“We Are Writing History by Our Blood”: Egyptian Physician on Why Protests Won’t End Until Mubarak Resigns
Democracy Now! senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous speaks to Egyptian physician Dr. Ali El Mashad in Cairo’s Tahrir Square over the weekend. Dr. Mashad describes being injured in the streets and bleeding from the head. “We are writing history by our blood,” he says. Mashad says he will not stop demonstrating until Mubarak leaves office. [includes rush transcript]
DR. ALI EL MASHAD: My name is Ali El Mashad. I’m from Cairo. I’m a doctor, physician. I see that the more delayed or the more late his decision to go away is, the more creative, more beautiful is the revolution. So, I want him to give us some more time to do or to make a more beautiful revolution, a more historical revolution, a more creative one, a more distinguished one. That’s it, just as war, because this was very ultra-violent, ultra-violent. But thank God we are here. I don’t know why, I don’t know how.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Did you ever expect Egyptians to be able to do this?
DR. ALI EL MASHAD: No, not ever. And I didn’t expect we can overcome these partisan, these armies. We faced gas bombs. And I was dying. I was gasping. Eight days now.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Spent the night here?
DR. ALI EL MASHAD: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I went home for three to four hours within these eight days, to take a bath, take a shower, to sleep for two hours, couple of hours. But I’m sleeping here. I’m living here. And I don’t want to go back home. My wife is coming now. She was striving to come, and I said, "Leave the kids and come." Why not?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Do you think it will work?
DR. ALI EL MASHAD: Yeah, yeah, I’m sure. It is working. It is working. We have succeeded. I think after Wednesday, after the massacre of Wednesday—I was there. I was in the first line there, and I took one of the—I took an honor here, a little honor, compared to the other [inaudible], who took—I know one went to the hospital six times to get stitches, six times, and returns back to resume war. He was fighting. He was fighting like a soldier, without any training, without any organization, without any past history. I don’t know how. But I saw the people, the youth, fighting, fighting like death, 15 hours, for 15 hours. I can’t believe it.
At 3:00 a.m. Thursday, I was sure we’re down. We can’t resume. So I prayed to God. I couldn’t throw stones. I couldn’t do anything. So I stood up with the people, to die with the people, and started praying. Then, I decided to go to sleep. I couldn’t stand up.
At 5:00, I had a phone call from my wife. She said, "You’re leading. You had a victory already." I said, "How? How come?" After one-and-a-half hours of sleep. Then my colleagues came. They said, "The army, this army that they brought to us, has gone. It has gone. We are controlling the bridge." I said, "We are controlling the bridge? We are controlling the bridge?" They said, "Yeah. And also, we have three—we have three deaths." I didn’t get sad. I said, "That’s how the revolutions—that’s how the revolutions succeed, by this blood, by this blood, by these clean, clear youth, who are dying, who are dying for the country, for their rights, for their future and the future of their kids."
I told my wife on the phone, "Tell my kids, if I pass away here, tell my kids, 'Your father was a man, was a man of his word. He stood up for his rights, for your rights, and he went away for you. So, don't lose this.’" And I was sure this may happen. I’m sure, 'til now, this may happen. I am ready to it. I am trying to be ready to it. I'm trying real hard to be ready, to be ready for bullets, for fire, for the last fight. I’m ready. I’m trying, trying to be ready.
I think he’ll go, easily. I’m sure. I am sure he’ll. I think he’ll go easily. But I am putting all the odds. He may not go easily, so we’ll fight him to go hard. But he’ll go. Three days, four days, two weeks, a month, a year? He’ll go. He has been judging us, he has been stealing us, he has been fighting us 30 years ago. So, we are ready to fight him, a year, two years, here.
Everybody, every, every single drop of blood which is shed here is one of the—is one of the steps towards victory, towards freedom, towards history. We are writing history here, by the blood of our youth, by our blood. We all know that. When I felt the first drop of blood on my head, I was very happy. It was very happy. It’s my first time. It’s my first time to shed blood here. I used to do this all the time. I used to protest against all the decisions. But this was my first drop of blood. So I felt we are near. This time, we’re real near. This time, we are almost. We will never give up. We’ll never yield. He is the man who will give up. Soon he’ll go away. And I’m telling him here, go away now. Go away now, or you’ll be killed.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Dr. Ali El Mashad, an Egyptian physician participating in the demonstrations in Cairo, speaking in Tahrir Square over the weekend. Special thanks to Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Jacquie Soohen. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we’ll be joined by Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Anjali Kamat of Democracy Now! and speak with Human Rights Watch. The numbers are going up of those who have died—over 300, it’s believed at this point. And how many thousands have been detained? We’ll speak with a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Cairo. Stay with us.