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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class — Holidays in Egypt Series at ArabicPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Egyptian holidays and observances. I’m John, and you're listening to Lesson 13, Revolution Day January 25. In Egyptian Arabic, it’s called [ ثَورِةْ ٢٥ يَنايِر (taūret 25 yanāyer)]
In this lesson, we are going to talk about an important day in the recent history of Egypt – January 25, 2011. On this day, the Egyptian people rose up and revolted against the regime or [النظام (ālneẓām)] that ruled Egypt for thirty years without any considerable development in the country.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question—
Do you know after how many days the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The popular revolution, which began on January 25, 2011, in Egypt was meant to protest against the lack of freedom, which in Arabic is called [ حرية (ḥurreyyah)], the state of emergency, increase of poverty, difficulty of finding job opportunities, police brutality, lack of housing, high cost of living, expensive prices of food, widespread corruption, lack of clean and free elections, lack of freedom of expression, and poor living conditions.
The origin of the Egyptian revolution was actually the Tunisian revolution, started the month before the Egyptian one. Many young people in Egypt organized through social media, or [مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي (mawāʾeʿ el-tawāṣul el-eǧtemāʿī)], processions and peaceful demonstrations on January 25. Later, there were a series of demonstrations in the streets, protests, and acts of civil disobedience. These were the biggest demonstrations seen in Egypt in over thirty years.
Finally, the long-lasting demonstrations forced the former president to step down and led to the overthrow of the corrupt regime. After 2011, January 25 became a public holiday in Egypt which is celebrated by Egyptians through the peaceful gathering of large groups of people in public squares, especially Tahrir Square, or [ ميدان التحرير (mīdān el-taḥrīr)], which became very famous after the revolution. Wooden theaters are often erected in public squares for bands that sing patriotic songs for the people who are celebrating the memory of their revolution.
Interestingly, one of the protests is named after camels, or [جمل (ǧamal)], as it is known as "battle of the camel." This happened when the pro-regime supporters tried to break up the demonstrations by sending people on camels and horses in order to scare the anti-government protesters and force them to go home!
And now I'll give you the answer to the earlier quiz.
Do you know after how many days the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down?
Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 11 after eighteen days of demonstrations, during which he delivered several speeches to the people in an attempt to calm the situation. But he failed and had to step down at the end.
So listeners, how was this lesson? Which historical date do you commemorate in your country? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see you next time! Bye! إلى اللقاء (ʾilā al-liqaāʾ)!