A reporter looks back at Tahrir Square
This is moving for the detail (though I can't vouch for the provenance). David Graeber would like this:
To me, one man stood out.
“No! This cannot be just about police! Everything has to change. We are not living in this country. We are all living dead. I have not been alive for at least 10 years!” said Essam, a 70-year-old retired military employee. He was screaming at the top of his lungs to anybody who would listen. Essam was wearing a training suit ready to march, ready for anything. He could not believe he could finally air all his grievances as loudly as possible.
“Even before retiring, I could barely afford to provide my family with anything. I lived an indebted man. Do you know what it’s like to always be in debt? It is torture. It is like the system made sure that I always lived half a man. I just want this to change. I suffered to provide for my family and I still can’t really provide for them. Since being forced to retire at 60, I’ve had to work two jobs along with the shitty pension I received every month. After years of serving this country, I still have to pay bribes to scum at government offices to provide for the smallest necessities in life. I don’t care if I die now. This has to be a revolution! I am not leaving here until things change!”
After five minutes of yelling into space and into the crowd around him, Essam collapsed. He fell back onto the ground like a plank. There was nothing left in him. He had let it all out. Dozens of people around him tried to help him, half of them crying, touched by the scene. I had not fully comprehended what was hidden beneath the increasingly agitated masses, going through life wondering if everything was always meant to be this hard, if the God-like forces keeping them in this state could ever be defeated.