rebuilding and readjusting, minus the adrenaline plus the fatigue.

45 Christopher Laing February 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Inspiring indeed! This should be a lesson to us all in what it means to be a man, and I am grateful to Yasser for teaching it.

46 Chase Night February 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this. The part that especially got to me was where you admitted that in the beginning you lacked the confidence to believe your voice mattered. I think this lack of true confidence is plaguing the young people of America who feel hopeless in the face of our own giant political machine. I hope that the bravery and determination of the people of Egypt will serve as an inspiration to people all over the world that we don’t have to settle for anything less than real freedom.

47 Reverend Cowboy February 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Well done, sir.

48 Freedom February 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm

A man shouldn’t show emotion, but I get choked up reading this. Bravo to you and your countrymen for standing up to what you and others believe in… Sitting here in one of the most prominent structures on the west coast of the United States – I see a land of people that had wanted change in 2008… We sit here today, 3 years later, and we are still the same… Alot of the people who once stood up together are now sitting down because they are, once again, scared of not being normal… Well, with our debt ever increasing to over $14 Trillion… It will come to a time, my countrymen, that the government will be oppresive to pay their debts they continually pay themselves and their colleagues… And the burden will fall on us… We continually sit by and do nothing about it, except complain from our querty keyboard… As this young man has pointed out, when you want something bad enough – be a man – rise up – and do what is right…

Good luck, Egypt, as your future is now unwritten and it is up to you to point it in the right direction.

49 Sweep February 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I enjoyed this very much… Thanks. It is wonderful that you put this into perspective and speaks volumes of the kind of class that Egypt has even during a revolution! This resonates within my own life as I now think of personal revolution! yes this will take the courage of a nation.

50 Joe J. February 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Wonderful article. Thanks for sharing.
Best wishes to Egypt on a wonderful future!

51 Kári February 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm

At a loss for better words, inspiring article!

A new hope for the Middle East

52 kbonikowsky February 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Choked up reading. Thank you for the reminder that freedom is achieved. May your courage see you through to the end, and your efforts reward you with much gain.

53 Richard Kern February 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm

The Eqyptian people had three choices as far I as could tell:

1)Wait for Mubarak to step down in September and have fair elections. The Egyptian people made it clear they would not abide this.
2)Oust Mubarak and have some entity maintain control until fair elections are held. This is the current route obviously.
3)Complete and total overthrow of the entire system immediately. Start from scratch, hold elections and rebuild the government. This is definitely the wild card option. Wild and bloody.

Unfortunately for the Egyptian people they now have to trust the military. I know there’s not a great track record as far these things are concerned but I’m not sure how it could have been handled differently. I don’t know much about Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Soliman so I can’t make any predictions about what he’ll do.

It’s not going to be popsicles and puppy dogs from now on; the hardest days are likely ahead. Even if Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Soliman allows for a free and fair restructuring of the gov’t, the unity that was developed and cherished during the campaign to oust Mubarak will surely give way to factionalism of some sort or another.

Let’s just be proud of the Egyptian people for what they’ve accomplished so far.

54 R J Vincent February 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Great article. I’ve been watching the events in Egypt from the beginning and was amazed at how things have changed so quickly. I wish nothing but the best for the Egyptian people as they move ahead. There’s still a lot of hard work ahead but I know the Egyptians will do what is necessary to secure their freedom and a bright future for all their citizens.

55 Grant Hooper February 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm

An inspiring post. May the Egyptian people get the democracy they’ve fought so bravely for.

56 Nathaniel Phillips February 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm

You are a role model for young men like me. Thanks!

57 Michael Dykes February 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm


58 Marc Macleod February 11, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Very Inspiring article to coincide with an astoundingly inspiring achievement. I’m so glad that Democracy won and hope this action can be a beacon of hope for all those who want it.

59 Kevin February 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Inspiring article. Excellent. I admire the fact that you presented yourself well when you went to the demonstrations. Best of luck to you and your country.

60 Rob February 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Wow, awesome article! That was great to read, and thank you for writing it.

61 Will February 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm

You’re an inspiration for all of us. Thank you for the post.

62 James B. February 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm

This is a positive reinforcement of lessons learned in the heat of conflict. Alan Moore once wrote, “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people”. Best of luck.

63 Ben Rypstra February 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Inspiring! The paragraph describing Christians protecting Muslims while praying, and Muslims protecting Christians during mass brought tears to my eyes. There is hope for the world after all!

Good luck and don’t let someone take advantage of the situation to sneak into power and start a whole new dictatorship.

64 Barry February 11, 2011 at 9:37 pm

outstanding and inspiring . I am going to sit down with my son and we will read this together and talk about what it means to be a man, I can’t think of a finer example .Thank you for writing this.

65 Black and Blue Man February 11, 2011 at 9:38 pm

That was very moving, stirring and thought-provoking.

Thank you very much for sharing that with us.

66 Tubby Mike February 11, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Thank you Mr. El Hadari for the amazing insights into the events taking place in Eygpt and your own personal courage. We get relatively unbiased coverage from Channel 4 in the UK and although detailed can never give us the insight that you have in your article.

I wish you every success in building a democratic and fair Egypt based upon the principles that you have illustrated above and I hope the Egyptian people make sure that one despotic and oppressive regime is not replaced by another, once the protests have died down. It is a brave thing that you all have achieved and have shown us here in Europe that freedom has a cost.

Thank you again for a truly remarkable article.

67 Andrew B February 11, 2011 at 10:19 pm


There is something about this whole situation that strikes deep in the heart of Americans, and people in general. To be a part of such a historic event must have been absolutely epic.

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!

68 Zackary DuFour February 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm

One of the most inspiring articles I’ve ever read on this site. Unbelievable.

You’re truly a testament to what a man can achieve when he holds his convictions.

69 Andy M February 12, 2011 at 12:05 am

Great article!

70 Pete February 12, 2011 at 12:45 am

Egypt is a wonderful country with a rich and ancient heritage. Very hopeful that things continue to work out in favor of her people. Thank you for the inspiring article.

71 Jeff February 12, 2011 at 12:59 am

I thought your name sounded familiar until I read more of the article and realized that some of the people who interviewed you were from NPR. I heard your remarks; they aired them on the radio. It’s great to read more about what’s going on over there, especially from someone personally involved.

What a great article! It’s wonderful to read about people conducting themselves so honorably in such political turmoil. Perhaps these events can be an example of how political change ought to take place. Best of luck!

72 Daniel Brown February 12, 2011 at 1:04 am

السلام و عليكم يا ياصير. و مبروك، و يلا يا مصر!

73 Pardis February 12, 2011 at 1:43 am

Bravo !
It was a great article !

74 Daniel Gordon February 12, 2011 at 2:07 am

I wish you and your country the best of luck. I hope to see & hear great things coming out of Egypt.

75 Maree February 12, 2011 at 2:42 am

This was so moving to read..
I understand that there is still along way to go for your country to become what you all wish.. And of course there is still the dangers we see being discussed everywhere..
But I want to say Thank you, you shattered the image that was created for the rest of the world of your people, and I am so so happy about that..
But what moved me the most, was watching you all come together, work together, standing against the odds, helping each other and doing it all as peacefully as you possibly could…
I have cried along with you over your losses, cheered, gone to sleep with prayers for you all to be safe..
No matter what comes next, you all showed the world something most of us felt we had lost..
Thank you for that.. And I have no doubt if the people work together as they have done throughout this, your country is going to come through strong and be something the rest of us can look up to and hopefully learn from…

76 Andrew from Canada February 12, 2011 at 3:06 am

This is why I love this site.

77 Kevin Lantz February 12, 2011 at 4:57 am

one of the thing that strikes me is that after reading into it, before finishing I can finish out what he’s going to do in the scenarios.

A case of role assumptions. He took on the role of a revolutionary, who views things as more important than himself and was willing to sacrifice himself to the greater good.

In retrospect he ascribes great virtues to the actions, and lessons to be carried away, but (and not to diminish such actions, as any good viewer should) he was first and foremost filling the role which he had assumed. He himself is shocked at his role in things, but it’s only because he views it in the context of his normal life. Which is what you and I would do.

His normal life is assuming the roles he took on. His father if you note is a ob/gyn. He’s in dental school, different, but not too much from his father.

In the end he ends up personifying Egypt as a woman that he has been unfaithful to. and I’m betting unless something like this, or others writings/actions change it he will do as much. Forever taking his actions as a affirment to his faith in his wife, and justification of his faithfulness to her.

