A few months before Mubarak’s resignation a young journalist named Heba Afify began working for the English-language edition of an independent Egyptian daily newspaper called Al-Masry Al-Youm. WORDS OF WITNESS follows the protests on Tahrir Square and Heba’s impassioned efforts to reflect the diversity of people’s opinions and their new-found voice. This film sweeps the viewer along with Heba’s enthusiasm and determination to find the right words with which to convey the truth. It also shows us how Heba actively participates in the protests and sometimes finds herself in potentially dangerous situations. Every day she is also obliged to do battle with her own mother who feels Heba’s behaviour is not seemly for a young woman in Egyptian society.
Multi-award-winning Egyptian-American documentary filmmaker Mai Iskander’s work provides a dense picture of the social and political upheaval in Egypt and the struggle for a new order; it also gives us a graphic description of the power of social media such as Twitter and Facebook in fuelling such protests. Or – as Heba’s mother asks at one point: “What happens when I press ‘share’?”