Thursday, March 17, 2011

Walking with the Egyptians

Figuratively anyway.  It might seem late to be writing about Egypt now.  It was so quickly swept from our consciousness and the international press and I still feel that it's an pending issue.

The protests and subsequent riots in Egypt had the world riveted.  It's difficult to imagine now that one issue alone could hold our attention when there are so many that have popped up simultaneously. I  missed the Tunisia protests entirely.  I was still traveling and as such I was not tied to a computer and checking news all day as I have been today. The rumblings began in December 2010 and it came to a head in January 2011. I missed it entirely.  The president of 23 years was ousted and only days later the Egyptian protests began.

Egypt has managed to expel Mubarak from power but the future of Egypt and all Egyptians is still very much any ones guess.  The road to freedom was not an easy one, but is starting to appear so in comparison to Libya and Bahrain where the powers that be are fighting protests and rebel groups with deadly force. Could you continue to fight for what you believe when you are seeing friends and allies dying on either side?  What if there were hired professional assassins brought in to take out your rudimentary forces? And the bombs that are dropped on you by your own government?  Could you muster the strength, the fortitude to continue?

I mentioned in the last post that I watch Al-Jazeera.  My only two English language channels are that and Channel News Asia, based out of Singapore.  If the TV is on, I'm getting Middle East and Asia centric news.  Very different from news stations in the United States that don't cover anything international short of a war or celebrity event. Now I struggle to get news on the US! On a sem-iregular basis, Al-Jazeera news goes fuzzy.  it gets pixelated, or the picture is clear but there's no sound.  I am trying to find the pattern as I think when situations in the Middle East worsen, so does their broadcast.  It seemed the days fraught with the most violence and highest levels of tension were the ones I couldn't get anything on TV. 

I followed every death, every protest, saw numerous interviews from people in Egypt, authorities on the region and politicians of all makes and models.  I have never been to Egypt but know several people who have lived or visited.  I closely follow an amazing blog of someone living there.  I thrilled right along with the populace at every triumph and ached with every defeat.  Seeing a revolution committed successfully in Tunisia inspired those in Egypt who now seem to have passed the spirit along to the people of Libya and Bahrain. As a species, we look to each other for support, for affirmation, for assistance and encouragement.  A spark or motivation, or simple possibility can travel farther than one might ever imagine.

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