Sunday, February 13, 2011

Taking on Goliath

Much of this is emotional; unlike many, my heart is not all filled with celebration. I’m filled with fear, with joy, and with remorse. It’s hard to believe that the time in Tahrir Republic is coming close to an end. We found something in Tahrir that we’ve missed for so long, indeed it may be something many haven’t ever found. In Tahrir there was unadulterated love of a nation by people who have been crushed by it. So many voices silenced in the past, so many talents wasted, so many lives not spent well. In Tahrir we found each other, we found the true meaning of nationalism. I always hated that sentiment though, that pride of belonging to a nation. The whole world was my nation, but in Tahrir, I found out what it really means. It means your brothers and sisters and your whole extended family living in the same place, sharing the same emotions and sharing the same thoughts.

In Tahrir, there was hope, and there was a common goal and a common pain. Tahrir did not just teach the world a political lesson, it taught the people there much more than they knew before coming into the square, Liberation square, where people went to find their freedom, but found it in one another. Tahrir transformed the people there. Many have spoken about the community there, the collaboration and the kindness strangers have shown one another. It was a journey that we all shared, and we found there the best in each other and in ourselves.

I learned the meaning of the words ‘Tahya Masr’ which some people translate as ‘long live Egypt’. The literal translation though is ‘Egypt lives’. I learned what it was for the dead to rise; for Egypt to live after years of being buried underneath a rubble of hatred, extremism and poverty.

Tears fill my heart as I think about everyone leaving and going back to their daily business. Will they remember the strangers who became their brothers? Will they remember what it feels like to serve one another with joy?

Will people ever take this hard earned chance of freedom for granted? Even now, I remember the faces of those who died in this battle. I do not want them to be forgotten. They were ordinary people trying to fight for their own dreams, taking on a beastly Goliath. They ended up fighting for our hopes and our dreams. They ended up running into the eye of the storm in the hopes of stopping the destruction it was wreaking.

I wish those who reap the fruits of this struggle will always remember how brave it was for those people to start caring. They could have selfishly lived on in the comfort of their lives, but they selflessly walked out of their homes to face a danger that Egyptians have feared for 30 years. I wish that people could know and remember how much courage that took.

I heard that Egyptians were once a great people, that they were once full of love for one another, full of ideas and adventure. I did not see those people much as I traversed the streets of Egypt. I saw only glimpses, like shooting stars, and they were not enough for me to have faith in my people. I wondered to myself where did the real Egyptians go? I searched the broken down streets of Cairo, and I was surrounded by darkness. I searched the other cities and they were crowded and poor. I searched for Egyptians that could live up to their history, I searched for Egyptians that could be countrymen. For the longest time I could not find them, but I finally found them in Tahrir.

1 comment:

Mohamed Zein said...

I agree with you Will. Before Jan 25th, many times I lost hope in this country and its people but these glimpses you talked about what always gave me a little hope.
The Egyptians for a long time waited for the opportunity not only to take on Goliath but also to be humans ... to be themselves.