It is not terribly often that I want to shake anybody for anything. No matter how disturbed I get. But yesterday an exception occurred. So today I think I sound a bit like I am preaching. So be it
If I appear to you, too, as if I am pontificating, please do be patient, I just had a birthday last week. Perhaps, already this week signs of my approaching dotage may be ready to appear.
Excuses aside; a picture yesterday of a group of Egyptian protestors in a CNN story made my blood run chill, evoking the kind of preachiness from me that follows.
Admittedly, it was only one young man’s face though front and center in the feature photo, contorted with ugly anger and defiance that must have been the trigger. Nevertheless, his face spoke to me of violent rage not far off. I was, thus, quite disturbed to the point of reactivity, unusually so for me. (I must admit the rest of the crowd, overall, looked rather peaceful and orderly.)
Quite possibly, given the remnants of stored memories in me, the intensity of my emotions may have had no small amount of projected angst entwined with its more realistic aspects. But I was certainly stirred by what I saw and read.
The article, Egypt's revolution at 6 months: 'We can't go back'” rapidly moved me to compassion, fear and revulsion. Strange combination the latter two, fear and revulsion, with the first, compassion, you might rightfully be thinking. I thought so myself. Nonetheless, this is how I thought it.
In the 1960s, ‘70s and even into the early ‘80s the thrust for social justice, personal risk taking and ecstatic transformation was in full force in many young American adults. Today that same generation of which I am a member is frequently dispirited regarding the social and political climate of our nation. .
We have not lived up to our ideals as a force for political and societal transformation. Our collective, perhaps rather adolescent, dreams for a revolutionary change in values for our nation’s practices lie trampled in dust heaps; hopes for their resurrection fleeting at best.
Though, correspondingly, we have also made great strides, much remains to be done. Unfortunately, we have lost much of our vision, our unity and our spirit. We often fail to treat one another as respected compatriots. And, most disturbingly, we are, often, quite disparagingly at odds with one another. Many of us have become the “silent majority,” feeling as if we are without representation on issues of the greatest importance. Take a lesson from us.
While it is true you cannot go back to the way it was, nor should you, especially with the extremes of tyranny under which you have lived, it is crucial now that you develop a strong unified vision of where you are heading.
“Mubarak ruled Egypt for nearly three decades. His regime was toppled by a groundswell of popular protests….” A mighty groundswell of activists with a unified vision is what it took to topple that power at the top.
Hold on to that unity. Hold tight to the power of ”we are all in this together.” Do not allow your differences to divide you.
Take a look, if you will, at those of us who have gone before you. Look at the price we are paying now for our own lack of unity and vision. And, we already had a democracy.
As noted in yesterday’s CNN report yesterday, Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, was quoted as saying about your present conditions, “My worry is the cleavages are much deeper than we think.” Of course, he is right!
Be alert to this pitfall!
Egyptian revolutionaries, you are no longer simply “dating”. You are wedded to a massive societal upheaval and transformation. And, as Gerges also stated, “If you do not have a consensus on what the future is, you won’t be able to govern.” Consensus is hard, gut-wrenching work. It is not a dress rehearsal or a party!
The world is looking to you to carry forth your ideals. We are behind you. So please hold onto to your spirit of unity. And, don’t let it falter and fall by the wayside amidst the polarization of opposing ego-bound agendas and mis-aligned priorities.
This I send you as prayers for your continued success.