Words of Witness
From the director of multi-award-winning documentary GARBAGE DREAMS, WORDS OF WITNESS follows a 22-year-old female reporter for the independent newspaper Egypt Independent , as she covers Egypt’s transition to democracy, from the heyday of Tahir Square to Egypt’s first free and fair presidential election. Defying cultural and gender norms as well as family expectations, Heba Afify takes to the streets to report, using Facebook posts, tweets, and text messages, on an Egypt in turmoil. For thirty years, Egypt was ruled by the oppressive regime of President Hosnu Mubarak. When Mubarak resigned and transferred the power to the Army to lead the country in the transition to democracy, the Tahir Square demonstrators celebrate chanting “The Army and the people will complete the journey”. However, as Heba and the nation quickly realize, the struggle for a new order has just begun. Despite repetitive arguments with her mother who is fearing for her daughter’s life and cautious of respecting women’s traditional roles, Heba covers a series of historical events. She interviews parents of missing demonstrators; takes an active part in a thrilling demonstration at the State Security headquarters resulting in the discovery of thousand of classified files on public figures and ordinary citizens kept by the police; gets caught in a tense religious event protesting against the State police who are preventing the rebuilding of a church; witnesses the army, once hailed as the people's liberators, using violence and later torture and taking down demonstrators camps in Tahir Square; and, finally, documents the election process. WORDS OF WITNESS offers a fascinating account of Egypt post-revolution as the nation faces the challenges that lay ahead; as well as a moving portrait of an incredible, fearless young woman, who is now a contributor to The New York Times. Heba Afify’s story is an illustration of the critical role social media played in the Arab Spring, as nations are in the process of reinventing themselves and finding their voices.