In Tahrir, the cacophony of creating Egypt’s future

The World

CAIRO — After Friday prayers in Tahrir Square Oct. 21, a small demonstration lurches into motion. As the scheduled speakers consult with their staffs, flags are hoisted, a P.A. system is rigged up, snack vendors and shoeshine men form a loose ring around the crowd, the mundane details of revolution attended to on a sunny afternoon in Cairo.

It doesn't take long for arguments to start rending the crowd. In every direction, people are shouting at each other to shut their mouths, arguing about Egypt's future, the continuing crisis in Syria and Gadaffi's death.

The main speaker at the demonstration was Sheikh Gamil Alan, a dean emeritus at Cairo's al-Azhar University, Islam's most prestigious theological institution. As he addresses the crowd, his microphone howls with feedback and distortion, an eerie sonic testament to the confusion and disharmony in the square. 

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