Think Egypt

The child: Ahmed Isam


Ahmed Isam — cheek scraped, eyes big and round — is standing with men, throwing stones at pro-government forces who, after nightfall, have attempted to seize Tahrir Square.

Ahmed is 12 years old. He doesn’t know where the stones go. He just throws and throws, aiming at those who want to keep Mubarak in power and take back the square.

“I was fighting with them,” he says, as a group of men chuckle and rub him on the head.

For Ahmed, who stopped going to school in Grade 4, life in Egypt is not good.

“It’s as simple as that,” he says. “Because Mubarak ruined everything, I don’t have any money. I don’t get an education.”

His father works in the country’s beloved military. His mother stays home in their flat in Imbaba, a poor neighbourhood on Cairo’s west bank. Neither knew he had made his way to the square, where he has been sleeping for two nights, alone. They aren’t worried about him, he says.

Ahmed dreams of owning a car and having a nice job. He hopes Egypt becomes a good country.

“Like it was before. Like people tell me.”

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