“People here are not afraid anymore – and it just may be that a woman helped break that barrier of fear”, writes Mona El-Naggar in her February 01 NYT article Equal Rights Takes to the Barricades: “Asmaa Mahfouz was celebrating her 26th birthday on Tuesday among tens of thousands of Egyptians as they took to the streets, parting with old fears in a bid to end President Hosni Mubarak’s three decades of authoritarian, single-party rule.”
“As long as you say there is no hope, then there will be no hope, but if you go down and take a stance, then there will be hope”, Ms. Mahfouz said bluntly in an impassioned video posted on YouTube January 18. She spoke straight to the camera and held a sign saying she would go out and protest to try to bring down Mr. Mubarak’s regime, noted El-Naggar.
Asmaa “is a member of the April 6 Youth Movement, which has been using the Internet to organize protests against Egypt’s authoritarian government since 2008. As protests against President Mubarak continued to grow, the group called Monday for a ‘march of millions’ and an indefinite general strike. The next day, Mubarak announced he would not seek reelection at the end of his term in September.”, writes Eric Dolan at RawStory Feb 02, who also notes that “Mahfouz made the video after four Egyptian men set themselves on fire. The men were apparently inspired by the example of Tunisia, where a self-immolation triggered protests that eventually led to the ouster of the nation’s president.”
Although Asmaa spoke in her native Egyptian language in her video, an English subtitled version was later posted to YouTube Feb. 02, 2011 by Iyad El-Baghdadi, subbed by Ammara Alavi: