Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's A Whole New (Arab) World

I sit here in my room, jubilant about the recent developments in Egypt and watching songs of the current and previous Egyptian revolutions on the "hit music" TV station. The old songs are in black and white in the classical Arab style, heavy on the strings and drama. The new songs show footage of the last two and a half weeks of protest, and celebrate the courage and the will of the people. Tunisia went first, and now Egypt--the most populous and one of the most influential countries in the Middle East has a chance for a new start. We'll see what they make of it.

After Mubarak survived the "Day of Rage", I thought he just might be able to hold out until September. I thought that it would take a special set of circumstances for him to actually step down. In the meantime, I was worried about my friends in Egypt. How were they doing? Had they been caught up in the violence of the first week of protests? Were they affected by the looting that went on? The internet block was one of the most frustrating aspects of the events, because people didn't know if others were okay.

Freedom is an easy word to take for granted for those of us who were raised with the idea that it is an inherent human right. Only when you lose it do you realize how truly precious it is. The Arab world's got a taste of it now, and it surely is sweet. Saudi is surrounded on all sides by protests. Are you paying attention? It will take courage, and the same strength of will that the Egyptians and Tunisians have shown in their protests to lead these events to a successful conclusions: free and fair elections in both countries, and increased freedoms ALL around the Arab world.

I think that there is a certain incredulity all around the world that the Egyptians have actually pulled this off, though I still say no one does chaos and massive street gatherings like the Egyptians. You got your wish, Egyptians. So where do you go from here? For now, alhamdulilah my friends are okay and the future is bright, though uncertain. Don't blow it!

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