Published February 14, 2011
LONDON--While I watched back home in London the momentous events in Egypt last Friday, my Blackberry pinged.
The message seemed to sum up the whole story.
It started this way:
"Subject: It's done....
Dear Mr. Palkot,
While we have met before, I don't think that you know my name. I am the orthopedist that examined you in Al- Demerdash.
I hope that you are now in good health and that that terrible ordeal is history. Because tonight is a night for history......"
Following the attack on cameraman Olaf Wiig and myself, we were brought to the Al-Demerdash Hospital in Cairo where we were treated by doctors, including this man, Al-Moataz Bellah Youssef.
During our time there, the young man said little about the political upheaval but asked for my card with my e-mail address. Now I know why.
In the next passage he described his emotions surrounding the regime's fall and makes reference to January 25th, the first day of the uprising against the government:
"...I can't express my joy and ecstasy about what happened today. I wouldn't have imagined it. I was telling my mother yesterday (that is Thursday, when the rumors were flying that Mubarak will resign) that I expected someone to wake me up and tell me that we are still on the 24th of January.
After the 25th, Egypt never was and never will be the same. We are in a crossroads now, but we have come this far. I think we can clear any obstacle that gets in the way...."
At the hospital we were put under house arrest and then brought to the headquarters of the Secret Police for further "processing."
In the next paragraph, the doctor makes reference to this side of what he calls the "old Egypt":
"...You won't be seeing that old Egypt again. We will end the emergency law, the detention centers, the torture, the police thugs, everything...
Every bad thing that Mubarak did to dig his claws deeper into power will be undone. Just pray for us...."
While we had a taste of the bad people of the Mubarak regime, we met many more of the good people of Egypt, including this young man, who treated us with care and professionalism.
Here's how he closed his message to me:
"...I hope you can return soon.
I hope that I see you again in the new Egypt.
But not in a hospital this time!
Al-Moataz Bellah Youssef"
I hope so too, Moataz.