Because I don’t have a tv, I am not accustomed to the 24-hr a day news stream put forth by the American media outlets. So, I was somewhat shocked to begin hearing that folks who get their news from such outlets were using words like coup and seemed skeptical and somewhat doubtful about the people’s revolution unfolding in Egypt, as opposed to the celebratory sense I got from those actually on the ground in Egypt.
Here it is, July 4. The day we celebrate our independence – and yet we cannot celebrate with another people’s revolutionary movement, half a world away? This, to me, seems odd, and a bit sad.
Why wouldn’t you be celebrating? I wondered to myself.
Haven’t you seen the images that have been coming from Egypt, the images of hundreds of thousands (and many say millions) of Egyptians taking to the streets to stand for ‘Egypt?’ Can you not see what I’m seeing? How is your view of the same events so different?
Perhaps I got it wrong – perhaps I missed something.
But, upon further checking with friends in Egypt – friends from many different places and sources, the message was clear and it was unanimous – this is a good day for Egypt, for Egyptians. This is a people’s revolution against a sect that had tried to hijack the events of January 2011. So, rather than sit back in resignation, the people decided to take their revolution back.
It is a beautiful story. A story of courage. A story of hope. A story of unity amidst so much diversity – Christian and Muslim, just to name one of the most obvious factors to be seen amongst the protestors.
Of course this is just the beginning. Of course the ‘work of democracy’ is hard and messy and not always linear. Of course it is something that can be hijacked (again) – but this is precisely what gives these days hope – that the people have awakened from their slumber and have come together to say ‘enough’ – or, in the Arabic slogan for the June 30 re-revolution, تمرد, tamarod, rebel.
It was said during the January 2011 revolution that there were those called couch potatoes, the couch potato party – those who did not come down from their high-rise apartments to join in, but who stayed safely upstairs in their apartments, on their couches – what we might call armchair quarterbacking. Those who did not want to get involved, get messy, or participate in the demonstrations but who preferred to hang back and see how it all played out.
It seems that we in America, sitting in front of our TVs, safely on our couches, are more prone to provide commentary than commendation, to be cynical rather than celebratory.
I wonder if, on this July 4th, as we celebrate our freedom, hard won, often fought for, if we might also take a moment to celebrate ‘revolution’ – for that too, is in our history, in our heritage.
Revolution – a sudden, radical, or complete change, a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something, a change of paradigm.
I wonder if we too might not need a bit more ‘revolution’…