WARNING: THE ATTACHED SLIDESHOW CONTAINS VERY GRAPHIC PICTURES THAT MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME VIEWERS.
In the safety of the United States the mention of Egypt might bring to mind the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, mummies and curses, or rolling waves of dessert sands sprawled for miles in different directions.
But Egypt has changed. And it’s in danger. The tides of violence spurred on by revolutionists, still sprouting from the change that came with the rightful downfall of former President Hosni Mubarak. The times are uncertain for many Egyptians, with change haphazardly thrown from all directions. Today, Egypt’s military backed government resigned. There will be another election soon, but no one knows if that will bring stability.
Protecting the priceless pieces from thousands of years ago is no longer a priority, protecting freedom is. And the revolutionists will strive for it at any cost.
Many revolutionists have paid the ultimate price, hundreds have been killed in the clashes. Mosaab Elshamy, of BBC news, documented the violence in a series of photographs entitled Turmoil In Egypt. Many of the pictures are gruesome, some show the desperation for peace, others show completely raw grief.
The photo that starts of the slideshow, is of a man on his knees, streaked with dust, arms wide open with both hands holding two fingers up, a symbol of peace, is contrasted by a wall of military men in riot gear, some with arms outstretched, throwing unseen objects at the man. This is a powerful image, one that shows what the revolutionists are fighting for and against.
Elshamy’s voice accompanies the pictures, detailing his documentation of the events. His lightly accented voice is at times choked with emotion as photos of slide by. He describes the revolution as “a great story gone bad,” depicting how quickly humanity can descend into chaos.
Pictures of many women covered in colorful hijabs wearing smiles in lines for the voting booth slowly turn into bloody clashes with infernos painting the background as men in obvious grief, tears streaked down their faces, as carry their bloody and injured comrades.
Streets that must have once been pristine are now graffiti covered, blocked by police walls and charred by the fires that burn in the night. A massacre is described when Elshamy speaks of the deaths of over 800 people in the violent dispersal of the camps. A man kneels with his head in his hands, mouth open in silent grief as he is surrounded by bodies. A woman, cloaked in black, lays over a white sheet stained with red.
The photos end with uncertainty, his voice gives no clear indication of a finale, much like the precarious future facing the now divided Egypt. Will the supporters of the military regime revolt against the resignation? Will the new leader be any better than the past three regimes?
The slideshow is powerful and haunting, the music eerie and his voice is commanding. While the photos are, in an aesthetic way, beautiful, one can only hope that with the recent resignation of the government the images will never be repeated.