This morning, two boys – brothers, left their house. A little apartment, in a little building that was home to their parents and their parents, to their aunts, uncles, cousins. A building that had seen decades and generations grow. This morning, two boys left their home to bear witness to the history that was unfolding. One was about to turn 24 in a few days, while the other comfortably rested in his golden age of 10.
These boys were the closest of friends, the younger one always admired his older counterpart. Always thought of him as an inspiration to live up to, while the older brother adored protecting his kin.
Two boys left their home this morning – only one would come home.
The Cairo sun illuminated a city filled with 8 million beating hearts, 8 million with bated breath, waiting anxiously, watching the gory battle that was unfolding. The two boys expertly navigated the streets and followed the chants to the latest battlefield. The 10 year old, in his glorious naiveté was excited, exhilarated by the mere opportunity he was going to face. How beautiful and pure the young heart is. The older brother was worried, but against his better judgment, he felt his nation calling to him, a duty he could not idly ignore.
There it was. The numbers simply could not lie. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians standing by each other, chanting in unison the call to freedom. It was an overwhelming sight, one that warmed the heart, for the sheer power and force of unity is a truly one to be reckoned with. Grasping for his older brother’s hand, the younger boy looked at him, wide eyed, a smile that truly ran from ear to ear. They knew they would remember this moment forever.
Suddenly then, a can of tear gas flew above their heads only to land a short distance behind them. The stench was over powering, immediately their hands separated, the smoke filled with the air as several more landed around them. Desperately they looked at each other as hundreds pushed through them, trying to escape the toxic gas. They both shouted for each other, desperate to find the other again. As the blur cleared, they were both in a different place. They couldn’t find each other. Everywhere they looked they saw the unity fall apart. Rocks were being thrown, molotov cocktails being made.
Drops of blood peppered the street, all around they could see the injured, the scared, this did not feel like home.
Two large hands then grabbed at the nape of the 10 year old. An angry man with fire in his eyes screamed at him. “Who do you work for? Who paid you? ANSWER ME.”
The boy, paralyzed by fear could not respond. One of the large hands struck him across his face, he could taste the blood in his mouth, he could remember the rough touch of his hand. Wide-eyed he looked back at the man who struck him. He could not understand what he had done to deserve this. The man continued to strike him, again and again. On the face, on the back, everywhere, till the boy could no longer stand. Once he collapsed to the ground, the man stormed off to find his next innocent victim.
Once his cheek reached the ground, the little boy closed his eyes and hoped. Hoped that it would all go away. He was too weak to get up and fight.
The older brother looked everywhere, desperately grabbing at the shirts of anyone that would listen. After several hours, he returned home, hoping that his younger brother had found his way back. He knew in his heart that he wouldn’t be there. He was greeted by the terrified looks of his mother, father, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. They saw he was alone. Shrieks and cries poured from their hearts.
“No,” he thought to himself, “this isn’t right.” The image of his mother’s fallen face and father’s despair would forever be implanted in his mind.
He started to run, as fast as he could. He had to find him. Pushing through thousands of people, he begged, pleaded with God with anyone that could offer him a miracle. It had been hours, it was now a new day.
It was then he saw a little boy, kicked off to the side of the street, covered in blood. He ran to him. He lifted his face in his hands, and sure enough it was his brother.
He wiped away the dirt off his face and kissed his forehead. The 10 year old boy who had just wanted to watch history unfold with his big brother, opened his eyes.
Sweet Dreams World.