Exactly one year and one day ago, Mubarak was stepping down. In only 18 days had the Egyptian uprising succeeded in ousting the head of the country. Egyptian filmmaker Ramy Rizkallah was in the streets of Rehab City (in New Cairo) to record the bursts of excitement and joy erupting all over him. “Lift your head high, you’re an Egyptian,” they said.
At what time did you go to bed on February 11, 2011?
I edited the video after I came back and finished uploading it around 2:00 am. Then I kept watching the news and the reactions on Twitter and on TV until 3:00 and collapsed around that time.
What made you decide to shoot the film, was it planned? And how could you do it so quick after it happened ?
No, it was not planned. After hearing the news, I was too excited to stay at home and I wanted to share this joy with others. I took my wife and little daughter, who appears in the video, and grabbed my camera and a couple of lenses and started shooting. I am always fascinated about faces and different people, so I tried to document as much as I could, trying to make a story with the images.
Many people did video clips in tribute to the revolution with many images, music and slogans. Why did you choose to document this special moment in a sober way?
Well, at the time I was happy and knew that I was part of a historic moment, and deep down knew that I wanted to capture it. That is why we record images: to keep them forever. To keep how we felt at that moment and look back on it.
Do you remember what your thoughts and hopes were towards the revolution on the day after Mubarak’s departure?
Of course I was hopeful, and I still am. I was so proud, I have never been prouder to be an Egyptian ever. I felt different, like living in a utopia. I felt that my children would have a better future. Each time I watch this video I get some of these feelings back.
How do you feel about your country’s fate today?
The Egyptian revolution is a dream. It is the people’s dream that they pursued and they were willing to sacrifice even their lives to achieve it. I am hopeful, I have faith in people. I know we have a really long way to go, and I realise that there are a lot of sacrifices to give still. I am part of the No Military Trials for Civilians group (#nomiltrials) and do a lot of their videos. I have been fortunate to work closely with people who inspire me and give me hope. People who sacrifice a lot for this country.
I have doubts, I sometimes get really scared, but I try to stay human. I read the names of those who died and imagine if this was my son or daughter and I feel their parents’ pain and anger. I know deep inside that the revolution will succeed as long as we stay human, as long as we never look at people as statistics, as long as we are not ok with human rights violation. At this moment I am not sure about anything, and I cannot predict the future but these are the principles that I fall on.