Standing as One
On January 18th, young activist Asmaa Mahfouz posted a YouTube video that may have been the catalyst for the Egyptian uprising. The 26-year-old is a founding member of April 6, Youth Movement— who played a lead role in organizing the January 25th demonstrations. In the video that went viral, Mahfouz urges her fellow citizens to join her in Tahrir Square on January 25th to demand their rights. Mahfouz’s bravery and courage can be seen through not only her words, but by her willingness to identify herself and even gave her phone number for people to call to get involved.
Mahfouz spoke of four self-immolators, who set themselves on fire in hopes of revolution, in hopes of human rights. Mahfouz spoke of how these protestors were not afraid of death, they were afraid of the corrupt government and security forces. Saying, “Instead of setting ourselves on fire, let us do something positive," and told how she, a girl, would go down to Tahrir Square and carry a banner and stand alone. She urged men and women to join her and share the message with their circles of friends and family.
The day before the demonstrations, Mahfouz posted another video, where she spoke of how Egyptians had come together in planning and that in itself was a success. Children distributed fliers after prayers and older people in their 60s making sandwiches to pass out at the next day. “Stand as one in peaceful protest” was Mahfouz’s battle cry, the plan being that “Power is in unity” and peaceful revolution.
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians poured in the next day and Mahfouz posted a video after about how this was “the happiest day of my life.” Mahfouz spoke of seeing the people of Egypt come together in peace demanding their rights, with no one hurt or harassed, but instead concerned with the welfare of each other.
Mahfouz spoke the powerful words to not be afraid of the government, and “Fear none but God… He will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves."