Monthly Archives: February 2011

Egypt, Egypt, Egypt (is the place to be) Egypt, Egypt, Egypt

Protesters take part in an anti-Mubarak protest at Tahrir square in Cairo, February 1, 2011. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

*Credit to Marty Aranaydo for getting the title of this blog into my head like a song chorus.
Current location (body): Kitchen table in my apartment, Bloomington, IN watching frozen raindrops grow longer as this ice storm hits.
Current location (mind, spirit): With the millions of people taking over the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez in Egypt as they demand U.S. backed dictator, Hosni Mubarak, step down from his thirty-year rule.

I’ve been watching Al Jazeera English on live stream non-stop since the uprising started and it’s hard to feel like anything else is really as important as this people’s revolution unfurling its banner right in front of our eyes (despite the Egyptian government’s shut down of the internet). I get goosebumps and tears wet my eyes when I see photos of women kissing stoic riot police on the cheek, video footage of thousands of protesters forcing the police to retreat while they take over a bridge that crosses the Nile. Then reports of students, army and other civilians forming a human chain around the National Museum to prevent it from further looting.
This is a revolution being led by young people who have never known anything but dictatorship and by the looks of it, they have everything to teach us about maintaining unity across sectors, holding their ground in the face of concessions and major uncertainty and the ability to practice selfless love as lives are lost and people are injured in the process.
My eyes are almost drunk off scenes of such beautiful movement. It’s hard to reconcile that feeling with the cold, dull and uninspiring environment that surrounds me here in the mid-west. I keep sending prayers to Egypt and posting articles or updates on Facebook for friends who may not know or care so much about what is going on. I came to the mid-west to write, to cop another degree. I hope my writing moves my readers in some way. But for the most part I know this time has been an extravagant gift of solitude, learning and creativity for myself. I don’t have any lofty goals of being the next Jessica Hagedorn or Gloria Anzaldua. I have no doubt my writing will contribute to the long and steady tradition of politically conscious writers. But it will never be sufficient enough in terms of making a contribution towards revolution.
So many things that come to us in this world are signposts and maps to help show us where our own hearts and callings lie in between all those mundane importances like stability and security. The revolution in Egypt shows me in vivid colors how much energy I have to support people’s movements, how much my idea of time best spent is being caught up in a crowd of millions making demands and using my voice. Collective action is the stuff of dreams when it is done right. (I won’t bother talking about the nightmare it can be, too.)
I know that Mubarak is on his way out. I know that it will be because people showed up, took the streets and did not leave until he did. I know that the hard part will only just begin after he has left, but that there will be a whole generation of people forever changed in their understanding of what is possible and their role in it. Just to feel a vibration of that change, a visceral echo of it, out here in the middle of this ice storm is a precious gift.



Filed under Academia, community organizing, Egyptian Revolution, Inspirations, love, mid-west, solidarity