Nada Tawfeek is an Egyptian born activist currently residing in New Zealand. She wrote this first-hand account for The Spark after spending two months in Egypt; it again does not necessarily reflect a “party line.”
As the plane I was on approached Cairo, and I could finally see the pyramids after a good 24 hours of flying from New Zealand, I couldn’t help but wonder how different Egypt would be; whether it would already have changed or not. A part of me expected to step out of the plane to a brand new post revolution Egypt but the other part of me thought it would find the familiar hectic Egypt. Not long after leaving the airport I discovered that both my expectations were real. Although everything in Egypt looks the same as before the January revolution, the atmosphere is strangely different. Every radio station plays songs about the revolution and building a better Egypt, every Egyptian TV presenter now has a show about politics, the average Egyptian who most likely had no interest in politics a year ago could now talk about the different parties at length, and the closer the elections day got the more extreme this would seem.
The night before the Election Day was one of the most exciting days for many Egyptians since the revolution. Everywhere I went I heard young people talk about how they were incredibly proud that their generation got to witness a day like this, and older people talk about how this was the first time they had ever voted in their whole life. This day for many Egyptians was a challenge. Finally people felt that their voices were going to be listened to and that their vote would actually count, and people weren’t going to let this opportunity pass no matter how anxious they were. The fact that this was the first time most people were going to vote made the new experience one they were slightly scared of because no one knew what to expect. People were afraid that the old government and its supporters might have a plan in place, but the excitement overcame the fear.