ACT lecturer Lara Baladi’s The Friday of Victory on Tahrir Square (2011) is one of the photographs selected by The Guardian for their feature “‘It felt like history itself’ – 48 protest photographs that changed the world.”
From the article:
“This was taken from my friend’s balcony,” recalls Egyptian-Lebanese photographer Lara Baladi. During the initial 18-day uprising in Egypt in 2011, when thousands gathered to protest against President Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian rule, the flat overlooking Tahrir Square became a meeting place for journalists and activists, “always filled with people working, texting, tweeting”.
Previously Baladi had been documenting the movement down below, but on 18 February, she wanted to see the view from above. It was the week after Mubarak had been toppled, “so that day was named the Friday of Victory. It was a beautiful sunny day,” she remembers. As she watched people in the square celebrate, two young men emerged next to her; they had just bought a massive bale of fabric at the textile market, “basically 100 metres of the Egyptian flag”. Taking hold of either side of the fabric, they threw it down. “In no time it unrolled all the way into the crowd. As soon as it reached the square, people caught it.” Minutes later it was stretched out and knotted to other pieces of fabric, and Baladi took the picture: “It all happened very fast.”
Looking back, for her, this photograph marks “a turning point in the uprising … the victory, the height of the revolution, before reality kicked in and the social divisions and nuances began to surface.”
The events of the last 10 years have confirmed for her that “change does not begin with the uprising. What happens before and after is just as important, if not more. Revolution is a continuous process.”