Gawker editor-in-chief AJ Daulerio and ANIMAL editor Bucky Turco are currently in Cairo covering the protests. They know exactly what they're doing, of course, why would you even think otherwise? Watch this space for updates.
CAIRO, EGYPT— The hotel that Bucky booked for us in Cairo is very close to Tahrir Square. As our cab driver, Mehmedt, pulled up today he said he could not drop us off because it is not safe here. Approximately ten feet down from the hotel lobby, a growing crowd of about 20 young men were in the process of tearing a door off a delivery truck and climbing on top of it. One worked the hinges as the others yanked. Mehmedt attempted to go through the back route but by then a barbwire barrier had been constructed and was being watched over closely. From there, Mehmedt attempted to turn back into oncoming traffic but then there were so many people—angry young men, angry young mothers with laughing children, elderly street vendors lazily pushing cauldrons of hot food—coming towards us. Here, headlights are optional and every lane is a passing lane. As Mehmedt maneuvered, dozens of other cars frantically turned around into oncoming traffic. Some sort of loud noise had erupted and that tends to make most people run—even if they're the ones who caused it.
The movement underway in Tahrir Square this week is similar to Occupy Wall Street in its set up: there are tents, there are vendors, and there are a bunch of hangers-on there to rubberneck a revolution. But the participants here are also, for the most part, kids. The relative youth of the Occupy movement is pretty much AARP status compared to the uprising currently taking place a half-mile from our new, 'safer' hotel. You can read up on all the protests over at Ahram Online. Police officials told the paper they were not teargassing protestors, even though their reporters witnessed it firsthand. From our front-row seat we can confidently say there is plenty of tear gas. There are also fires and fireworks and rocks being thrown and banging against steel and indecipherable chanting and baseball bats being shaved into spears and 8-year-olds chainsmoking. This could could get ugly and more lawless than is standard for this part of the country but there is something weirdly inspiring about the way all these young people protest with such ferocity and recklessness. Even though it will eventually grow more deadly by the day, most of the townspeople over the age of 25 seem to carry a bemused, "Oh those kids," even as their days are disrupted by all the tanks and molotov cocktails.
So for now Bucky and I will do our best to give another vantage point to this international mess until the rest of the national media descends upon it when the city really starts to burn. Follow along with us if you want to. We're currently searching for a replacement camera, as Bucky had his pick-pocketed while he tried to push to the front of the protest line.
But the good news, America, is that I think we've stumbled upon the only place left on earth that has a stockpile of Twinkies. Who knew?