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A former San Franciscan’s trip to Cairo

Samuel Vengrinovich, a former San Francisco State University student, sent us this video of his experiences visiting Cairo, Egypt, one week after dictator Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign by a popular, peaceful uprising.

From Vengrinovich, who currently lives in Israel:

“I get asked all the time why did I want to go to Tahrir Square? And I think, who wouldn’t? I’m sure there are millions of people around the world who would have loved to experience and witness what I saw. I made this documentary video to share that experience, to provide an opportunity for people who were less fortunate like me of being so close to Egypt, or daring enough like me to even go to Egypt, to experience the Egyptian revolution. I wanted to share what I saw, felt, and experienced. I wasn’t scared at all in Cairo. In fact, the minivan ride to Cairo was perhaps the scariest part of my trip. I could have sworn that a few times the driver was going to flip the minivan, as he was driving like a maniac around corners and turns. But I got used to his driving as we got closer to Cairo. In fact, I even edged him on a few times to go faster”

“Before my trip materialized, the Egyptian protests that were happening in Tahrir Square mesmerized me. I knew this was big. I was watching live footage morning and night, following the ebb and flow of the tug and pull between the regime and the people. I knew what they were going through in some ways. When I was 19 years old, I was at the WTO protests in Seattle dodging rubber bullets, tear gas, and armored carriers. I could relate.”

[snip]

“I witnessed the physical and emotional release of decades of pent up emotions by Egyptians under Mubarak’s authoritarian rule, their desire to guard and protect their revolution from being hijacked, and the sensitivity Egyptians displayed about their revolution being positively viewed by the international community.”

“I knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness a nation breathe democracy and freedom for the first time in their lives. I was so close, being here in Israel. I knew I had to get there.”

“I wanted to take the viewers on a journey, unlike the stale and often sometimes cold presentations major news networks display. I think I got some really cool shots. I was jumping into crowds, getting pushed and shoved, going under people, dodging cars and fireworks, to get some of the shots you see in the video. Before I got involved with politics, I was an artist, songwriter and musician. When I was filming and editing the video, I tried to do what I do when writing music—to make people experience through art, sound, and visuals the creative process of my mind. This time, it was experiencing the Egyptian revolution.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.