Tahrir Square's Godmother

One of the recognizable faces in Tahrir Square is that of Mama Khadiga, the courageous woman who became a mother to everyone in the Square. She first went to the Square on the 28th of February and she’s been spotted there a lot since then. She was beaten in front of the Parliament, the incident that made journalists and Military officers turn their heads to her, eager to know who that courageous middle aged woman who was beaten, yet still chanting for freedom, really is. We first met Mama Khadiga at the State Council on the 27th of December when she came to support Samira Ibrahim in her trial against the Military, and only a few days later we sat down with her for an interview.

Tell us about your journey and how you became known as ‘Mama Khadiga’.

I think I’ve been blessed with the quality of a mother because they felt motherly characteristics in me. When we were beaten and our tents were taken down, I told my children from the square that I live alone in a big house and that we should move our tents there. I have three sons but two of them are in England. The protesters from Tahrir were my children. On the 8th of April, the first time we saw officers and soldiers wearing masks, I truly believed that I was going to, thankfully, become a martyr. The beatings were very harsh. One day, I decided to turn myself in (to the the Military Intelligence) because I was being called a collaborator. When I went and told them my story, they were astonished and it went really nice as they just told me to go home. Of course I kept going back to visit my children until I was forbidden. Once, Major General ElFangary was there and he heard the officers asking for Mama Khadiga and he asked whose mother she is; they told him she’s our mother, all of us. He called me in and we chitchatted for a while and he asked me about my role in the Square. I told him that I’m a mother who takes care of her children. We’re a family in the Square and there must be a mother and a father and I was blessed enough to be the mother. I’m proud and satisfied of everything that I do even when I was beaten recently in front of the Parliament. I wish every mother would taste the beauty of what I do. I also wish that when I meet my martyrs in paradise, I can tell them that the country is a lot better.

To what extent are you satisfied with the outcome of the revolution so far?

The revolution didn’t accomplish anything yet. The main and pivotal outcome of the revolution is the fact that people aren’t afraid anymore. You’re free to talk and you’re free to disagree. Every person has a role and if everyone fulfills his or her role genuinely, God will reward us with a better Egypt.

How do you think the revolution affected women empowerment?

The revolution had an effect on everyone including women, men, children and youth. The revolution signifies freedom and God created us all free. It has definitely had a great impact on freedom. People can now breathe freedom and feel it in the air. I always tell my children, how come you are afraid of a man when we have God on our side?

What is your plan for the 25th of January 2012?

What I will do, and I’ve said that so many times before, is that if only one of my children goes to the Square, I’ll be there with them. At the end of the day, we’re all Egyptians and no one will be able to get between the Egyptian army and us because they all come from within our families. We just don’t want the Armed Forces because it is subservient to Hosni Mubarak’s regime.