today, we are all Egyptians!

Dr. Nawal El Saadawi, a leading Arab feminist, with protesters in Tahrir Square.

ADDENDUM: scroll to the bottom

Innaharda, ehna kullina Misryeen!* Today, we are all Egyptians! writes Nicholas Kristof today from Cairo. All of us, that is, except for Obama; Obama still appears to be waiting for the revolution to be crushed.

I saw this CNN twitter Thursday morning while still lying in bed with my laptop on my chest:

[Update 4:07 p.m. in Cairo, 9:07 a.m. ET] "We are mindful of the violence that we're now seeing in the Middle East," President Barack Obama said Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. "We pray that the violence in Egypt will end, and that the rights and aspirations of the Egyptian people will be realized, and that a better day will dawn over Egypt and throughout the world."

What does he mean, "the violence"? And prayer is the answer? This was his statement the morning after peaceful protesters in Cairo and Alexandria were brutally attacked by forces unleashed, supplied and paid for by the Mubarak regime. No god is going to lift a finger for the Egyptians, and apparently neither is our president, except in prayer.

Then very late tonight (after 1 am in New York), as I sat at home feeling like I was in a scene from "War and Peace," awaiting the dawn and a battle which might change the world, I saw Kristof tweet this:

A video I did of undaunted courage in #Tahrir, not least that of women's leader N. Saadawi

I immediately went to the video link he had cited. It was a short interview with the legendary Egyptian human rights activist, feminist, psychologist, and former political prisoner, Dr. Nawal El Saadawi. I've transcribed their conversation here:

Kristof had encountered her in Tahrir Square today, Feb 3rd, and he tellis us that she is 80 years old, and out there every day.

Kristof: "Saadawi, tell us why you are here today."

Saasawi answers: "I am here because, I feel I am born again. It's a very spontaneous revolution, not related to the Left or the Right or the Muslim Brotherhood. As you see [turning around toward the crowd behind her], they are ordinary people, ordinary young students, women and men who've never known politics, so this is a real revolution."

Kristof continues: "It is striking that there are many women here in Tahrir, who are also pushing for more democracy. Do you think women are coming out of the margins of society to demand their case?" Saadawi answers; "Most of the women never came out of their houses [before]. Some of them are veiled, some of them with the niqab. They came out of the [the last word is indistinct, but accompanied by her cupping her hands and throwing them before her]."

[another camera cuts to the crowd chanting, "We will not leave until you leave!"]

Kristof's blog post, "Today, we are all Egyptians!," includes a description of this encounter, telling us that Saadawi plans to sleep in the square tonight. The New York TImes correspondent also shares some other experiences and impressions of his day in Cairo.

colloquial Egyptian (Masri Arabic)

ADDENDUM: If you're like me, now you just can't get enough of Saadawi. Amy Goodwin interviewed her a few days ago for Democracy Now!

[image from Nicholas D. Kristof/The New York Times]