Friday, February 25, 2011
Kisses for the American
Posting from Tahrir Square, this Friday. Now by noon crowds have gathered and the noise is deafening, with loudspeakers screaming what seem so far to be celebrations and not protests or prayers. The atmosphere is festive; whole families are milling about. I appear to be one of the few Anglos here, in fact I've seen no other yet. All of the journalists have gone to Libya. People are either unconcerned about all of the photos I'm taking, or they're noticeably pleased; the young soldiers manning the tanks or grouped in platoons allow a shy smile for the camera. A captain asked me to stop filming his squadron as they marched to take up a new position on the perimeter of the square; then asked where I'm from and what I was doing there. He smiled genuinely when I told him I was there to tell their story. An elderly man approached and politely asked if he could ask me some questions. His smile was deep when he heard "America" and when he learned of my purpose he kissed me thrice on alternating cheeks. This may have been a youth-led movement, but they have clearly spoken for all.