Joy to the World

I walked into the cafeteria a few minutes ago to see the TVs tuned to Egypt. I was watching with a big smile on my face when someone asked me, “Are you Egyptian?”, to which I replied:

“We’re all Egyptian today.”

The story of Egypt 2011 is all about people, determined and with solidarity, not backing down in the face of overwhelming odds against them. Those people stood up to thugs, bloodshed, and the fear of the secret police. We witnessed the terror of their struggle behind the barricade and watched the sun rise to find them still there. Like a flag waving over the ramparts and a night of bombs bursting in air.

I am amazed and in awe of the Egyptians, a mighty nation for many millennia.

But the struggle is not over. It has just begun. Right now, it is very important to maintain solidarity with each other, to not descend into factionalism and to trust one another. Because there will be forces that will want to tear this triumph apart.

Make peace with your neighbors as quickly as possible and get back to work. Toppling a nation is euphoric but keeping your liberty is an ongoing struggle.

As the Egyptians have shown, it is worth the effort.

For years, the middle east has been a hopeless case of immovable objects and irresistible force. We may find that the Egyptians have forced the region into a higher energy state but the dynamics of the situation may lead to a more stable resolution down the road.

So, let’s all “Walk Like an Egyptian” today. Buckle down tomorrow. People around the world offer the Egyptians their sincere Congratulations.

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20 Responses

  1. You are completely right. I was literally in tears as I watched. Their joy is intoxicating. (But the entire country will be hoarse tomorrow!!)

  2. I have heard on the news that Gates called Tantawi last night.
    Knowing that Gates & Hillary are a team, I think maybe that was an “ok” to plan B (plan A, civilian interim govt, not having been accepted).

  3. I am applauding people power.just wonder if about 18 million of us marched on Washington,we could get our rightful President :mrgreen:

    • Ha, people at work were saying the same thing today, wondering how many days we would have to camp out on the WH lawn.

      • Like they would ever allow anything remotely like this to happen in this country. We have a terrorist threat you know.

    • Well, if the media chose to neglect it, as my guess is it would, it sort of … never happened. :(

  4. Earlier in my tabloids entry, I was predicting Mubarak iminent departure – it all seems to follow the Romanian playbook. It also means that once he is gone, people won’t know what to fight for and the results will be murky at best.
    The “Michelle and her yellow shoes” edition of the DUdies
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/dudies-5-michelle-and-her-yellow-shoes

  5. I am happy for them but concerned that no women of prominence have been seen in the mix of potential new leaders. I realize they are more modern that Iran but I still fear the reactionaries carrying burqas if the women are not represented at the negotiation table on Sunday.

    • I have not heard that there is any desire in Egypt to adopt a fundamentalist dress code or rule of law. A Muslim state does not necessarily have to look like the Taliban or Iran. It could look like Turkey. Besides, the Iranians are none too keen about their stupid dress code either. The Egyptians are no doubt quite well aware of that.

      You are not the first person commenting on this blog who has brought up the (extremely remote) possibility that Egyptian women will be forced into burqas. If you are a new reader, you may not be aware that I am not afraid of Muslims and will not tolerate Muslim bashing or the spread of disinformation or unreasonable, irrational fear mongering propaganda from mainstream cable news networks.

      Don’t bring that crap here.

      • RD, what the women of Egypt “desire” and what they get may end up being two completely different things. And as far as fearing that women may have to adapt a fundamentalist dress code, that is hardly “Muslim bashing”, just ask the women of our great ally, Saudia Arabia. Many fear for the fate of the Egyptian people because of the huge vacuum created by the present lack of a stable, central governing body, and to deny the fear some of us have for the fate of women under any fundamentalist influence which may take over is just plain naive. It’s not “Muslim bashing”, it’s reality.

        • No, Babs. I don’t agree with you at all. This revolution is very different from the one that rocked Iran. See Lambert’s comment below.
          What is naive is to assume that Muslim = fundamentalism. There is more than one example of countries where this is not true.
          Once again, I caution readers that it would be incorrect to equate Islam with fundamentalism, no matter how much American media would like to shove it down your throat. I won’t put up with that here. If you find it hard to mentally disconnect the two concepts, your comments may be moderated. I will not allow this blog to become a platform for the spread of conservative misinformation and propaganda no matter how innocently it may be spread. The infection ends here.

        • I remember hearing about – sorry, can’t find links right now – how more and more women in Egypt, back in the 70s I think, decided, on their own accord, to change from western to traditional Muslim dressing. Sometimes women, even Muslim women, make up their own mind about how to dress.

      • I didn’t notice more than a handful of women in the great crowds protesting in Cairo. I saw lots and lots of young men.

        You may see a couple of women in prominent roles within a year or two, but it is wishful thinking to expect a rapid cultural change to come with this revolution.

        Is the army, which seems to be the governing power now, integrated with women in command positions?

        The people from whom the coming new civilian leadership will probably come, who are they?

        As for the dress in Egypt, it seems that someone desires a fundamentalist (actually there isn’t a koranic basis, so is it even correct to call it fundamental?) dress code including the burqa , since it is worn.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlene-h-phillips/egyptian-women-image-vs-r_b_180139.html

        If 85% of Egyptian women have undergone FGM, what evidence is there to support the idea that within a even a single generation (about 20-30 years) the culture will change so dramatically as to suit what we consider a balance of power between the sexes?

        http://www.afrol.com/html/Categories/Women/FGM/fgm_map.htm

        Everyone is free to practice his own culture or religion (or not), but I don’t have to think that all practices are okay simply because they exist. To point out those differences and to judge them right or wrong isn’t necessarily “bashing” anyone, and no culture gets a pass simply because it isn’t mine.

        Apparently the people who rose up and (mostly) peacefully overthrew the dictator agree.

        • First, as much as we may not like it, this revolution was not provoked by a desperate need to liberate women from cultural oppression, which may not necessarily have anything to do with Islam.

          This revolution had to do with removing a brutally repressive dictator. And as much as I hate to say it, the Egyptian people have to keep their minds fixed on ridding their government of all of the residue of that government before they can turn their attention to anything else. If women participated in that bloody night in Tahrir square, and there were plenty of interviews from women during that night because I watched it, spellbound, I wouldn’t want to cross them if I were a dude in Egypt. Women who have been through that wouldn’t put up with it.

          This is a different cohort of revolutionaries. It is not just young, it’s also more secular, more moderate and religiously diverse. There are factions in the Muslim Brotherhood that would strenuously object to religious or cultural fundamentalism.

          If you are watching American Tv, I recommend you stop doing that. There isn’t one single cable channel or network that is going to give you unfiltered news. Conservative channels are going to be seriously weird to watch because the revolution screws up their narrative in a monumental way. They may even lose some of their more intelligent viewers over this.

        • Plenty more than “a handful” of women participated in the protests in Egypt. Lots and lots of women – of all ages. Check this out: Women of the Egyptian Revolution.

        • And then there’s this very good read: Imperial Feminism, Islamophobia, and the Egyptian Revolution.

          So rather than asking, “where are the women,” we might ask:
          Why does much of U.S. public discourse frame the revolution through Islamophobia logics and why has the corporate media focused mostly on images of Egyptian men?
          […]
          [I]f Egypt enters a democratization period, will the voices of the women of Tahrir remain center stage? And what are the possibilities for a democratization of rights in Egypt– all civic rights—in which women’s participation, the rights of women, family law, and the right to organize, protest, and express freedom of speech remain central? And what are the possibilities for international solidarity with Egyptian women and Egyptian people—amidst a war of ideas that often obstructs the possibility to see Arab or Muslim women as human– and as rightful agents of their own discourses, governments, and destinies?

      • I find that accusation amazing. I am merely saying that women need their own leaders. I have been an advocate of female leadership for decades.

        I am a lesbian who was married to a Muslim woman for 20 years until her country basically forced the dissolution of our relationship. I lived in a Muslim country for many years and would be there now if I could. So don’t give me that crap. Your reaction was way out of line.

        My comment generated a lot of important commentary below that I have been trying to generate on several sites. I have written personally to some female Egyptian journalists asking them to address the issue specifically and gotten back positive replies. I’ve never gotten such a nasty reply as I have received from you.

        The inflection is yours — you should not believe everything you think. You know nothing about me and have assumed the worst without even stopping to question your assumptions.

        I have read this blog off an on for about 2 years but never commented that I can remember. Never mind. I won’t be back, so don’t worry.

        • I’d think that someone who “lived in a Muslim country for 20 years” would know that the burqa is not worn in Egypt and would be culturally astute enough not to conflate it with other forms of religious dress.

    • First, on Islamists. The idea that the Muslim Brotherhood were driving the revolution was prominently featured in early Western coverage, but in fact they were as wrong-footed by it as Western intelligence, and didn’t take part initially. To assess their strength — and I’m sure a scientist would have something to say about about the methodology — I took a screenshot of Tahrir Square and counted the beards (since Brotherhood members wear them). The total came to about 20%, about the same as their vote total in the last election.

      Second, on women in positions of leadership. Al Jazeera ran an excellent documentary, Seeds of Change, on one of the organizations that led the revolution. The pictures show that women participated, at least one in a leadership position (according to the voiceover). It’s by no means 50/50, but it’s not token, either.

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