“Let them elect Shafik. Hell, let them elect Morsey. I have one more hour, then I’ll be waiting for them in Tahrir. The Revolution has just begun.”
My taxi rides are never boring. Everyday I am inclined to take several taxis. In the span of one week, I have been proposed to, serenaded by Spanish conversations, witnessed a Fast and Furious taxi fight (Egyptian style), and engaged in full out political debates during my taxi rides, the latter being my fondest memory. I’ve had drivers side with either Morsey or Shafik, but rarely have I met one to disapprove of both-until last week. I was going to Arabesque Cafe to meet my professor before heading out to the Arab African Research Center. Since traffic was heavy, I decided to pass time by opening up discussion about the elections. Starting off with a subtle chuckle, the driver shook his head disapprovingly as if I should already know the answer to the question. The driver thought that Shafik, the prime minister during Mubarak’s regime, and Morsey, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, were two incompetent and unruly candidates for the presidential election. The only possible candidate could have been Sabahi, he said, but he was eliminated in the previous round. This taxi driver shouted, laughed, cursed, and scolded for 30 minutes until my arrival to Arabesque. After his shift, he promised to be in Tahrir promoting the “NO VOTE” option during the forthcoming elections.
Last night, our dorm’s common area was bustling with screaming Egyptians. The enthusiasm of the room matched that of an Ahly-Zamalek game, although this included many more armed policeman circling the flat screen tv. Morsey is winning the elections (by a mere 4%). With an almost 50/50 split, I can only imagine how many Egyptians are reacting. We will not know for sure who will win until the official announce on Thursday, but regardless of the outcome of the elections, I am so privileged to be in Egypt. For the first time, Egyptians have a voice, and they are using it.
Tonight, we went to our favorite Zamalek Cafe (we really don’t have many options since we are on lock down). Out of no where, I hear people cheering and clapping for someone. I honestly thought it was because someone started dancing…..I was definitely in for a surprise. Hamdeen Sabahi, former candidate for the Egyptian Presidential elections, arrived and he welcomed everyone with open arms. From children to adults, people ran up to him to simply shake hands or applaud his political struggle. After 15 minutes of pushing, I was finally able to squeeze in a picture, although it’s not exactly top quality. He ended up sitting right next to us, but of course, he was surrounded by countless politicians that attempted to avoid the rest of us like the plague. Regardless, I was honored to meet Sabahi. His charismatic nature is definitely something I will not forget in the future.