Crazy times call for crazy gestures, and Ayman Abouzaid has found himself playing an increasingly high-risk game of chicken with the Egyptian regime. The young cardiologist jumped out of his apolitical cocoon right into the roiling waters of revolution in January. When he wasn’t on call at the Qasr Ayni hospital, he spent his nights sleeping under the treads of Egyptian army tanks to prevent them moving into Tahrir Square.
That sentiment kept him on the streets for weeks then, and kept him shouting and railing about all the enduring injustices of his system, from the impunity still enjoyed by Hosni Mubarak’s coterie to the petty corruption that he says allowed supervisors at Qasr Ayni to falsify autopsy results on protesters murdered by the police.
Ayman Abouzaid’s rage might yet make him a bellwether of where Egypt’s revolution is headed now.
At 25, he had given up on a future in Egypt and was looking to continue his medical training in Germany. But the revolution watered anew his love for country. When I first met him, arrayed with a few dozen men beneath a tank by the Egyptian Museum, he was nearly euphoric. It was a few days before Mubarak acceded to people power and resigned, but Abouzaid already was convinced it would happen.
“The people here will only leave in two situations,” he told me. “When Hosni Mubarak and the National Democratic Party are judged and executed, or we all have to be dead.”