Monday, April 18, 2011
The Egyptian filmmaker talks about putting down his camera to join the protesters in Tahrir Square.
"Six years ago, Wael Omar's short documentary film, State of Emergency, presented a firsthand account of the state of fear, systemic police brutality and torture that prevailed during the 2005 Egyptian presidential election. When on January 25, Omar went down to Cairo's Tahrir Square with thousands of Egyptian pro-democracy protesters, he expected to do what had always come naturally to him - make a film. Three days later, however, he put down his camera to fight alongside his people, transitioning from director to citizen journalist.
What is the mood like in Cairo now?
It's crazy, also dynamic, anxious, and full of surprises. There is a fatigue, I won't lie, and a high frustration also. So I guess it depends on what kind of a person you are to either appreciate this or miss the false security of our former dictator. But it's certainly a new Egypt - you can feel it. With all the good and bad, there's something very new and I think it's a positive thing overall. The quicker people understand that, the more they're able to deal with all the changes and transitions they need to make in their lives. We had institutionalised corruption, institutionalised cronyism, institutionalised social injustice, over-stratification, a virtual caste system. So it's more than a political revolution, this is a cultural revolution."