I’m sorry I have been absent from this blog for almost a month. Have been overwhelmed by many, many things.
But tonight, I had to write. I’ve been toggling between AlJazeera and CNN, laughing at the way the journalists are swallowed up in jubilant crowds. People grab their hands and lift them up in a salute, dance around, women in head scarves at midnight, bareheaded teenage girls, and little boys on their father’s shoulders, young men waving flags.
I have been marvelling at getting to see in my lifetime a moment this beautiful. How powerful ordinary people can be when they come together and say they’ve had enough. 30 years of the Mubarak regime. 17 days of committed protest.
And tomorrow all the sensible practicalities will settle in, and the complications of what comes next, the plans on how to transition from military to election, from decades of emergency rule to the law of the people, but tonight is a celebration.
And, if they can do this in Egypt, where else can we do it? If the young and old come out together, and insist, no, no, no, you wax faced old men, no, no, no, you vampires in your Ilmorog competition of thieves and robbers, who drone long speeches about responsibility to the nation, while tucking away millions into your pocketed bellies, no, no, no, we facebook, we tweet, we take to the street. We’re gassed, we’re beat, we sleep in the street. We die, we shout, our mother’s cry, but we do not go home, we do not go in, we stay, we stay, we protest, we pray.
It’s shocking, it worked.
Yesterday, the old man rambled about how he was Egypt, and today he left. And Egypt is now this collective person, this person who has filled the streets, the laughter, the tears, the shouts, the flags waving.
Was it the passion? Is that what it is? Can we do that? Or we all too content to complain, and keep managing?
On Facebook, this video has been going around. It is the voice of the young. Questions. Dreams. Imagine this, they say
First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win.
The song was apparently posted on YouTube a few days ago, but, as music and art so often is, it was prescient, confident of success, yet reflective on the anxieties of revolution: “We know freedom is the answer, the only question is, ‘Who’s Next?’
On YouTube, the info on the song is listed as follows:
Inspired by the resilience of Egyptian people during their recent uprising, several notable musicians from North America have teamed up to release a song of solidarity and empowerment. The track is fittingly titled “#Jan25” as a reference to both the date the protests officially began in Egypt, and its prominence as a trending topic on Twitter. Produced by Sami Matar, a Palestinian-American composer from Southern California, and featuring the likes of Freeway, The Narcicyst, Omar Offendum, HBO Def Poet Amir Sulaiman, and Canadian R&B vocalist Ayah – this track serves as a testament to the revolution’s effect on the hearts and minds of today’s youth, and the spirit of resistance it has come to symbolize for oppressed people worldwide.
Omar Offendum (MC #1) – http://twitter.com/Offendum
The Narcicyst (MC #2) – http://twitter.com/TheNarcicyst
Freeway (MC #3) – http://twitter.com/PhillyFreezer
Amir Sulaiman (MC #4) http://twitter.com/AmirSulaiman
Ayah (R&B Vocalist) – http://twitter.com/AyahMusic
Sami Matar (Producer) – http://twitter.com/SamiMatar
Artwork by Ridwan Adhami http://www.ridzdesign.com
And as the night grows old, and the morning is near, look at the faces again, and pray for the days ahead.