Today, armed with two strollers and a diaper bag, my husband and I took our 3 kids age 1, 2.5, and 5 to Tahrir square. We were quite the sight amidst the thousands of protesters who smiled to the kids as they waved their Egyptian flags that we purchased on our way in. We were welcomed by everyone, and more than 30 people asked to take the kids pictures and gave them dates and other goodies.
As we stood with the thousands of protesters chanting the slogans against the regime, I was uplifted by the unity and peacefulness of the people in the square. I felt truly content and safe amongst these people whom I had never met before. I could not believe that this was the same spot and the same people that had witnessed bloodshed just a few days ago. At that moment, I decided that I wanted to continue to raise my children in Egypt if these were the men and women that they would grow to be.
Many in Egypt would be completely shocked to hear that I took an infant, toddler, and pre-schooler to Tahrir, but I am truly happy that they witnessed this honourable revolution and saw the exact spot that the brave men and women had stood just days before, defending their rights and freedoms. Similarly, I wanted the world to see that Tahrir square was not a place of fear but a place of peace, tranquility, and hope.
We are home now and the kids are still chanting the songs that they heard today. Even Fatema, who does not speak yet, is waving her fist as her siblings chant. Abdelrahman drew a large Egyptian flag as soon as we got home and said he would take it to Tahrir tomorrow. And Amena, before going to bed said “bokra haruh tany li masr” ( tomorrow I will go again to Egypt).
God willing, in 20 years, in a brighter Egypt, I will tell my children the story of Tahrir square and the trip we took, and they will tell their children of how they were part of bringing freedom to Egypt.
I urge all to remain patient and steadfast and to join the call for change, in whatever way they can… for the sake of all our children.
Sarah Attia is a Canadian-Egyptian mom who grew up in Toronto, Canada and is currently living in Cairo working in the field of education.