A Protester's View Of Life In Tahrir Square Tens of thousands of protesters have occupied Cairo's Tahrir Square since demonstrations against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began 12 days ago. Guest host Linda Wertheimer speaks with protester Ibrahim Houdaiby, who has been on the square every day this week.

A Protester's View Of Life In Tahrir Square

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/133527627/133527623" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

We're joined on the line now with Ibrahim Houdaiby. He's a 27-year-old businessman. He's been at Tahrir Square in Cairo every day this week.

Ibrahim, thank you for talking to us.

Mr. IBRAHIM HOUDAIBY: Thank you. I'm just a business consultant, not a businessman.

WERTHEIMER: OK.

Mr. HOUDAIBY: But thanks anyway.

WERTHEIMER: Tell me about the days you've spent at the square. What has that been like?

Mr. HOUDAIBY: It's very hard to talk about it because no words could really explain the way you feel when you are in Tahrir Square, surrounded by all those people who had been able to break the chains of fear, and who are able to speak up and speak their voices and make themselves heard. We all receive phone calls from all over the world, telling us how inspiring this revolution is. And this gives us even more energy to keep it going on. And...

WERTHEIMER: Well, now, I wanted to ask you about that because it seems to me that if you're going there every day and staying all day, it must be exhausting. You must be so tired.

Mr. HOUDAIBY: Yeah. We joke about it, actually. We say that this might be the only revolution that we stay because the people are bored. But that's only a joke because we know that President Mubarak has a lot of perseverance. He has - he's extremely stubborn. But if he has perseverance, we have more perseverance. As sometimes - in Tahrir Square says, he's over 80, we are under 30. Time is on our side.

WERTHEIMER: Are you afraid, when you go into the square every day? Are you afraid that the kind of thing that happened on Wednesday - I understand you were there - that it could happen again?

Mr. HOUDAIBY: I was there, but I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid. Actually, it's quite - what happened there was - yes, it was horrifying. In one sense, it was devastating. It was disgusting because a peaceful revolution was attacked by thugs and criminals, and the peaceful revolution, we clapped for them when they started chanting for Mubarak.

When they started insulting us, we also continued clapping for them because we wanted to teach them to be - to express themselves in a civil manner. They started throwing stones at us; we responded by chanting peaceful, peaceful -salmiya, salmiya. And then they started attacking us with knives and swords, and all kinds of things. So yes, on that sense, it was disgusting.

But also, this was a night for me to remember because it was a wonderful night, an inspiring night of Egyptian people coming together. When we were praying -the Muslims in the square were praying, the Egyptian cops were taken out back to make sure that we won't be attacked when we are praying.

And all Egyptians in Tahrir Square - socialists, liberals, nationalists, communists, Islamists - we all came together, and we were all a unified Egyptian civilized community, defending not only revolution and not only our lives, but the civil nature of the state.

WERTHEIMER: Will you go back tomorrow?

Mr. HOUDAIBY: I will go back tomorrow.

WERTHEIMER: Ibrahim Houdaiby - he's a 27-year-old business consultant. He has been in the square with the protesters in Cairo, every day this week.

Thank you very much.

Mr. HOUDAIBY: Thank you.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.