Only we can make the change

Jan 27, 2011

Jan 25th saw an unprecedented change. The definition of a grassroots movement was witnessed by Egyptian streets. Diverse groups of citizens across age groups, social classes and religious beliefs walked the streets as one. With one voice and one message. Down with the current government. It was not about one issue of the many that Egypt is facing. It was about the overall state of unfairness and poverty. It was about the fact that the current government had 29 years to do something about our state and failed.


Now is the time for change. It is the time for us to stand up for ourselves as one. It is not about who will take over or what will happen. If we make this happen, it will be up to us to decide. For real.

It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be skeptical. We must, however, rise above those feelings and take the streets on Friday. We must be prepared and we must be safe. There is a very big chance it will get violent.

Like Ghandi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world”. If we want change, then as individuals we have to make it happen. We can’t stand idly and hope other people will take the initiative for us. That’s how we ended up here.

Below you can find some demonstration tips a French friend sent out. Let’s be safe. Let’s be prepared. Let’s take back our lives and our home.

Share these tips. Share my note. Share my photos. Feel free to use them and build on them to get people to the streets this Friday.

Demonstration tips

What to wear :

-Long sleeves and legs, sportswear, non-bright colors clothes. Hoodies are not advised, as you might be dragged by it. Long hair tied and put under collar.

Multiple layers might soften shocks.

-Sportshoes, no flipflops or any opened shoes.

-Scarf to cover mouth and nose and should be wet with vinegar or lemon juice to prevent teargas.

-Good tip for the head : get a small bike/scooter helmet, and cover it under a keffieh to make it less obvious.

-If you plan to throw teargas canisters back, gloves are a good idea.

What to bring :

Everyone should have a backpack with :

-Water (1,5L), snacks, tissues, medicine you might need, saline solution (is excellent to clear teargas from eyes, and super cheap in any pharmacy).

-Bring money, metro tickets, notebook, pen, but not your entire wallet. Stay light.

-Bandages and disinfectant could come in handy.

-Swimming goggles, even scuba masks, are excellent to protect your eyes from teargas.

-If you can bring some vinegar or lemon juice in plastic bottle to re-wet your scarf, yalla.

– Don’t bring anything illegal incase you get arrested

About IDs : best thing is to bring a COPY of your ID with you, and leave another copy to someone staying home.

About phones : Make sure you have credit and battery, and behave like you’re gonna use it a lot for a long time (ie disable bluetooth, 3G, …).

Legal aid numbers : Get the latest legal aid numbers from, save them in speed-dial, and write them on your forearm in case you loose your phone.

Find also someone staying home, write his/her number, and have him/her ready to help in case of problems. Have him/her follow twitter and fb to keep you updated.


Behaviour :

Well that is common sense : stay with friends, be ready to run fast but don’t overpanic at the first mass movement, help people around in need, try to watch for plain-clothes cops.

Setting up a meeting point is tricky as scene moves fast. Horreya is a good one though :-D

Don’t throw rocks or anything real solid, as they’re gonna throw them back. If you run into empty bottles, well, that would be smarter as they will crash upon arrival.

What to do in case of teargas :

Put your scarf on your nose and mouth, don’t open your mouth, run away from it as fast as you can.

Don’t wear lenses ; in case you still do, have them removed asap.

Spit, cough, rinse with water, don’t swallow (Twss), keep running, it fades quickly.

Rinse your eyes with saline solution (or water if you don’t have saline), but DON’T TOUCH THEM with your hands, which are covered as well with tearshit.

Then rinse other people’s eyes, you’ll make new friends !

If you’re close from being arrested :

RUN the frack away, try sidestreets, and keep running ! They want you more like away from the scene than actually detained.

If you’re arrested :

DO NOT give them your IDs, phones or anything unless they demand you. Say as less as possible, and if there’s an opening, as it often happens in Egypt (personal experience), RUN ! Discreetly text emergency contact as soon as you can, send your names to legal aids, try to call them. Let people know where you’ve been taken. And keep looking for openings.

%d bloggers like this: