...walk like an Egyptian, today.
This morning I walk, teetering, toward my bus stop in my 1.5 inch heels -- something I never do. I am smiling, because I've just watched the Egyptians in Tahrir Square learn that, on day 18 of their amazing protest, Mubarak is stepping down from his position as President and Dictator. What amazing dedication, courage of conviction and spirit the Egyptian protesters have shown. What plain courage, in the face of death, injury, quietly being disappeared, hunger, loss of livelihood and thereby the roof over their head, the toll of days-on-end of basic fear, exhaustion... I am just filled with awe when I think of what this 18-day protest/demonstration really embodies to all those Egyptian people.
For many, there is the story of a dictator and his terrible regime, a political story of another evil regime propped up by the self-interest of--among others--the United States of America. You can read those stories, laid out in appalling detail, by socially and politically conscious people such as Amy Goodman and Noam Chomsky, and the like. But for me, it has and always will be about the people. The people's daily life, struggles and joy. The great highs, such as this mornings news, and the great lows, such as the struggle to make a real difference in the last 18 days, and everything that led up to it. My personal belief is that all political bullshit comes down to human suffering, and whether a government will add to it or alleviate it. The question is always: how much political bullshit the people can take before they step out together and really demand a change, and what that demand will cost them. All the rest is so much dog-shit on my tongue.
So I am smiling, and kind of tearing up, as I walk to my bus, thinking: what amazing joy the Egyptians must be feeling right now, screaming out their triumph in the Square and perhaps their homes; will it be enough suffering for them, this 200 lives lost and one dictator sent scuttling, or will they be able to maintain their protests until they can ensure that another U.S.-backed dictator doesn't just slip into his spot to continue oppressing them?; How are the parents of children coping with this extreme upheaval, with children caught up in the middle of dangerous protests, and if not, being cared for... how?; I'm tottering along in these heels through a chilly but peaceful morning, to catch my regularly scheduled bus to my regularly scheduled job in the city -- how lucky is that? Who in Cairo can claim the same basic facts? Simply walking along the sidewalk in heels emphasizes my freedom and vulnerability at the same time, since there is no way I could run in them for longer than a few steps, even if I had to.
What basic assumptions we operate under. These things fill my thoughts when I watch the news, or hear about Tunisia or Iran. I hope their amazing example of courage is an inspiration to us all.
All photos found here.