Nicholas Kristof isn’t necessarily my favorite person to turn to in times of major human rights crises, but:

Mr. Mubarak has disgraced the twilight of his presidency. His government appears to have unleashed a brutal crackdown — hunting down human rights activists, journalists and, of course, demonstrators themselves, all while trying to block citizens from Tahrir Square. As I arrived near the square in the morning, I encountered a line of Mr. Mubarak’s goons carrying wooden clubs with nails embedded in them. That did not seem an opportune place to step out of a taxi, so I found a back way in.

So did many, many others. At Tahrir Square’s field hospital (a mosque in normal times), 150 doctors have volunteered their services, despite the risk to themselves. Maged, a 64-year-old doctor who relies upon a cane to walk, told me that he hadn’t been previously involved in the protests, but that when he heard about the government’s assault on peaceful pro-democracy protesters, something snapped.

So early Thursday morning, he prepared a will and then drove 125 miles to Tahrir Square to volunteer to treat the injured. “I don’t care if I don’t go back,” he told me. “I decided I had to be part of this.”

“If I die,” he added, “this is for my country.”

He knows how to get those anecdotes. And, damn. It’s beautiful, these small scenes, in the face of such ugliness and oppression.

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7 comments for “Quotations

  1. Kristin
    February 4, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Kristof really has been doing a wonderful job of reporting from Cairo, though. If you “like” him on Facebook, you get consistent updates from him (and notifications of new blog posts).

  2. February 4, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Oh, my lord. That story is beautiful.

  3. William
    February 4, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Fancy that, someone dying for their country, in their country, in service to their community and without oppressing anyone else. Its almost like someones been lying to us all these years about what patriotism means and how Those People™ think…

  4. Kristin
    February 5, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Today in amazing journalism… Anderson Cooper just did a beautiful photo montage in which he kept repeating, “Fear has been defeated. There’s no turning back.” Maybe it’s just because I don’t usually watch TV news, but wow… Anderson has been amazing in Egypt. And there was quite a lot of artistry in what I just watched him do… Wish the video was already up online.

  5. Kristin
    February 5, 2011 at 10:15 am
  6. lalouve
    February 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    “Mr. Mubarak has disgraced the twilight of his presidency”
    It is not clear to me how you can possible disgrace a ‘presidency’ which has consisted of 30 years’ dictatorship any further. It was disgraceful from the beginning.

  7. February 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    the egyptians are people who know how to fight a battle. no quarter. write a will and do what has to be done.

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