In school we learned plenty of history – world, U.S., local. We studied lots of facts and on occasion even drilled deeper to analyze the basis and consequences of political and social movements that changed the way people lived their lives. And conscientious history teachers always made sure we were aware of current events. But mostly change comes slowly and it is only with hindsight that you are able to fully appreciate its magnitude. There are exceptions of course. The moments when events are of such magnitude that you know right away that the course of history has been nudged and will never be the same again.
The events unfolding in Egypt are one such moment. In a country so rich in ancient history, its people are writing a new chapter in their history every day these past several weeks. After centuries of foreign domination and many under dictatorial regimes, people of all walks of life – students, workers, young and old, women and men, middle class and poor have joined together to say, “Enough”.
“They all had one message… Mr. Mubarak must surrender his power. “Go, already,” read one sign that was held aloft. “My arm’s starting to hurt.” (1)
Egyptian citizens have chosen to speak with one voice and to do so peacefully, until attacked by government sponsored thugs. They have shown the world the power of modern communications – the internet and its commutations progeny has played a central role in the movement for democracy. Because the demonstrations began peacefully, journalists from around the world have been able to be on the scene to witness it firsthand and report the events to the world as they happen. NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel deserves a Pulitzer Prize for his insightful daily reporting.
As of this writing the army has restored calm, the mass demonstrations in Cairo’s Liberation Square and throughout Alexandria and Suez continue to grow and hopefully Mubarek’s inevitable resignation will come soon. Thankfully President Obama has been applying pressure and repeatedly assuring the people of Egypt that we support their struggle for democracy. One can only imagine how George Bush would have managed to meddle and screw this up. Sarah Palin, when contacted in her alternate universe had this to say about how the president is handling the current situation:
“It’s a difficult situation, this is that 3am White House phone call and it seems for many of us trying to get that information from our leader in the White House it seems that that call went right to um the answering machine…” (2)
1) Hasan Tukhtamishev, writing in 49 News, the official school newspaper of PS/IS 49, located in Middle Village, NYC http://www.49kidnews.com/
2) From interview with David Brody on the Christian Broadcasting Network http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2011/02/05/exclusive-sarah-palin-interview-with-the-brody-file.aspx