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Egypt

After the Revolution

The Egyptian revolution came to somewhat of an end two months ago. But that is not to say the demonstrations in Tahrir have ended. Chants filled the square as thousands gathered today, calling for the prosecution of Mubarak and those around him.

The air was festive, milling through a crowd of face-painted children, as colourful placards mingled with Egyptian flags.

But I would wake in the morning to the sound of gunshots. I had become used to the calm of Egypt following my time in Libya. I must have been mistaken, it must have been something else.

As I drove through the early-morning, deserted streets of Cairo to the bus-station, ready for my trip back to the Libyan revolution, I was oblivious to what had happened in Tahrir.

It wasn’t until I was sat in a hotel in Tobruk, having crossed into Libya, that I would learn what had happened. The army had fired shots as they tried to clear the square of protestors. This could be the turning point to the current popularity of military-held power in the country. “Many feel that the army are no longer serving the public interest” says a journalist on Al-Jazeera.

Sandstorm at the border

Chadian men walk through a sandstorm that engulfed the region around the Egyptian border near Sallum on March 31, where an estimated 2500 people are still stranded, having fled the Libyan revolution. Many of those at the border are sleeping outside under blankets and make-shift shelters, the Egyptian authorities refusing to allow even any semi-permanent structures, such as tents. 

 For me, this would be my final day working at the border. This last trip would cost me my left eye for a few days. An infection would seal it shut for a week. But I had an out. A comfortable bed in Khartoum, and then Cairo. Clean water and time for repose. For the thousands stranded at the border, right now, there is no end in sight. And no sign of an end to the fighting raging in Libya.

Chadian men walk through a sandstorm that engulfed the region around the Egyptian border near Sallum on March 31, where an estimated 2500 people are still stranded, having fled the Libyan revolution. Many of those at the border are sleeping outside under blankets and make-shift shelters, the Egyptian authorities refusing to allow even any semi-permanent structures, such as tents.

For me, this would be my final day working at the border. This last trip would cost me my left eye for a few days. An infection would seal it shut for a week. But I had an out. A comfortable bed in Khartoum, and then Cairo. Clean water and time for repose. For the thousands stranded at the border, right now, there is no end in sight. And no sign of an end to the fighting raging in Libya.

Chadian Refugees

A group of Chadian men queue at the Egyptian border at Sallum having fled the escalating conflict in Libya. These men had left their country to find work and stability in their northern neighbour, but now find themselves stranded at the border without any proper accommodation. They are waiting to regularise their papers in order to be able to return home to Chad. In the meantime, cardboard roofs offer their only shelter.

A group of Chadian men queue at the Egyptian border at Sallum having fled the escalating conflict in Libya. These men had left their country to find work and stability in their northern neighbour, but now find themselves stranded at the border without any proper accommodation. They are waiting to regularise their papers in order to be able to return home to Chad. In the meantime, cardboard roofs offer their only shelter.

"They came from nowhere"

His hands covered in thick bandages, an eye glassed over and with puss oozing from the peeling skin on his severely burned head, Mohamed el-Mahdi looks the ...

Living in Fear

Living in fear 

 The vast majority of Libyans that one meets in the east of Libya, or fleeing across to Egypt, are adamantly anti-Qaddafi. But that’s not to say they don’t have an intrinsic respect for him and his apparatus, albeit one born of fear. 

 This man, wishing only to be described as “Gh.B.” was incredibly paranoid about speaking to us, for fear of retribution by the Libyan security services. “They can know you based on just a small part of your body, or your voice” he says. Whilst he said this, I adjusted the focus on my lens, rendering his silhouette out of focus to as not to provide a detailed profile as he sat in the apartment being lent to him in Marsa Matrouh. Two days previously, he was reluctant about having even his  shadow  photographed. 

 Gh.B. has reason to fear the Libyan security. He claims to already have a “political file” in the country and having suffered imprisonment. Despite being “under surveillance”, he decided to take part in the protests that marked the start of the Libyan revolution. But due to what he describes as “political intimidation”, he had to take the hard decision of leaving behind Libya, and his family there. “I asked my mother to leave with me” he says, talking of the day he left, “but she is old, and could not travel such long distances”. She is now staying with Gh.B.’s brother. 

 “I am so worried about my family - I can’t call them, we cannot communicate” he says. His fear is born of both the war, and of the Qaddafi agents remaining in Benghazi. 

 Unsure of when he will be able to return to Libya, he says “I feel there is no future for us; it is so dark for us now”.

Living in fear

The vast majority of Libyans that one meets in the east of Libya, or fleeing across to Egypt, are adamantly anti-Qaddafi. But that’s not to say they don’t have an intrinsic respect for him and his apparatus, albeit one born of fear.

This man, wishing only to be described as “Gh.B.” was incredibly paranoid about speaking to us, for fear of retribution by the Libyan security services. “They can know you based on just a small part of your body, or your voice” he says. Whilst he said this, I adjusted the focus on my lens, rendering his silhouette out of focus to as not to provide a detailed profile as he sat in the apartment being lent to him in Marsa Matrouh. Two days previously, he was reluctant about having even his shadow photographed.

Gh.B. has reason to fear the Libyan security. He claims to already have a “political file” in the country and having suffered imprisonment. Despite being “under surveillance”, he decided to take part in the protests that marked the start of the Libyan revolution. But due to what he describes as “political intimidation”, he had to take the hard decision of leaving behind Libya, and his family there. “I asked my mother to leave with me” he says, talking of the day he left, “but she is old, and could not travel such long distances”. She is now staying with Gh.B.’s brother.

“I am so worried about my family - I can’t call them, we cannot communicate” he says. His fear is born of both the war, and of the Qaddafi agents remaining in Benghazi.

Unsure of when he will be able to return to Libya, he says “I feel there is no future for us; it is so dark for us now”.