How the Incident During the 2011 Egyptian Revolution Has Impacted My Life

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The sense of fear and panic that ran through the air that evening still lingers inside me. My family and I were at my grandparents’ apartment for a nice soothing dinner on a cold and damp day. I recall being at my grandparents’ apartment so often throughout my childhood to the point where it felt like home more than our own apartment did. My memories of their place have always emanated a sense of warmth and comfort for me, but not this one.

We had just finished dinner and began to clean up. As always, my grandmother had given me the task of wiping down the dinner table while my brother, Mina, removed the dirty dishes and placed them in the kitchen. I energetically ran to the kitchen to grab a damp towel to complete my task when a sudden shock of what sounded like thunder stopped me in the middle of my tracks. I was not sure of what I had heard, but I did not give it much thought.

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When I went back out to the dining table, there was nothing but cold silence. In confusion, I looked up across the dining table and saw my brother frozen solid with fear. He was as pale as a ghost and his eyes were wide open and filled with tears. Behind him, I saw my father rushing to the balcony window and locking it as he looked out through it and onto the dark and foggy streets of Cairo, Egypt. He then closed the wooden shades and turned around allowing me to see his eyes which looked startled and panicked. My brother quickly held onto my father and began to sob in his arms.

At the time, I didn't quite understand why my father and brother behaved that way, but it was clear to me that something petrifying had happened. Gradually, over the years, as I looked back at my memories of that evening, I began to understand what had truly happened, and I realized how much of an impact that small event has had on my life.

The shocking sound that I had heard that evening was, in fact, a gunshot that was the result of a violent activity that took place less than a mile away from where we were at. That incident was just one out of many that were occurring throughout Egypt as part of a revolution, in 2011, to remove the president from the office.

Many people throughout the country felt extremely unsafe by this revolution, including my family. Some began to leave the country out of fear of what might happen to them and their families if they stayed. My family had never thought about leaving Egypt like others, however, after hearing that gunshot, things changed. Later that same year, my family and I ended up coming to the United States.

I still remember the moment my dad sat my brother and I down and said, with calming smiles, “we will be moving to America very soon.”

My brother said in confusion “why?? When?? but I don't want to leave all my friends!!”

Unlike my brother, I said in an excited voice “yayy I'm gonna go on a plane for the first time.” My brother gave me a strange look and just didn't care about going on a plane. I guess my brother was old enough to understand that moving would mean we have to leave everyone and everything behind, However, me being so young and innocent, the idea of discovering a new place filled me with joy and excitement.

At the time, for me, moving in to another country sounded just as easy as moving to another house down the road, quite simple right? However it didn't sound so easy done. It did not take me much time to realize how different it would be and what it truly meant to leave everything behind and come here. I asked many questions to myself. I can’t even speak english how will I communicate?, What if I don't make friends, what if people judge me for not knowing english, should I leave without telling my friends? No, I ended up telling them. The saddest moment of my life was saying goodbye to my friends and family in tears, I didn't know when I will be able to see them again.

Knowing that the events of that one small evening have had this much impact on my life was shocking to me. But it also allowed me to see that even the smallest things in life can have a huge impact, even if they might not seem like they would at the time.

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