Egypt’s battle is on

Alaa Al Aswany in The Guardian:

27egypt-chameleon-custom1 Already the authorities are finding their tactics cannot stop the protests. Demonstrations have been organised through Facebook as a reliable, independent source of information; when the state tried to block it, the people proved more clever, and bloggers passed on ways to bypass the controls. And the violence of the security services is a risk for both sides: in Suez people have risen up against police who shot demonstrators. History shows that at some point ordinary policemen will refuse to carry out orders to kill fellow citizens.

More ordinary citizens are now defying the police. A young demonstrator told me that, when running from the police on Tuesday, he entered a building and rang an apartment bell at random. It was 4am. A 60-year-old man opened the door, fear obvious on his face. The demonstrator asked the man to hide him from the police. The man asked to see his identity card and invited him in, waking one of his three daughters to prepare some food for the young man. They ate and drank tea together and chatted like lifelong friends.

In the morning, when the danger of arrest had receded, the man accompanied the young protester into the street, stopped a taxi for him and offered him some money. The young man refused and thanked them. As they embraced the older man said: “It is I who should be thanking you for defending me, my daughters and all Egyptians.”

That is how the Egyptian spring began. Tomorrow, we will see a real battle.

More here.