Think 200 people is a big wedding? How about 200,000? That’s how many watched Dr. Ahmed Zafaan, a pharmacologist, and Ola Abdel Hamid, a graduate student in computer science, exchange vows in front of a Muslim cleric in Tahrir Square this past Sunday.
The two have been in Tahrir Square since January 28, where Zafaan has been volunteering medical services to injured protesters. They were engaged before the protests began, but instead of waiting for the riots to die down, they decided not to stall, figuring that their newfound community in Tahrir would be a greater loss than a traditional Egyptian wedding.
“I am worried because my parents could not come to attend the party, but happy that all Egyptians and Arabs witnessed my marriage and we both received blessings and congratulations from all over the world,” said Ahmed to Dubai-based newspaper Gulf News.
But this IS a family
“These protesters are family now,” he told Reuters. “We have lived, laughed and protested together in this square for the past weeks. Ola and I wanted to share our happiness with everyone.”
To Hamid, there just wasn’t a better wedding venue. “It was either we quit Tahrir to go and have our wedding in an isolated hall or hold a ceremony right here among out people protesting in the square,” she said. “We chose the latter… It was difficult for us to quit the square after we formed such tight bond of love and patriotism with millions of Egyptians.”
The wedding was also the couple’s statement for solidarity and dedicated persistence for change in Egypt. “Authorities want the world to think Tahrir is suspended in space and time while the rest of Cairo and Egypt is moving,” Ahmed explained. “Well, we are not at a standstill. We want the world to see we can continue to protest and go about our lives.”
A special wedding video
As the wedding was announced over speakers, flowers and sherbet were passed out throughout the crowd. News stations telecasted the ceremony, and a shortened clip has become a youtube hit:
Over the speakers, an activist declared, “These two have chosen to wed in front of millions of Egyptians fighting for freedom. May God bless your marriage.”
“I am very happy about tying the knot in this holy square which is witnessing the rebirth of our nation,” Hamid said. As Egypt embarks on a new future, so will this couple, and the parallels between the two is a story that will live on through children, grandchildren, and Egypt’s future generations.
Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera English via Flickr