Sunday, February 13, 2011


I stayed up way too late last night, with the intention of celebrating Egypt's overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. To be perfectly honest, I spent most of yesterday reading or watching or listening to news from Egypt and weeping in public. I'm a teary person, but the jubilation of seeing a nation free themselves from 30 years of oppression and tyranny is just too good to keep any kind of composure. It was wonderful hearing everyone in the streets, crying out "be proud, you're an Egyptian!" It's just so rare to hear good news, especially from this region, that has such a sense of hope. I've spent a lot of time hoping for this day, both for Egypt and for other countries struggling under unjust regimes. It's insane to think that finally a revolution based on human dignity and the desire for social justice and freedom has succeeded. To have words like freedom and justice bandied around in a totally sincere way is incredibly moving, and I think it was the contrast between the protesters complete life-and-death sincerity and Mubarak's empty rhetoric in his last speech that made it so enraging. Was it just the right time? Why now? Why Egypt (first, I hope!)? Things to think about.

One thing that gives me hope that the Egyptians will find a peaceful and democratic government moving forward is the communal spirit of the revolution and the sense of responsibility for their future that Egyptians feel. As they banded together to clean up downtown after the fights and protests of the past 18 days, a flyer distributed says:

"Today this country is your country. Do not litter. Don't drive through traffic lights. Don't bribe. Don't forge paperwork. Don't drive the wrong way. Don't drive quickly to be cool while putting lives at risk. Don't enter through the exit door at the metro. Don't harass women. Don't say, 'It's not my problem.' Consider God in your work. We have no excuse anymore."
First, that's kind of hilarious, because it sums up all the daily ills of life in Cairo, but it's also amazing, because instead of the usual cynicism and resignation that was so embedded in the national psyche, it shows an incredible sense of agency and hope.

No comments: