In the heady days of 2011, Tahrir Square was a showcase for the best and the worst of Egyptian manhood. I saw protesters fighting and falling for the dreams of ‘freedom’, ‘justice’ and ‘dignity’ writ large in the graffiti that wallpapered their downtown battlefield.
I also watched men in black, with shiny visors and sturdy shields, strike back for the father of the nation and his authoritarian regime. When I was stumbling through the tear gas, it was a young man who showed me how to soak my scarf in Coca-Cola and wrap it around to protect my face.
On another occasion, I saw men ripping the clothes off a young woman they had cornered by a railing while, on the other side, a second group of men were beating them off, covering her up and trying to lift her to safety.