78 person from no where February 12, 2011 at 7:23 am

This is exceptional stuff, great article

79 Bill Wilson February 12, 2011 at 7:52 am

Thank you for this inspiring article. I wish you and your country the very best.

80 Troy February 12, 2011 at 8:15 am

It is inspiring to see the Egyptian people struggle to achieve what we in America take for granted. I thank God it has been done with little blood shed and pray that it remains so.

81 FreedomNotFree February 12, 2011 at 8:23 am

A very inspiring article! I am hopeful for the future of Egypt and the object lessons that serve as a warning to Oligarchical regimes everywhere. People are meant to be free. Suppressing others for the sake of power is a weak substitue for the free exchange of ideas, dignity, and respect for all persons.

Finally, I am heartened by this author in his certain knowledge that rights also come with responsibilities. His actions and those like him are in keeping with the finest traditions of gentlemanly conduct and are a credit to his country, family, and the quality of people on this website! Bravo!!! -S

82 Jon February 12, 2011 at 8:48 am

May God bless you and the people of Egypt. It is my hope that the revolution is fruitful and that you can all enjoy the freedoms that we have here in the states. You have our support.

83 Bill Snyder February 12, 2011 at 8:58 am

The section titled “A man respects people who are different” was perfect. If we could only learn this lesson in the USA we’d be so much better off. We have entire TV networks dedicated to the opposite of this premise. Much to my shame as an American.

To the people of Egypt: Good luck and God (in whatever form you believe) bless you..

84 James February 12, 2011 at 9:23 am

You, your country men, and Egypt are in my prayers.

85 Bill G. February 12, 2011 at 9:31 am

Excellent article! The points you make are succinct and poignant. I especially appreciated the section called “A man respects people who are different.” These observations are very different than the news reports we hear on the American news services – we need more independent reports like yours. Thank you.

86 Joan of Argghh! February 12, 2011 at 9:46 am

Mr. Hadari, in the face of such incredible chaos your resolve to act practically and responsibly when it would have been easier and perhaps advisable to remain uninvolved, is truly inspiring. Your profession of a renewed love for and vision of the land of your forefathers is another welcome breath of honesty.

May Egypt deserve her patriots!

87 The Envoy February 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

I cried manly tears. May Egypt and her people see a better tomorrow.

88 Pete February 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

Thanks for taking the time to write such a great article.

89 Marc February 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

“The superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions”
- Confucius

90 Nancy February 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Dear Mr. Hadari,

Bravo! I hope people all over the world read your post. There are countries with “freedom” that have lost their honor and respect. I pray the Deities of all Religions smile on Egypt and help her grow and remember all that you have written. You should run for office and continue to support the dignity that is Egypt.
Safety to you, your family and Egypt.

With Great Respect,

91 Hugo Stiglitz February 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm



92 Evan February 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Liberty, justice for all.
Support and prayers to you and yours.

93 Ian Reide February 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Wonderful story, well told. Congratulations on your success. I wish the people of Egypt every success in the future.

94 Joe February 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm

To the Polls, ye sons of liberty…

95 Charles Garris February 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with not only the Egyptian people, but all of the hungry, oppressed and disenfranchised regardless of their religion or ideoiogy.

96 Dennis February 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm

don’t know who this is going too. Keep fighting the good fight. Democracy’s never fight against themselves. They may disagree and it may be stupid…but it ain’t war, we talk with each other before that. We work it out somehow. And live peacefully together. Can we all do this?

97 Jim February 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Wouldn’t it be great if this were required reading for politicians, at home and abroad? Inspiring – but the work of the people is not finished.

As an aside, with all of the flip-flopping at the end of this week, I was starting to think Mubarak took lessons on dictatorship from Brett Favre (too soon?).

98 Dennis February 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm

If you have a death wish against any country…I really feel sorry for your jaded thoughts. Life is good…death is permanent. I don’t know what heaven brings.. but I know what killing brings…I don’t believe in the devil and hell. But..it can’t be good

99 Dave February 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm

A moving article. Thank you. Freedom is not free, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Alas I worry that we in the United States may also face such a test some day. Perhaps it is long overdue. After all, who values things gained easily?

100 Hal February 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Wow – there is nothing like growing up in a hurry – I hope you never forget the journey!

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