It was already 1am and we were at a cafe drinking tea and playing dominoes… the usual night out in Cairo. While we were playing we saw huge trucks transporting the big blocks that are used to block off the streets around Tahrir Sq. to keep protesters away from important government buildings. None of us had anything better to do so thought lets go and see what street they are blocking now. As we made our way down there we never found where they were putting up the new blocks, but the smell of tear gas hit us immediately. This was a day after the 2nd anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution so the smell of the riots still lingered in the air. We were going to turn around, but then thought we’d walk around Tahrir Sq. and I’m glad we did. We found it to be quite empty with people sleeping on the street, gathered around drinking tea, watching TV or just talking and hanging out. We then saw people entering a make shift building in the middle of the Square covered in posters so we made our way to it and discovered that a make shift Museum had been made in the center of Tahrir Sq. I hadn’t noticed this the day before as I walked around Tahrir Sq. so not sure when it was set up, but my friends and I walked in. Above the entrance was a huge orange sign that said “The Revolution Museum” in Arabic.
—The entrance of The Revolution Museum.—
I’m not a huge museum person, but this was one I couldn’t miss. I mean how often do you get the chance to visit a make shift museum in the middle of a Square playing host to one of the biggest revolutions happening in the world today? The answer… um not often! I’ve seen many things during my many visits to Tahrir Sq. and I’m always amazed at the energy I feel and the change the people really want for Egypt, but this made me smile like never before. Here I was around 3am in the middle of Tahrir Sq. witnessing a collaboration of people coming together to have a place to share their voices.
No this is not the Louvre Museum in Paris or any other fancy museum you can find around the world; this is a museum made of pieces of wood, plastic and strings holding it together with a few lights that work and don’t work with protesters sleeping in tents around it. This is a museum where the walls are plastic and everything hanging on them is taped on them. This is a museum where the pieces of art on exhibit are sketched by hand or made on a computer from voices of the revolution or are photos of the Martyrs of the Revolution.
As I made my way around I was able to see many of the sketches and prints taped on the wall some of them were self explanatory, but others required translation and I was happy to be with my Arabic speaking friends to ask. I managed to take many photos and thought it’d be best if I show you what the people of the revolution see happening in their country. Please keep in mind these photos were taken around 3am and my camera is horrible at taking night photos.
—It was wall after wall like this just tons of drawings taped on the plastic wall.—
—“Movie of the season Terrorist and the Muslim Brotherhood.”—
—“The new position of the police on the streets.”—
—“Banned to show any skin even if it’s just a mannequin.”—
—The Israeli Ambassador in Turkey to the USA – “Oh help me momma, Turkey kicked me out.”—
—“Before & After”—
—“WANTED for escaping Wadi Natrun Prison.”—
—“Muslims & Christians are one hand to fight the enemies of the country.”—
—No translation needed. It’s President Morsi behind bars.—
—Martyrs to the protester “You are still standing in the same place, you are still silent and please continue to fight for our rights.”—
—Photos of some of the people who have been killed during the revolution.—
—One of the most famous statues in Cairo, but in this drawing the women is covered.—
—Right outside of the make shift museum are protesters sleeping in tents.—
—More photos of Martyrs.—
—Photographs of the protest from the start of the revolution 2 years ago.—
—A print of one of the most iconic images from the Egyptian Revolution.—
—Some needed no translation here is the Sphinx crying for help.—
—“Look at us now the verdict said we didn’t release the camels on the protesters when in reality we did.” —
—President Morsi on top – “What the fuck… I can’t handle Egypt by myself.”—
—Here you can get a better idea of just how the Museum is made along with other visitors.—
—Glass framed photos of some of the martyrs.—
—“They are all devils in disguise.”—
—A protester with his face covered to keep the tear gas away walking into the museum.—
It’s quite interesting seeing this point of view right? This is a point of view we don’t see or hear much about. Yes we know the revolution is happening, but thanks to our amazing media the only time we hear about the revolution in Egypt is when riots are happening. They never share any of the other amazing things happening in Tahrir Sq. or in Egypt. This isn’t the 1st time I share another take on what is happening in Tahrir Sq. I did the same when I shared photos of the 1st year anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution. I’ve mentioned before that I have been lucky enough to be in Egypt for many key moments since the revolution began and it amazes me at what the media actually shares with the world. After leaving the museum and heading back I kept wondering why hadn’t I read about this anywhere… I know I read international news often especially about Egypt so find it hard to believe something this amazing and beautiful has not been shared with the world.
Honestly this has to be one of my favorite moments from my more than a hundred visits to Tahrir Sq. I know it’s just a museum, but it’s not just any museum it’s “The Revolution Museum” put there by the people and one that may not be there long. This can easily be set on fire by an angry police officer or demolished by any government official. To top it off it doesn’t help that it’s built in the dead center of Tahrir Sq. where at some point will be reclaimed by the government and turned back into the beautiful Square it was before the revolution. My only hope is that someone takes the time to archive all the things hanging there so that one day down the road when an actual Revolution Museum is opened near by it’s some of these drawings that are being hung next to the many other photographs that have been taken in the 2 years since the start of the Egyptian Revolution. For now though I hope I am able to share with you yet again another side of Tahrir Sq. that the news & media are not sharing with you.