Sunday, January 16, 2011
I hadn't really slept in about 2 days so i woke up today at around 1 pm. Hamduallah
My experiences last night at the barricades were pretty intense.
As I wrote last night, I initially went out there to stop potential looters from robbing me or
any of my friends. I had also never have had to opportunity to "man the barricades" before, and I enjoy new experiences.
I had heard rumors that there may be members of the interior ministry connected security forces (aka THE POLICE, NOT THE ARMY) causing problems, but i thought they were just corrupt cops killing people for their stuff.
When I got to the barricades people were a little surprised I was there. I don't speak Arabic very well, and I was probably one of the only foreigners who was stupid and bored enough to stand on a corner in the entire country that night.
I was only there for a few minutes when we were told that looters were not the real enemy tonight. Like I have written before, there has been a highly organized and brutal attempt by the interior ministry (i think its safe to call them the "former" interior ministry now) to sow chaos by going on a campaign of seemingly-random mass murders across the country.
These terrorists were armed with automatic weapons and driving around in cars, and we were all on foot armed only with axe handles, knives and badly constructed barricades. At this point I started getting a little nervous.
However, despite the terror and despair everyone was feeling, the barricades were sort of like a block party, albeit a block party with terrifying undertones of violence.
As the night went on people started bringing out water and tea, and more people came out to join us. There were a lot of people there who seemed like they wanted to practice their English and i wanted to practice my Arabic (jaiysh=army, katush=gun shot, tahan=asshole=policeman)
When the police start killing random citizens out of spite, and then a newly revolutionary army goes a head and deputizes everyone with a knife or stick, it really brings out the worst and best in people.
There was one drunken fat man, who's breath smelled of liquor who was wielding dual butcher knives. He kept threatening other volunteers and vandalizing things and eventually people made him leave.
Most of the people were extremely inspirational and there were some people who took it upon themselves to be sort of leaders or messengers and ran from corner to corner, letting people know what was up. In my neighborhood the people who were doing this were two old men, and (implausibly) one young woman.
The young woman, named Leila spoke some English. She said "you are in our country, in our revolution" I started to say "I just don't want anyone taking my shit or shooting at my house" but she cut me off "you should get citizenship here, like Che in Cuba."
My motives are far from revolutionary, and she was totally busting my balls, but it still felt nice.