Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Are we all Egyptian?

In solidarity with the Egyptian revolution, many have claimed "I am Egyptian", joining Facebook groups, changing their status or tweeting similar support statements. Personally, I never had it in me to make such proclamations and I couldn't quite understand why. Until Monday, around midnight.

The interview with Wael Ghonim, Head of Marketing at Google MENA who was detained for over 10 days during the January 25 revolution, was as disturbing to me as it was beautiful. It was disturbing because watching the raw honesty and pain in which Ghonim spoke somehow helped me connect every single event that's been happening in Egypt, not for the last few weeks, but years. The horrific torture and murder of Khaled Said was not a one-off incident but a systematic mode of operation by the Egyptian regime, a regime that has no problem running over peaceful demonstrators as if they were insects. It is only now that I see the ugliness in its full form. These are not spontaneous protests by people who have had enough. This is a well-planned long term revolution of a people who have had enough a long time ago, but were waiting for a spark to ignite their flame.

The only gratitude we can extend to the Mubarak regime is for being so corrupt and vile that it was able to produce a generation so pure, determined and inspiring. Wael Ghoneim, Mahmoud Salem (aka Sandmonkey), Khaled Said, and all those who gave their lives away since January 25, they are not the heroes of the revolution. They are but few of millions who refuse to be acknowledged except as one entity, because so shared is their suffering and so pure is their cause, they are all one and the same. Nothing in my past experience allows me to compare myself to these wonderful millions, every single one of whom humbles me to the core.

So regardless of how events pan out in the coming months, I only have this to say: "No, I am not Egyptian... I have not earned that honor yet."

9 comments:

John said...

Nice post :)

M said...

Watching the revolution unfold has made me feel things I never knew I could feel, so I can only imagine how it'd feel like to actually be a part of it.

Great post. :)

Dahlia said...

Thanks Lama. I'm very touched. As an Egyptian living in Cairo and existing in the midst of all this, I am often at a loss for words as well as the necessary distance to see things from fresh perspectives. I'm grateful for yours.
Dahlia
ps i'm an old childhood friend of dana's, great to make these links :)

Talal said...

I have just watched the interview with Wael Ghonim, which placed a major lump in my throat and brought tears to my eyes, then read your post right after, and I have to admit that I was touched by your words and had goose bumps with your conclusion "No, I am not Egyptian... I have not earned that honor yet." A conclusion that so rightfully reduces me to the little spectator that I realized that I am, that many around me are. This needs to spark our enlightenment, to transcend desire for the contentment arising from only playing the cheering/sighing spectator. “Let’s chant at 5, and have a drink at 7” is not enough anymore, more needs to be done. But the problem is that in Jordan we need a well-defined cause, ours is still blurry, addressed by blurry individuals with blurry identities repeating blurry rhetoric of blurry alternatives … spontaneity isn’t exactly our thing … we’ve turned into a bunch of lurkers just waiting for the next slap but rarely trying to stay clear of one.

I’m not undermining anyone’s efforts at trying to start a movement for change and I truly dislike the fact that I’m only stating and repeating the obvious, but I feel that from there we can start to try to pinpoint our shortfalls leading to our lack of initiative.

Great and moving post!

girlishUrbanism said...

well put lama!

May said...

Thanks Lama! Wael Ghoniem's was very emotional and made me also realize how dedicated young Egyptians are to Egypt. What actually got me more emotional and wish that I was in Egypt was actually a friend of mine who lives in Egypt who wrote a note to her 7 year old son for him to read when he gets older. Her husband went to Tahrir Square at the very beginning....at first she fought with him because she was scared for his safety and just wanted her family close...his reply to her was ' he was going to do his duty as a father, and that meant speaking up to provide a better country for his children to live in'...reading and hearing what your friends and family are going through....going to Tahrir Square, staying home scared of what will happen yet cheering it on at the same time because they know this will bring a better future...makes me proud to be Egyptian and look forward to tell my children of how my friends and family made a difference in their future.

Site de petite annonces de mariage halal said...

in the present state of things we all égyptiens.l main thing is to be there with his heart.
En l'état actuel des choses nous sommes tous égyptiens.l'éssentiel c'est d'y etre avec son coeur

Noora said...

I gotta say.. that I was one of those people that felt like we are Egyptians. And not because it was a fad on Twitter... but because... as a Palestinian.. I often proclaimed.. "We are all Palestinians" ... in the sense that our identity defines our places and how we define ourselves...

While our identities define how we are perceived, in the moment of ultimate sacrifice and emancipation, nothing feels more right than to join the rallies of celebration and simply become united with the force of the masses, as we saw in the 18 hard days in Egypt.

For many that spent each day gazing at their TV screens, internally praying for justice to take its toll, the fall-out of Mubarak, like the anticipated and unexpected departure of Ben Ali, brought with it an illumination that went beyond Tahrir Square, vibrating the streets in Jordan, Canada, England, Tunisia, Algeria and all that were on a standstill, witnessing the powerful effects of the people united.

As the protest chants that we used to repeated at my University in Toronto, "The People United, will Never be Defeated" ...

So, yes, we are all Palestinian, Egyptian, Tunisian ... all fighting for justice to prevail ... united we stand..

The Sandmonkey said...

I am not worthy ... :)