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.