“Aliaa Elmahdy, the 20-year-old college student was there, chanting with the Tahrir comrades songs of liberty while passionately beholding what she thought the dawn of her freedom.”
Dr. Ashraf Ezzat
Freedom… is the allure of the Tahrir square saga and perhaps the indisputable motto of the Egyptian revolution.
The Tahrir Square was packed with thousands of Egypt’s youths; boys and girls in their teens who witnessed the rare and magical moments of the system bending to their demands and the regime crumbling down before their vigorous and starry eyes.
For them it felt like the world had just been created, the sun and the moon had taken up their positions, the heavens and earth had split, and the center of the earth was right there … at Tahrir square where Horus, the mighty falcon and god of the sky hovered above those teens’ heads and blessed their struggle for freedom.
Aliaa Elmahdy, the 20- year-old college student was there, chanting with the Tahrir comrades songs of liberty while passionately beholding what she thought the dawn of her freedom.
But her freedom was defined by her ability to break loose of what she perceived as dead legends of piety and hypocritical compliance with the society’s so called conservative values.
I’m not talking about some indecent streetwalker here, rather a young and educated Egyptian who grew up as an intellectually independent girl and who won’t yield to the tide of obscurantism that could only see women from behind veil or covered up from head to toes in some long and dark medieval garbs.
Aliaa is a liberal teenager, living the “imagine” world of John Lennon where there is no hell below us and above us only sky. She is a dreamer who kind of hoped not to be the only one and that others would join her some day
Last month and days prior to the eruption of the second wave of the Egyptian revolution the photo of that dreamer Aliaa, undressed except for red shoes and stockings, with emotionless face except for unwavering and defiant eyes, posing in classic nude posture and with a bit of artsy black-and-white presentation hit the web audience on her blog titled : Diary of a Revolutionary [Woman].
When I first saw her bold nude statement, I thought what a brave young girl; she was so young to have experienced life well enough to choose to pose naked and spit in the world’s eyes as she wrote underneath her nude photo that she was “echoing screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.”
But that same antagonistic society received Aliaa’s statement- as typically expected- with resentment and despise, confusing the nudity she used as a solemn declaration of anger with the erotic and scandalous pornography she never meant to subscribe to.
And thousands of feedback comments insulting and most often accusing her of debauchery came hammering down like rain on her blog.
Aliaa, being the young and inexperienced girl that she was and believing not that the cyber world had rejected and failed to decipher her message and her longing to be free decided to hit the street, give her back to the virtual world of the web and face her doubts and feel the warmth she once sensed in the real world of Tahrir square.
But what the dreamer girl thought of as the last resort for her salvation, proved to be the place of her crucifixion as the gathering in Tahrir square mobbed, molested and beat up the young Aliaa the moment they recognized her.
In Egypt, while the revolution accepts oblations of the mutilated and the maimed, the religious fanatics and political opportunists it rejects the offerings of the nude and the sincere revolutionaries.
Few weeks have passed since the second wave of Egypt revolution that witnessed the most violent confrontations between the security forces and the protesters and that left the highest death toll …the scuffles stopped and the tear gas fog has settled down … things have calmed down… deals in closed rooms have been made and the vigor of the revolution faded away as the ultraconservative Islamists began to slip into the political arena through the polls …they tend to drag the Egyptian society back to antediluvian age and pledge to stone the likes of Aliaa to death.
Tahrir square is almost barren now except for some scattered tents that harbored the few left die-hard secular activists, the chilly breeze of December and … the broken dreams of Aliaa Elmahdy.