Egyptian dissident a double outsider

Published: May 29, 2010

Egyptian dissident a double outsider

Reporting from Cairo — — Stiff and sore from his latest police beating, Bahaa Saber wiped back the tears of a man trapped in two lives: a homosexual seeking acceptance from Islam, a political activist marching against a state that counters his demands for democracy with truncheons and tear gas.

Saber’s voice is hoarse from years of yelling, his eyes weary from watching all that has not changed. His life has become a series of bruises and protests, of thrusting his fists into the air and scanning crowds as black-clad officers in helmets close in on placards calling for better salaries and freedoms denied.

"You start thinking whether it matters," Saber said. "You can’t change a police state or force a revolution with a bunch of activists with different agendas. You can’t keep shouting slogans into the wind. It’s been like this for 30 years. People are working too hard just to get by. They don’t have time to make life better. The government put us [in] this box."

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