Thoughts on Egypt

So, I’m finally sitting down to write our first blog post! Of course, it took a revolution to make that happen, but hey, you take what you can get, right?

In between dealing with a small family emergency today (don’t worry, everything and everyone is fine), I’ve been following the news from Egypt. If you haven’t already heard, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned today. There are obviously a multitude of stories out there about the protests-turned-celebrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt, but what’s struck me most about this unfolding story is that it’s apparently been accomplished without one or even several recognized, central leaders.

In various interviews, I’ve heard it referred to as the “first Internet revolution” and “Revolution 2.0,” because of the role technology and Internet access played in fomenting the original protests that have come to mobilize a nation and garner attention worldwide. By most accounts, this seems to have been a revolution from below, and that gives me a lot of hope. Ordinary people who come together around an important cause can bring even the most oppressive police states to their knees. A friend of mine who spent a summer in Egypt in the ’90s said the Egyptian secret police held the people in a constant grip of fear. They were on every street, watching.

What’s reassuring and affirming to me about Egypt is that social movements that rely on the simple, but courageous and effective action of ordinary people do exist and can succeed. Movements don’t have to have a charismatic leader or two to bring about needed change. They just need a bunch of people who are fed up with the current reality, who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer and who are willing to put their own lives and “stories” on the line to see that the current reality become a former reality.

Sound familiar? 🙂

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