Photo Diary of my trip to Revolutionary Cairo so far

This is my first attempt at a photo-diary/essay. Comments and tips would be very much appreciated. People and NGO’s are free to use these photos so long as they credit me and link to this blog. Businesses need my express permission and will be expected to pay. A written post is coming soon.

Somewhere above NSW Australia

Out my window on the flight out of Syndey.

Tust playing with the camera here

It was a long flight....

Australian-Egyptian activist on his way home...

I met Omar at Changi airport in Singapore. This photo was taken at a bar in Dubai Airport during our wait for a connecting flight to Cairo. He was very excited to be flying home at this historic juncture.

I felt even worse than I looked...

Me, approaching the 24 hours on-planes-or-in-airport mark.

Beautiful and rugged country...

This beautiful landscape is, I'm pretty sure, part of Saudi Arabia, where dissent is brewing against the US backed dictatorial monarchy.

same as above, from a different window

More of the mountains of the Arabian Peninsula.

A billboard on the main highway from the airport.

An Egyptian internet provider attempts to cash in on the revolutionary spirit of the times.

 

Man on Motorbike on bridge over Nile

A presumably Egyptian man crossing the Nile on a motorbike.

 


Good tea, good times.
Omar Mostafa catches up with a dear old friend, and according to Omar, the best mechanic in Cairo.
just some friendly dudes
A bunch of Egyptian men who were curious about the foreigner, and very friendly. Soon after I took this photo I was the first time of many some apparently random dude would come up to me and start asking me, in a very hostile tone, who I was and what I was doing.
Grafiti outside "Hurriya" (freedom) Cafe
I snapped this graffiti outside a very chill cafe/bar not far from Tahrir that my old friend and flatmate Monty took me to on my first night in Cairo. I actually tried going there again yesterday, after fleeing Tahrir SQ. It was closed, another sign things are getting worse, before, inshallah, they get better.
torched cars outside Interior Ministry building
Egypt’s feared interior ministry was set ablaze. Some say by its enemies, some say by its former employees, to destroy the evidence of their crimes. State security offices across the country would later be stormed by protesters in an attempt to stop further destruction of evidence, and in the hope of finding political prisoners held within. Almost all the offices have been stormed but one in Cairo, which the army, and armed “civillians” (read regime paid thugs) drove protester away from with violence.
An Egyptian Man
Woah-oh-oh-oh he’s a workin’ class man.
Who's this guy?

I was at a protest by striking teachers (one of the many labour actions that have taken place across Egypt since the revolution began) and had the increasingly familiar, but still unnerving experience of being questioned in a very hostile manner by seemingly random dudes.

Incredibly underpaid Egyptian teachers

A 34 year old sociology graduate and teacher named Ammar holds up his contract. It states his pay is 110 Egyptian pounds ($18.60 US) a month with an annual Labour Day bonus of ten pounds ($1.69).

Outside the Ministry of Justice

A striking public servant (ministry of justice employee) holds up a sign saying "Salute to the Martyrs of the Revolution"

Yet another strike...

Striking workers outside the Ministry of Justice. While paid nearly ten times as much as the teachers striking round the corner, they still consider their pay unfairly low. Especially considering the healthy salaries of the politicians who command them.

This situation got nasty.

An Egyptian soldier brandishes his rifle in an attempt to disperse a spontaneous protest that erupted after the alleged murder of a minibus driver by a police officer over a road rage incident (see my post "Road Rage, Murder, Protest and Repression in New Maadi, Cairo" for more info).

A wish you were gone list.

Protesters in Tahrir Square hold up a newspaper showing eight dictators who have faced or will face insurrection from their people.

Two arab revolutionaries.

My old friend from Beirut, award winning film maker Montasser Bayoud, and his cousin Ali, at a friday protest in Tahrir

Cry later.

Young men celebrating their freedom, prematurely it would seem, in Tahrir square on Friday 16 February. That night the army sent in masked troops armed with tazers and batons. The high command of the army apologised the next day, but similar things have happened to protesters since on multiple occasions.

An Egyptian family  in Tahrir

I hope these kids were home by the time the violence started.

there was such a positive vibe

Another beautiful Egyptian family in Tahrir. Again, one can only hope they were safe.

That's alotta Muslims...

Egyptian men praying in Tahrir Square during a friday protest.

Montasser surveys the crowd at night

Monty looks back towards the crowd as we make our way home. Just after midnight the army would descend violently on the few hundred protesters who remained with the intention of staying over night.

no colour alterations here... just alotta red light.

