Friday, 4 February 2011

Good luck Egypt, the world is cheering for you.

Atheists, to my regret, have thus far failed to coin a phrase more resonant than "God help them", exclamation being so infused with religious terms.  Instead, I hope with all my heart that Egyptian helps Egyptian today, the 'Day of Departure', a 21st Century civic D-Day.  Will they march on the palace? Will the army finally flinch? Will Mubarak be forced to step down and would the people settle for Suleiman?  Having done my back in, I shall be watching the bravest example of journalism since Bradley Manning leaked those files, that of Al Jazeera (English Version). It will be an emotional ride as I cheer the brothers and sisters I never knew I had on their struggle to end the nightmare of dictatorship.

Whatever the outcome, we are seeing a seismic shift in Geo-politics.  Don't think for a second that with the Euro still in danger, the utter failure to reform the financial system, the widening inequality and the like, politicians the world over aren't thinking to themselves just how far this could spread.  This fight for freedom (a stunningly rare occurrence given that some would have it used as the subtitle for edited highlights of the last decade.) is being watched worldwide, the majority cheering for those who have finally had enough with living under a dictator.  They outnumber armchair Mubarak fans by thousands to one.  It provides empathy through shared memes (#jan24: symbol for 'freedom') in just the same psychological way that sports fans bond.  That isn't to belittle the situation; that's to accept humanities beautiful capacity to empathise.  And it's that which is going to win us this battle against corruption and abuse of power everywhere.

If the protest groups that gained freedom in Tunisia can gain political representation of some description and reach out to (we hope) protest groups that gained freedom and political significance in Egypt and beyond, then they have an amazing opportunity to form bonds from the unique (in the multinational sense) position of already having a strong bond.  Has this happened before?  There is a certain anti-politics in the expressions of the last few weeks, unless the manifesto from the Gaza Youth has influenced subsequent views.  Has dissonance simply got to a point already whereby political reality and social reality are now too far apart, creating a generation of cynical, sceptical youth?  It is clearly on the rise in West, and I'd put money on a lot of people in Greece being inspired by Egypt at this very moment.

But today is Egypt's day.  We must do everything we can to help.  Phone your congress, phone your MP, offer words of hope and encouragement online and continue to develop this shared, global, imagined identity.  Everyone is linked now, in ten years time: ten times more so, a crowd-sourced, democratised (pray* it stays so) global identity.  If all those who legitimately support freedom continue to support it, be assured that when your time comes, the people of newly, truly, democratic Egypt will have your back. 

* See what I mean?

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