Thursday, February 24, 2011

Christians and Muslims we're all Egyptians!

Giant Egyptian flag banner strung between "The Saints" Church and the Mosque across the street in Alexandria. The symbolism is amazing. This was the same Church which was bombed last month because "someone" was trying to inflame religious strife between Muslims and Christians in Egypt. But at last, the true nature of the Egyptian people prevails. I learned first hand in the last few weeks that we all see the best out of each other when the toughest times put us to the test. This was true in Cairo, in Alexandria, and here in Columbus Ohio as well. Simply put: Egypt wouldn't be Egypt without both it's Muslims and it's Christians, that's what makes us great!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mohamed Bouazizi: The street vendor who changed the face of the middle east.

It's amazing to think that none of this would have ever happened if it weren't for Mohammed Bouazizi, a simple Tunisian street vendor who sells produce out of a wheeled cart for a living. He was certainly no Che Guevara, Nelson Mandella, or Mahatma Gandhi .These people dedicated their lives to become revolutionaries and to bring social change. Bouazizi on the other hand, or "Basboosa" as he was locally known, never wanted or planned on becoming a revolutionary. I'm sure he never would have dreamed when he set himself on fire in front of the governor's office to protest the corruption of his government and the humiliation he suffered at the hands of the local police when they spat on him, slapped him, and confiscated his goods that his actions would inadvertantly set off a chain reaction that would lead only 2 months later to the toppling of two authoritarian governments and mass protests worldwide for democracy and freedom. Nobody had expected this. While it has always been known that the levels of corruption in middle eastern governments were at epidemic proportions and that the level of poverty, abuse, and suffering that the people had endured were unacceptable; I'm sure that absolutely nobody realized just how big of a powder keg these middle eastern authoritarian governments were sitting on. When Bouazizi set himself on fire that fateful December afternoon in Tunisia he also lit the fuse to this powder keg, and the rest as they say is history. He had accomplished what the most famous and successful revolutionaries in history could only hope to accomplish - by accident as it turns out!

 We are now living witnesses to the most exciting and the most important time in our genreation's history. Speaking from the perspective of an Egyptian I can say that we have not witnessed this sort of a grassroot, organic movement for democracy since Saad Zaghloul Pasha led the 1919 revolution against the monarchy and the British. We've been saying for years that Arabs are used to autocracy and have become numb to it. We've been saying that political apathy was so rampant because the people were ignorant of their rights and because it was also a defense mechanism against autocratic rulers who would crush any public dissent with an iron fist. But all of a sudden in an instant, we went from being the most politically apathetic people to the most politically active people. We went from becoming an example of a broken and defeated people to being an example of freedom and liberty through bravery and sacrifice...and all this happened virtually over night. I don't know about you, but when I think about how crazy the last 2 months have been and how utterly improbable the outcome of Bouazizi's encounter with the police turned out to be, I am just in awe of the big picture and I'm still to this day trying to sink it all in, but in vain.

Another Egypt Revolution Tribute....

No one man should have all that power.

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