Egypt’s Tahrir Square and the birth of a nation
By Ahmed Tharwat, Star Tribune
Jan. 25 will mark the fifth anniversary of the Egyptian revolution that was sparked in Tunisia a few days earlier. This was the first time in history that millions of Egyptians marched into the street to claim their country back. No public place symbolized this revolution for dignity like Tahrir Square.
Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) is a major public focal point in downtown Cairo. It combines all of the contrasts of Egypt — from the Egyptian Museum to the Hilton Hotel — and is surrounded by elegant buildings that were styled as the Paris of the Nile. It also has the biggest public bus station, where thousands of Egyptians congregate every day on their way to work or returning home.
The square gained its prominence in the 19th century when another Mubarak — Ali Pasha — was commissioned by Egypt’s ruler at the time, Ismail Pasha, and charged with remodeling Cairo. And so it was named Ismailia Square. The square’s name was changed to Midan Tahrir (or Liberation Square) after the first Egyptian Revolution of 1952.
Ahmed Tharwat is host of the Arab-American TV show “Belahdan,” which airs Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Twin Cities Public Television. He blogs at Notes From America, on www.ahmediatv.com. Follow him on Twitter @AhmediaTV.
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