An Egyptian protester lights up Tahrir Square by setting off a flare

Outside parliament building

This was a small protest held separately, at the Egyptian parliament, just outside Tahrir. It was run by a group of more hardcore protesters who were demanding the immediate removal of the then Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, a late in the game Mubarak appointee. Shafiq would go, but not before these protesters were cordoned off and brutally attacked.

Graffiti in Zamalek, Cairo

Graffiti outside the art school in Zamalek, the posh area of Cairo (an island on the Nile actually) where I have parked my bourgeoise arse.

More from the same wall as above.

A Banksy appropriation (I don't think it's an original, but you never know with that guy... maybe he was here... maybe he started the whole thing). This was also in Zamalek, just next to the piece displayed above.

Evidence?

A protester in Tahrir holds out bullets he says were fired at protesters by the army.

After taking Tahrir by force

On Wednesday the 9th of March protesters in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, were attacked by the army and men in civillian clothes, who many say are paid thugs. At least fifteen were injured (the actual total is definitely many more). The army and the thugs then destroyed the tent city that the protesters had been staying in. This is them proudly proclaiming their victory. While the army had used force against protesters many times since promising it wouldn't, seeing them work side by side with the hated "baltagiya", in the middle of the day, in Tahrir, was a turning point. Check out my previous post "Egyptian Army and Thugs clear Tahrir Square with force" for more details.

Taken while fleeing...

Another shot back towards Tahrir after we had been driven out along with the protesters. They pulled down everything but the flag.

Gotta love the long exposure.

I took this shot just after leaving Tahrir, from the balcony of a fellow journalists hotel room.

Whenever someone says "square" in the middle east, they mean round-about.

What I think was a group of pro-democracy activists discussing their options after being booted from Tahrir forcefully.

.

About Austin G. Mackell

I am a freelance journalist who has worked for a variety of corporate and community outlets from my hometown of Sydney and from the Middle East, including from Lebanon during Israels 2006 invasion and from Iran during the tumultuous presidential elections there in 2009. I have recently moved to Cairo to watch the revolutions in Arab world unfold.
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14 Responses to Photo Diary of my trip to Revolutionary Cairo so far

  1. Tokes says:

    Dude, there are some fantastic photos in here! Very fantastic photos! I don’t have much of a critique for you, except that your words could use a sub-edit, and possibly an edit for cohesion (if that’s what you’re going for). On the technical side of things, I think you could perhaps benefit from a Flickr account that you can keep these on. There are probably some widgets you can get for WordPress that let you embed a set of photos in a blog post (with descriptions). The advantage with Flickr is that you can upload the photos in a large resolution and they can be downloadable (if you so wish) at multiple sizes. (And maybe, if you’re concerned about rights to the photos, you could add a watermark to them?)
    Please keep up the photography and stay safe!

    • Cheers Tokatron, reckon u could email me any of those things that need sub-editing? there is no spell checker when you’re typing in captions (next time will copy and paste from open office!)

  2. Milly says:

    Hey Austin,

    These photos are very cool – which camera are you using? It was a really interesting read.

    • Hey Milly,

      Thanks. I’m using the Cannon 550D, mostly with the kit 18-55 lens. Had a longer one too, which i might have used in some of the early shots. It’s a great value camera for an entry level photographer like me. Get’s very noisy in low light (that’s mostly the lens, but also, I think, the Crop Sensor) but when u have the sun on your side it is incredible

      Also, shot in raw (CR2), tweaked in Lightroom.

  3. Kate says:

    These are beautiful photos Austin! And you were hanging with Omar! Awesome stuff.

  4. Sam says:

    Fantastic, Austin. Great choice of photos, nice balance of colour and b&w. You’re obviously starting to master that camera.

    I’d just second Tokes in saying you might benefit from a quick sub-edit. Also, If you managed to take some, more photos of the random aggressive dudes or thugs doing their thing would be illustrative. But I guess you’d have included them if you’d had more – obviously hard to take.

    Thanks for taking us all there.

    • Hey Sam, thanks for that. You guys are right about the sub edit… gunna go through and clean it up a little… was written during an all night battle with the wordpress back end… regarding the thugs at work, check out my previous post.

  5. jesse says:

    Hey austin
    great photos!
    heh heh, I agree about the editing … and as always, I’m happy to provide emergency editing help, as I have done before.
    Hope your pics get picked up by someone soon, if they haven’t already

    Jesse

  6. ansonxia says:

    Hello, My name is Anson Xia and I’m an international journalism student from the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. I’m currently working on a news feature about Egypt’s election for my school-based magazine-Orbis and looking for some good pictures. Can I use one of your pictures in this photostream with a credit of you?

    Thank you very much!

    ANSON XIA

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