The City Always Wins is a novel by Omar Robert Hamilton about the front line of 2011 Uprising in Cairo, Egypt. The story centres Mariam and Khalil who actively participate in the revolution and along with their group of friends, their attempts to remove the dictator and their fight against the brutality of the army and police force are told in a very compelling narrative.
Motivated by their purposes and burned by the injustice and inhumane treatment by the army, Khalil and Mariam along with their friends take various roles in the revolution. They protests in the streets, support the medic team and help the families of the fallen ones. With a team of photographers, videographers, writers and translators, they put up news and podcast on their platform and share the information across various social media sites. As the revolution progresses over the years and the striation doesn’t play out as they wish to, their hope and dreams change into fear and frustration. One by one, they lost their friends and the optimism Khalil holds onto becomes discouragement. Mariam continues her fight without wavering from her dedication for the voices of the lost heroes. When the revolution continues with very little success, the argument between friends for different ideologies form.
It is such a riveting read and hits close to home with whats happening in Myanmar. The writer let the reader walk in the shoes of those protestors as well as in their hearts. Various people play different roles in these revolutions and the painful part of their stories are told through sorrow, fear, guilt, and traumas they encounter. Parents losing their child mourning for them everyday constantly thing with several ‘should’ves’ in their head. Friends losing their friends during the protests thinking with ‘what ifs’ theories running in their heads. The traumatic death and torture of other people they witness during the strikes haunt them through many sleepless night. Helpers not being able to help or not being able to do enough for those in need. The survivor’s guilt. Each is portrayed with fitting use of euphemistic expressions.
When they start having doubts on their plans and questioning on their cause, different views are presented through the characters craftily and succinctly. The poetic proses that describe when one character is yearning for someone who has died or missing, they are too beautiful. The long sentences are used when the character is protesting or running for their life, or introspecting for the traumatic events they have encountered. As I read such prolong sentences, I was equally breathless as the character. Interlacing with the tweets and the news headlines of the actual event timeline, it is a very interesting read and exhausting, as well. It is also an important read, too, with the writer’s ingenious narrative.
The Egyptian Revolution was a failed revolution in which the people, particularly the youth, fought so hard. The shattered dream of theirs is something I couldn’t afford to relate at the moment. I finished reading it this afternoon and I rushed my review cause I don’t want to contemplate too much and reflect with what’s been happening in my country. If I stretch the time and think more, I suppose it will come out as a demoralising review. Nonetheless, it is such a gripping read and I have highlighted several sentences and oftentimes, the whole paragraphs.