By Marianne Maeckelbergh
Cairo, Egypt, December, 2011-Cairo is a city engulfed in violent anticipation. Activists speak with pride about what they are accomplishing as they enter into their 11th month of struggle. And rightfully so. They “shed their fear” and came together to realise that despite continuous torture, repression, and military dictatorship, they are stronger than the authoritarian state. It’s a strangely powerful feeling that hangs in the air, that permeates conversations, that captures the imagination. The bravery, passion and camaraderie of the people I have met here in Cairo cannot be captured in words. It is a beauty that will inspire me for years to come. Nothing is certain, everything is frighteningly unpredictable, and yet, there is hope. Even those most critical of the current elections, those least satisfied with the authoritarian course the government is taking, have hope that things will get better. Why? Because they have seen, with their own eyes, the power of an enraged people fighting for dignity and a chance at social justice.