Posts Tagged: egypt

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I just got chills. It’s a feeling I think others get too, but I can never be sure. It’s my body’s physiological response to inspiration. I can’t seem to use full sentences. Too excitable.

For many, 18 days. 18 days of not going to work. 18 afternoons waiting on lines. Of thousands. Hundreds of thousands. 18 nights of unresolved conviction. Until moments ago.

I saw the NYTimes email update state that Mubarak stepped down.

My roommate just said a brilliant thought - “I bet there are a bunch of other dudes who are sweating right now. ‘Oh shit! If Mubarak just went down! What’s gonna happen to us?’”

The language surrounding the action of uprising was part of the power. We began with the Day of Rage. Day of Departure passed without resolution. Protesters pressed on. Now today. Farewell Friday.


It makes me think. What if we never invaded Iraq? Or even Afghanistan? Would they have been part of this social unrest?

To the best of my understanding, this world is the only one I will live in. We can’t run tests against the hypotheticals. But questions. You can’t learn without questions. One lesson I am trying to wrap my head around is whether an unfair distribution of wealth, power & food along with a broadband internet connection results in a more efficient democratically-inclined cultural revolution than an external nation can achieve with ten plus years, trillions of dollars and undefinable losses? That’s a hell of a question that I’m sure my government is asking itself right now.

Maybe time will tell. Maybe not. Someone will assume they know even if time keeps its secrets to itself.

Congratulations to the Egyptian people. You have personified both a nation’s and an international belief Edward Abbey said so well:

Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.

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History just happened. Watch it — http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

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There is a beautiful part of the Egyptian protests that equally points to its difficulty.

Those on the street come from all walks of life. There are the homeless, the hungry. The conservative, the secular. There was even a great BBC interview with a 75 year-old man in a fine suit carrying a bouquet of flowers to Tahrir Square.

That’s the beauty. This event is no proletariat uprising like Marx dreamed up or even the haves against the have-nots, its a nation revolting against a dictatorship. Here lies the difficulty: no matter what concessions are offered by those in power, there has to be a consensus that an offer is sufficient. With no leader amongst the protesters, there is no ability to compromise. The only agreement appears to be that Mubarak must go.

BBC, NPR, and Al Jazeera have a verbatim quote about how Mubarak says he wants to go, but predicts chaos if he leaves now.

The BBC journalist had a sound to his voice like his poignancy surprised even himself: 'If he predicts chaos, what does he call this? He's brought this.'

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Tunisia. Yemen. Egypt.

I nearly called out of work so I could just listen, so I can remember more about these days when my grandchildren learn about it in History class. We may be at the brink of the definitive development of my generation.  Uprisings have been spreading: autocratic leaderships have fallen in Tunisia, are falling in Egypt and have faltered from their strict rule in Yemen and Jordan. Lands where speaking against the government is illegal have seen largely peaceful protests by thousands for days.

What captivates my curiosity is the spark - the catalyst that makes the time for cultural upheaval now and not last year and not ten years from now. The common demoninators of these socially repressed people are both their struggles (lack of rights, jobs, affordable foods) and their use of social media to organize reform.

You can, and should feel free to, mock our use of social networking. While most of us use Twitter to give social high fives, Tunisans were planning nationwide protests. While we were Facebooking to friend and flirt and fight, a portion of Egypt’s 80 million residents were formulating a call to action. While these guys were making the biggest, most calorically-charged, BBQ-infused burger I’ve ever laid eyes on, others were demonstrating their resolve (* warning - this video is tough to watch / not for everyone).


Here’s my premise: Global interconnectivity appears to be fostering a global bill of rights, if not an international moral expectation. We finally are seeing each other, not just as propaganda-esque caricatures, but as longing individuals. This longing does not necessitate strict democracy, but demands self-determination.


I heard an Egyptian on the BBC quoted as saying "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." I had to rewatch  V for Vendetta once I heard its reference verbatim (which has a truly American origin by the way), and I rediscovered another observation:

…A building is a symbol, as is the act of destroying it. Symbols are given power by people. A symbol, in and of itself is powerless, but with enough people behind it, blowing up a building can change the world.

A president, in power for 30 years, is also a symbol. And whether the uncertainty makes us uncomfortable or not, his resignation is no longer a distant impossibility.

There’s so much more to say and I’ve begun to - right now is a time to listen.
I wish safety for all, compromise when needed and obstinate protest where rights are denied.