Tahrir Documents: A Guide

The following is a sample of some of the documents we have collected from Tahrir Square, translated, and published in English alongside the Arabic originals. They are arranged here alphabetically by title and linked to the full-length translated document, along with a PDF of the original, on our website. We’ve also provided a short excerpt from each document to give readers an idea of the general purpose and content of each piece of printed material. These documents offer a cross-section of Egyptian political writing, and are only a fraction of what can be found in our archive, which grows larger every day.


25th of January Pact (Poem) 

“Lift up your heads, for you are Egyptian

You are now streaming live on television.

The whole world is watching us

And how we carry out the revolution, the broom is now in our hands.

They thought we were the generation of ‘The New Look’

But now the whole world sees we are the generation of Facebook.”


‘Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves 

“Listen, oh people, to my words:

Hang the pharaoh—and live in peace.”


Beware of Sectarian Strife 

“The Revolution began, and has not finished, and the houses of worship that have been destroyed, and all the sedition that has occurred, all of these are biased actions undertaken by the supporters of tyranny and the agents of the regime, along with State Security forces.”


Call for the Foundation of an Egyptian Council for Relief 

“The Egyptian Council for Relief is a popular charitable organization… [whose] primary goal is the protection, rescue, and relief of Egyptians wherever they may be, whether in Egypt or abroad… Currently the highest priority is to save more than a million Egyptians stuck at the Libyan-Tunisian border without shelter, food, water or medicine, which poses an imminent disaster for them, their relatives, and all of Egypt.”


The Call of Al-Aqsa: We Will Meet in Jerusalem 

[Handwritten notes:]

“80 million people are waiting for the day of the final crossing to liberate Palestine

80 million wait patiently at your borders

They light your candles

And rejoice at your return…”


Coalition of Youth Revolution: Invitation to Save the Revolution Friday 

“Yes, we will build and continue to build, but without speedy, resolute purification and trying the heads of corruption, our effort will have been in vain.

Yes, we will build and continue to build, but building won’t make us forget the demands of the revolution that have not yet been fulfilled.

So let’s stand together on ‘Save the Revolution Friday,’ April 1, 2011 in Tahrir Square, so that the revolution is not stolen from us before our eyes.”



“Muhammad Yasin maintains relations with thugs from Alexandria, and he is in communication with these same thugs who are planning to steal cars and sell them. Yasin is the man who attacked the Christians at the Radio and Television Building, and he works in Intelligence at the Ma’adi department under the supervision of General Muhammad Yas.”


Culture of the Revolution 

“Maybe you will agree with me that the essence of revolution is an upheaval in concepts and ideas and its resultant change in circumstances, methods, programs, policies, plans, styles, and ways.  All of this is in turn reflected in the individual and society.  If an upheaval in concepts and ideas is not realized, then the revolution will not reach its desired goal, despite its overthrow of the former regime…  Consequently, the matter of the revolution becomes limited to the substitution of one person with another, or the changing of some laws.  However, as an escape from this dilemma and a means of securing the final success of the revolution, what if we proposed new revolutionary ideas for the revolutionary vanguard to adopt and learn from and for the great multitude of this ancient people to rally around?”


Egyptian Socialist Party, Labor Day Document 

“Labor protests have taken place since the end of 2006, which were the real foreground to union freedom. It came about in the formation of the real estate tax union and the pension union which were forerunners to the revolution of January 25th. Likewise, the birth of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Unions came from within the heart of Tahrir Square. This reflected the precedence of the workers of Egypt in defending the freedom of unionization as a primary part of the movement of the Egyptian revolution. Since the fall of the head of the regime it has continued into a movement to shape the independent unions and deposit its’ papers in the Ministry of Labor as a step on the way to restoring the freedom to unionize in Egypt. The freedom to unionize is the heart of political freedoms.


Final Communique of the Shura Council of the Society of the Muslim Brothers 

“The Shura Council of the Society of Muslim Brothers convened in an atmosphere of brotherhood, love, and a prevailing sentiment praising God for His blessing and bounty, during the Friday and Saturday 26th/27th of Jumada I, corresponding to the 29th/30th of April 2011 at the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.  His Eminence the General Guide… praised the revolution of the blessed Egyptian people and urged the safeguarding of its vitality and momentum and the preservation of its goals… He also hailed the souls of the martyrs who gave their lives on behalf of God and His religion for the sake of liberating the nation… He lauded the role of the armed forces in preserving the revolution… He also commended the government’s decision to open the Rafah crossing, its contribution to the Palestinian national interest, and the revival of national interest in the Palestinian issue by all Arabs and Muslims.”


Gamal ‘Abd al-Muhsin: “Medical and Scientific Circles will be Amazed with My Ways” 

“The people’s pain is intensifying and their sicknesses are becoming more potent. Medicine for disease is becoming a difficult issue, both economically and medically. The lord, the glorious and almighty, blessed me with a simple and effective way to treat the majority of incurable illnesses and to reduce the amount of bone pain… This simple and effective cure happens in a time period no less than five minutes and no more than 8 minutes.”


Get to Know the Captive Shaykh ‘Umar ‘Abd al-Rahman 

“To every proud, free man from among the sensible and the distinguished, and to everyone who has mercy and humanity in his heart and stands up for human rights, get up and join us in the campaign to free Dr. ‘Umar ‘Abd Al-Rahman and demand that the Military Council intervene to release him.”


Gurnal (Newspaper) Page 10: Mu’ammar “I’m delivering an address to an empty square” Gaddafi 

“Mu’ammar Gaddafi is the leader of the Great Libyan Revolution, President of the Great Libyan-Arab Communist Masses, and King of the Kings of Africa, so what would he do if he were just a general? What’s so great about him is that every time he opens his mouth he proves that he couldn’t even be the official speaker for an elementary-school class. He used to say that the English writer William Shakespeare was of Arab descent and that his name was Shaykh Zubayr. When he was defining democracy, he said that the Arabic origin of the word was ‘dimu al-kirasi’ meaning that the rulers would remain (‘idumun’) in their seats (‘al-kirasi’).”


Is it True?  State Security’s been Dissolved?  (Poem) 

“Really? State Security’s been dissolved?????!!!

Listen everyone, I don’t believe it

Does this mean I’ll sleep comfortably, unworried

Do you remember, my friend, when we were standing at the train station

And someone holding a misbaha looked us up and down

And after he left someone else showed up

(Egging us on) Where’s your identity card?

Here, Sir

And before we could take it out

Come here, come here


State Security, five minutes

And we stayed for a week”


Letter from Shaykh Ahmad Sa’id 

“Oh sons of Egypt the protected, it is no shame for men to live under the rule of any leader, even if he is an enemy of the Merciful. It is, however, a disgrace to follow the ruler’s deviations and stray from the religion of the Merciful.

Oh sons of Egypt the protected, God’s prophet Yusuf was under the rule of the Egyptian King Akhenatun, and Mu’min was under the rule of the Pharaohs, but they were some of the best of the believers among God’s servants.”


The Liberation of Cairo is Not Complete without the Liberation of Jerusalem 

“Egyptians and Palestinians have long promoted the slogan “the liberation of Jerusalem begins with the liberation of Cairo.” We have long believed that the path to the liberation of Jerusalem depends on the Egyptian populace rising up to break their shackles and liberate themselves from the oppressive regime that supports the Zionist entity.”


National Archives: Commission for Documenting the January 25th Revolution 

“The Commission for Documenting the January 25th Revolution is calling for volunteers from those who teach the humanities, those who are experienced, and those who are interested in recording oral heritage to participate in a project of collecting oral testimony from the public about the Revolution.  The goal is to to preserve these testimonials as historical evidence and then offer them immediately to the public and researchers on the internet and through various other media.”


Principles of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party

Human Rights: Guaranteeing full political, civil, economic, social, and cultural rights; respecting personal freedom and the rights of women; achieving humane development, creating more opportunities to achieve a better life and more diverse choices for all, releasing people’s full creative and productive energy.

Citizenship: Established on the basis of a modern, civil, state wherein all citizens enjoy equality of rights and duties, regardless of sex, color, religion, ethnicity, wealth, social class, or political affiliations.

Democracy: Democracy is the power of the people that guarantees the ability of the people’s representatives and public opinion to oversee and hold accountable the government and its leaders with complete transparency, along with the right to form political parties.  Democracy means that the basis of the state is law, respect for the rights of political minorities, implementing the principle of the transfer of power, and the separation of powers.”


Return of Treachery: a dialogue

A young man awakens from sleep in a state of terror, his mother at his side.

Young man: I seek God’s refuge from Satan the accursed; I seek God’s refuge from Satan the accursed.

Mother: Goodness Gracious!! What’s wrong, son? You’ve had a lot of dreams these days.

She hurries handing him  a cup of water. The son drinks then collects himself, says:

That was no dream, Ma, that was a nightmare.

Mother: What nightmare, son? Lord have mercy!!

Son: Ma, I saw that thief Son of Mabruka the Miracle-Worker after the big judge gave him a chance and he hid his money and destroyed the evidence. He got off innocent.

Mother: Innocent!! Innocent how, after all that??

Son: I dunno, Ma, that’s what I saw.


Revolutionary Egypt

Volumes 1-6 of this very well-organized and well-written newspaper, published by the Popular Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.


Foundational Announcement of the Popular Committees for the Defense of the Revolution

“During the darkest days of the revolution, the time of the attacks from gangs of thugs and the organized withdrawal of the police, the Popular Committees were born.  They were formed spontaneously and automatically, assuredly united together—and originating from—the Egyptian people who insisted, courageously, on standing against intimidation, robbery, and organized killing.  These Committees, which were the safety valve for society and a method of protecting and advancing the revolution, were formed firmly, with all bravery, against the ruling regime of gangs.  Hold on, for our civilization is not just words in history books, but also struggle and steadfastness in the face of killing and the robbery of the daily bread and property of the people.”


Salute to the Martyrs of January 25th and to the Military and the Police 

“Beware of Strife!!!!!!!!!
Muslims + Christians = Egypt

We welcome the return of the honorable men of the police.”


Save Egyptian Families 

Our goals:

  1. Guaranteeing our sons’ right to a good upbringing and to go out into the world unimpaired and fit in with their peers, and teaching them about their roots and their religion.
  2. Rescuing the Egyptian family from Suzanne’s laws and her agents (the National Council for Women) that destroyed the Egyptian family.
  3. Reconnecting the Egyptian family after its separation and the end of the division between children of divorce and their families and loved ones on the paternal side.
  4. Allowing fathers’ supervision over the upbringing of their children at all ages and phases, including the nursery period.
  5. Working to close the gap between fathers and mothers for benefit of children.


Signs from Tahrir: “We Need a Miracle” 

“We are in need of a miracle at a time when there are no miracles, because the national economy is truly in dire straits.  Everything has been stolen from us; the country is sinking in an ocean of problems, not within sight of the shore. The people are the sailor that could take the wheel, saving the nation before it drowns, leading it to the shore of safety.”


Start with Yourself First 

  • I will not pay bribes to traffic officers again, or to the government bureaucracy
  • I will not throw my trash on the street
  • I will not harass girls or even flirt with them

Tahrir Fashion, Discount Prices 

” ‘Ala’ fashion is, as usual, a starting point for cheering up Egyptians in our beloved Egypt. Its shops are located at 199 Tahrir Street, and its surprise is smashing prices.”


A Tomorrow without Landmines 

Campaign Goal: A lasting and final solution to the problem of landmines on the northern coast that grants us the ability to make use of the region’s resources.

“Number of mines planted: more than 17 million

“Mined Area: 500 square kilometers on the northern coast and extending down into the country a distance of 400 square kilometers until the Siwa Oasis, for a grand total of 262,000 square kilometers or 22% of Egypt’s total area.

The Human Losses: 696 Egyptians killed, 7,617 Egyptians injured”


An Untitled Demand of the Egyptian People: Run for President, ‘Amr al-Laythi 

“The Egyptian people demand that ‘Amr al-Laythi present himself as a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic. He is a courageous intellectual with popularity among the people of Egypt.”


Urgent Announcement from the Protesters in the Tahrir Sit-in 

“We are those sitting-in at Tahrir square who have been exposed to successive waves of violent attacks ever since February 26, 2011. These included suppression of the participants in Tahrir Square by groups of thugs bearing knives, Molotov cocktails, sticks, and clubs. They used all of these to attack the sit-in participants in order to reign in the Egyptian revolution that called for freedom, dignity, and social justice and in order to prevent the realization of its goals.”


What if We Choose Islam? 

“My honorable brothers: When the revolution took place in our country, I looked at the slogans that the youth and others raised, most of which were: justice–security—combating corruption—equality—economic reform—freedom— and they ranged to many other great and true slogans besides these. When I examined them, I saw that all these slogans are from the great qualities that Islam, that is, our religion, calls for and urges.

Indeed, my brother, don’t be surprised by this. The bases for political reform in Islam are “Counsel—Justice—Freedom—Equality.” This, by God, is Islam…This is God’s law and His path…This is God’s religion.”


Why a Sit-in at Tahrir Square? 

“Questions Which Have Been Directed at Us
and the Response to Them

• Why are you sitting here?

Well we are staging a sit-in in order to effect our demands. Sit-ins are a guaranteed legal right in every constitution in the world and an inalienable human right as part of freedom of expression

• How long?

Until the status of this country is improved and our demands are met”


Yes or No to Constitutional Amendments? 

“These People Said No: 
Advocate ‘Amr Khalid
Dr. Ahmad Kamal Abu al-Magd
Consultant Hisham al-Bastawisi
Consultant Zakaria ‘Abd al-’Aziz
Dr. ‘Amr Hamzawi
Dr. Mohamed Elbaradei
Naguib Sawiris
Mr. ‘Amr Musa
Advocate Mu’izz Mas’ud
The Judges’ Association
Coalition of Revolutionary Youth
Families of the Freedom Martyrs

These people said yes: The Muslim Brotherhood, the Remains of the National Democratic Party”




An Introduction to Tahrir Documents

A man sits with signs in tahrir square

Fueled by mass participation across disparate demographics, and by excitement over Tunisia’s recent uprising, the January 25th protests in Egypt unexpectedly transformed into a revolution. International news sources described this transformation as one made possible only through the use of new social networking media, and so the events of late January and early February were variously branded “Revolution 2.0,” the “Facebook Revolution,” the “Twitter Revolution,” etc. Yet so many acclamations of new social media and its liberatory potential overlooked the persistence of print in the revolution and its aftermath, from the earliest protests up through present efforts at political mobilization. Tahrir Documents is an attempt to address this other, less-examined element in the remaking of political life in Egypt.

Tahrir Documents collects printed matter from Cairo’s Tahrir Square and its environs. Since the first week of March, volunteers in Cairo have gone to the square, usually on Fridays, to gather documents distributed at protests and rallies. The archive continues to grow as new groups emerge, rallies continue, and the production of printed material keeps pace. We also accept scanned or  photographed submissions sent in by individuals not directly involved in the project, such as friends in Alexandria documenting the appearance of printed material there. On one particular Friday, editors who went to Tahrir Square decided not only to collect printed documents, but also to take photographs of the many poems and signs on display. These photos then became “documents” of their own on our website.

Our editorial board is made up of four people, all of us students of Arabic who came into contact in various ways, whether as colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania or while living in Cairo. Initially, we assembled a group of volunteer translators from among our personal contacts, academic or otherwise, who then suggested colleagues of their own whom they thought might be interested in participating. Eventually, we put together a group of over seventy translators, who continue to contribute their work as time and personal interest allows. Translations, once submitted, are then sent on to our reviewers, who check for both accuracy and English style. The editors then post the reviewed translations online alongside PDF’s of the original documents. The project is not affiliated with the documents’ authors nor with any political organization, Egyptian or otherwise. We also have no institutional affiliation. Our goal has been to disseminate political conversations more articulate and more developed than those possible in tweets or Facebook wall posts, yet which remain overlooked amidst the press’ rapturous and uncritical celebration of new social media. We are also concerned with the establishment of a permanent reference for the revolution’s participants and researchers alike.

As the political situation in Egypt changes, so does the project. We initially translated tactical pamphlets (such as the now-famous “How to Revolt,” a translation of which was first published in the Atlantic), lists of demands leveled at Hosni Mubarak and his regime, and explanations of the motivations behind the popular uprising. Yet single-minded and unified opposition to the previous regime have now given way to the more fractious work of re-assembling Egyptian politics, and we are now encountering a wild proliferation of genres, subjects, and styles. Recent translations have included new parties’ manifestoes, statements on sectarian strife, and calls for solidarity with Palestine and Libya in addition to poems, plays, and even personal rants and admonitions regarding moral conduct. Lists of demands have not disappeared entirely, but have multiplied and diversified as new groups develop. Whatever papers appear in Tahrir and its environs are collected and translated, regardless of source, content, authorship, or even quality. We hope that the collection, however limited,  provides a point of entry into the kinds of serious political thought and action now underway throughout Egypt.

The documents selected for reproduction at Occupy Everything offer a cross-section of Egyptian political writing. In addition to the types of texts mentioned above, these documents place great emphasis on Tahrir Square’s “martyrs,” the brutality of the security apparatus, and the importance of religion and family values in Egypt. Yet because our archive is not limited to purely political writings, we have also selected some of the more eccentric documents found in Tahrir, such as a fashion price list/housing advertisement, a homeopathic solution for sectarian strife, and a “complaint” accusing a specific individual of having relations with thugs, stealing cars, and stalking women. While these documents are not necessarily at the heart of the project, they nevertheless give a glimpse of the kind of diversity we have seen and continue to see. Where more explicitly political writing is concerned, we have included issues of such revolutionary newspapers as “Revolutionary Egypt” (Misr al-thawriyya) and “Gurnal.” These publications, and especially “Revolutionary Egypt,” which is published by the Popular Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (groups formed across Cairo and elsewhere in early February 2011), provide some of the more eloquent expressions of grievances with the former regime, demands for change, and propositions for a democratic future. Though the views they express certainly do not represent the opinions of all sectors of revolutionary thought in Egypt, they nevertheless provide some of the revolution’s most cogent writing.

As of this writing, we have posted translations of nearly two hundred documents, together with the originals in PDF or JPG form on our website. Although not active during the early days of the protests, we have worked hard to collect documents from that period, and will continue our efforts at least through September’s parliamentary elections, the first of the post-revolutionary period. We expect to eventually archive some five hundred documents and their translations.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with Tahrir Documents, please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter @TahrirDocuments for updates regarding newly posted translations.