Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Watched

I was a 5 minute walk away from heavyset military APCs ploughing into a thousands-strong demonstration.

I was just done with an uneventful day at my newsdesk job when not an hour later a barely 15 year old boy got killed, brutally, cold-bloodedly, killed.

The camels, the camels who broke into Tahrir Square on the infamous afternoon, passed along my neighborhood mainstreet on their way.

Someone who went to the same school as I did, only a year older, was also killed in the same place the barely 15 boy was.

I completely lost the ability to take breaths, being the claustrophobic I am, within less than 5 seconds of the first stampede I found myself in after police shot a new round of tear gas into an alleyway street.

I come home to my mother crying on more weekdays than not. She says she can never stand it when she sees  any pictures of our martyrs on television and hearing their families speak.

And all she can do is sit and cry at a television screen because she doesn't allow herself to go to protests, because 'what if I get killed and you're left with no one to support you?' And only because of that.

I watched my 7 year old brother going back and forth around the house repeating to my mother 'I told you, I told you he was lying. Why is he late until now? he must have lied to us and went down to Mohamed Mahmoud. What else would take him so long? What if they beat him there?'

I have trouble sleeping because the minute I turn off the lights mental images of too many young men jump through my head, and I punish myself for my mere inability to grasp the extent of their mothers heartache. I punish myself by not sleeping. Why do I get to sleep and their mothers don't? Why am I in a warm bed while hundreds of people mostly my age have lost their lives way too soon?

I haven't even lost a loved one in the revolution and I'm having a degree of PTSD symptoms already.

And I won't fake smiles. If I can't get myself to smile at all of this then I won't. I know too much by now how much it costs to deny how I feel and focus my energy on feigning what I 'should' feel.

I feel. I feel now. And it's more than I can take. But I'd rather feel too much than to smile and fill the air with empty it's-gonna-be-okays.

And not that it isn't, but that's just not how I'm planning to get there.

The truth has pain in it. It has bitter sacrifice, loss. It has blood and tears and poignant moments of powerlessness. And I'd rather look all of it in the face and tell it like it is.

Faith does not contradict with the truth, and cynicism does not erode faith.

May you rest in peace Anas. May you rest in peace.