Amani Eltunsi: A Girl’s Wishes from Tahrir Square
When history is being created, a simple diary of someone who
witnessed the events first hand can provide some most interesting accounts.
Amani Eltunsi presents something that is fairly close to that in her new book A
Girl’s Wishes from Tahrir Square.
Day by day, Eltunsi describes what she saw and experienced.
Starting from January 21st when the protests consisted of nothing more than
a handful of people, to February 11th. From her point
of view, she retells what happened in between; the things she witnessed and the
people she saw being injured and killed before her very own
eyes. She also talks about the media, what they broadcasted and everyone’s
expectations and fears.
Eltunsi’s attitude is
clear in her words; it’s one that remained optimistic and relentless in continuing
the fight and going to Tahrir square every day. However, there are so many
spelling and grammatical mistakes, especially in the second half of the book,
that it’s quite off-putting and it keeps you from being absorbed in the stories.
She manages to compensate with her simple style of writing and storytelling,
Reading this book is like listening to a friend recounting
the events; the author writes in quite a colloquial manner, making the book
both relatable and a page-turner. It’s written in such a humble style that it
feels like she’s remembering these days out loud as discussion and not political opinion. It might have been more
attention-grabbing however if the writer has delved a bit deeper into the
emotional side of her stories as it felt a bit too descriptive in parts,
especially the parts when she wasn’t in the square.
Whether you look at
these characteristics as strengths or weaknesses, A Girl’s Wishes from
Tahrir Square is a light read about the revolution. It presents a
view that is broader than what was just happening in the square; Eltunsi tries
to communicate what the mood on the streets and in the homes of Cairo was like.
Though it might not be as analytical or spectacular as other books on the
revolution, it’s an effortless read that voices the thoughts of its author
clearly and concisely.