Author/Artist: chromatic_coma @ animusia
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Egypt-centric (feat. Turkey and Greece
Warnings: potential fail!history, human names
Summary: Victory is sweetest when you've known defeat. a fic in honor of Egypt's (hetalia) birthday, in honor of the successful revolution in Egypt last month.
x-posted @ aphmediterraneo
All the attention in the room was focused upon the small television set perched atop a filing cabinet, the only audible sound that of the Al-Jazeera newsman reporting live from Tunisia. Hassan could feel the aura of tenseness and worry emanating from the other men in the room as their eyes were glued to the screen. All of the men, that was, except for one.
“Aren’t you worried, Mr. President?” One of the men, an underling in the workings of the Federal Government, old blood in an old regime, asked with a quaver in his voice. All at once the men turned from the television to see their boss’ expression and to hear his answer. Hassan took a sip of his tea, not even bothering to lift his gaze from the protest on the screen.
“Not a bit,” the President responded swiftly, finitely. “There is nothing to worry about, after all. Isn’t that right, Hassan?”
The embodiment of the Egyptian nation looked up, and ignored the gazes of the other politicians in the room. With his sharp amber eyes focused solely on his boss, the corner of his lip quirked up in a barely visibly smirk.
“Of course not,” he answered readily, taking another sip of his tea. “The best will always happen for Egypt.”
And President Hosni Mubarak looked smugly at his men, while Hassan hid his smile behind his teacup.
When Hassan woke up on the 25th of January, the first thing he did was open his computer. In the time it took for him to shower and set the water to boil, his old machine was whirring and humming and ready to go. So, he checked Facebook. His civilian account was all abuzz, with members of various revolutionary groups posting ‘Today’s the day!’ ‘Down with Mubarak!’ ‘Let’s do It!’. After some clicking around the buzz was now in him, and with an extra spark in his gait he got dressed for the day.
Black sweatpants, red shirt, comfortable trainers, and he shoved his old keffiyah far into the back of his closet, from where he produced a massive Egyptian flag. Hassan ran the cloth through his fingers, and in his bedroom he could hear the noises of the young men start to fill the streets.
Tugging his flag over his back and holding it tight, Hassan went down to join the boys, every whoop and cheer a jolt of energy through his body. He was ready.
It felt like pure electricity was jolting through every vein and coming out of every pore in his body. He felt raw, full of energy, young in a way he hadn’t felt for decades. Young like the men and women around him, his people, chanting for him, for them. For Egypt.
For the first time in a long time, Hassan felt the age he looked.
Amongst the protesters he stood, marching and chanting and rallying for supporters. He was so vocal it he was even surprising himself, his throat feeling raw from so much use after so little use for so long, but he was too exhilarated to even care.
He passed the first two days in Cairo, and they passed in the blink of an eye. The police forces were going after the men, who were trying to resist but who were also much less armed. Hassan was grateful for the foresight to have slipped a roll of bandages in his pocket at the start of the day.
“Oh man,” the boy laughed as Hassan blotted a napkin against his bleeding wound, the two of them taking cover behind a Coca Cola truck. “Do you see this? They’re scared of us!”
“You think so?” Hassan murmured calmly, wrapping the wound up tightly. Fortunately the bullet had only grazed his arm; the hospitals were starting to turn people away.
“Definitely! Lookit how many cops they’ve got going after us? They never sent out this many, they’re never so frantic! They’re overwhelmed because they know we’re not going down this time!”
Hassan wanted to laugh at his enthusiasm, which managed to lighten his heart even as they sounds of chaos rang around them. Every small gesture was doing that to him, now.
“So, you have hope?”
The man looked at him suddenly as though he had a second nose.
“What, aren’tchya Egyptian? Hope’s the only thing we’ve got, so we’ve got a shit ton of it!”
Hassan nodded, and the man thanked him for the bandage before picking up his sign and barreling back into the throng of freedom fighters.
That evening, after the sun had set and the people were coming out of the prayer, Hassan made his way to the train station. He managed to get a ticket for a train that was going in the middle of the night to Alexandria, and before the sun even rose the next morning he was sitting on the shore of the Mediterranean.
