You know the great line from the Janis Joplin cover of “Me and Bobby Mcgee”, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin left to lose”?.....well, that’s how most of the Egyptians I met felt.....they have nothing left but their dignity and their great hopes for a brighter future where people are paid a fair wage, have access to healthcare and education and where corruption and cronyism are not tolerated. Al Ghazzali said: “We possess only what would not be lost in a shipwreck” and the people on the streets and in Tahrir are vivid examples of that metaphor. They are living day to day, straight from the heart.
Horreya, the Arabic word for freedom, was the second most popular buzz word on everyones lips, after SOWRA (revolution) and was also the name of my favorite bar in Cairo. Al Horreya is an institutional looking cafe with high ceilings, vomit colored walls, sticky floors, cracked mirrors and bullet holes in the windows. You know, the kind of place Stalin might have called his “office”. Frequented by the arts and letters crowd, journalists and expats in the know, the place is divided into two distinct “sections” one that serves alcohol...and by that I mean ONE kind of beer (the absolutely delish national brand called STELLA) and a section that only serves coffee or tea. Slightly mean waiters forcibly serve you beer after beer while refusing to collect the empties as that's how they calculate the tab at nights end. Has to been seen to be believed. Bring your own food.