Like most nations, Hassan did not know how much faith he put by religion. He knew very well what his people believed, but having lived for so long and gone through so much, he struggled to wrap his mind around the concept of a divine. To him it was all stories, and how could he possibly ever know which story was right?
Still, there was a basic need in him that he rationalized must have been a basic tenant of human nature; the need for guidance. So he sat alongside the sea, the water occasionally lapping up to wet his toes, and stared off into the distance, water as far as the eye could see.
“Mama,” he whispered, speaking in her ancient language. “Help me protect the people of Egypt.”
A breeze rolled in with the waves, brushing over his skin, and Hassan’s eyes fell shut. A smile tugged at his lips, but it couldn’t last for long as someone called for him.
“Who goes there?!”
It was a police officer. Hassan waved, and the men ran up to him, giving him a once over.
“You’re an Egyptian? State your business. What are you doing here on the beach this early?”
“Watching the sun rise.”
The officer furrowed his eyebrows. “Well, you don’t seem to be armed. Stay out of trouble.”
There was a saying that went, “things always get worse before they get better.” Hassan knew that he should have expected it, should have prepared himself for the pain that comes with a revolution, and yet he got too caught up in the excitement to brace himself.
There was a mother, hugging her child tightly as they both cried. Her husband was shot and killed. There were men lined up in front of Red Crescent workers, splints and bandages and broken smiles all around. The streets of Tahrir Square were sopping wet, and there was a human wall protecting the museum where King Tutankhamen was resting.
There was chaos, nothing less. He no longer even had time to actually take part in the protest, because he was so concerned with helping in the medical tents and distributing food.
And then, when he turned around, the sight that greeted his eyes was unlike anything he’d seen in such a long time.
The people were cleaning up with streets. With brooms and buckets they were collecting the water that had been hosed onto them, and with nothing more than plastic bags they were collecting the trash that had plagued the streets of Cairo for decades. And, even more striking, they were united and they were impassioned.
Hassan realized then that hope might not be such a farfetched thing after all.
Two weeks passed. It was a tough two weeks; as time passed not only did Hassan have to avoid the violence that was breaking out more and more frequently, this time even between civilian forces, he also had to avoid the politics that was now dead set upon finding him and bringing him back to the government’s side. He had to endure as his people grew more and more disgruntled, more and more stubborn in response to their equally bull-headed President.
He found out when the people did, seeing it on the television screen inside a corner grocer’s store. The newly elected vice-President (and he had never had one of those before; already he was preparing to introduce himself to him) made the speech that would change the course of his life and nation forever.
“…President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic…”
Hassan could not remember ever hearing a more deafening cheer.
He was not exactly expecting company, but when Sadiq and Herakles showed up on his doorstep (the former pressing a
“So, finally got that monkey off yer back, huh?”
Hassan laughed, shutting the door behind them and gesturing to the couch. Sadiq looked at him incredulously and Herakles sniffled, which was probably as close as he was going to come to surprise when he was feeling so sick.
“Thank you for coming,” he said, opening the box of sweets and placing it in the center of the table. Predictably Sadiq took one, and Herakles threw him a glare.
“Of course we were going to come-“
“-Yeah, it’s not every day ya stick up fer yerself like this.”
For a moment, Hassan paused, mulling over his friend’s words. They unsettled him, for some reason, and it took a bit of thought for him to realize why.
“I didn’t do anything,” he spoke softly, unable to suppress the soft smile that tugged at his thin lips. “This is a victory earned by the people.”
A/N: February 28, 1922 is the day England gave Egypt it's independence, after it spent basically forever being a colony/protectorate of some other nation. This day is not celebrated in Egypt, but according to Himaruya-sensei it is Egypt's birthday, hence fic. June 18, 1953 is a more proper "birthday" as it is the day the King was overthrown and the nation became a republic.
The events described in this fic are exaggerations of actual events that occurred in Egypt between January 25 and February 11, 2011. It's based primarily upon events that were reported in the news, though I do not claim they are completely true to reality.
The reason why Egypt has his little conversation with himself about religion in Alexandria is not only because of it's significance in Egyptian history, but because more recently tensions have been on the rise in this area between Coptic Christians and Muslims.