We Are All Egyptians: Writing on the Square
Egypt is in the square.
–author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman on Charlie Rose
I just watched the most moving interview I’ve ever seen: Charlie Rose interviewing Thomas Friedman in Cairo about the revolution. It had tremendous immediacy and even more hope.
Predicting what will happen is impossible, but Friedman sees what’s happening as a growing, authentic, bottom-up revolution involving all parts of Egyptian society from the poor to the wealthy, demonstrating in Tahrir Square. No one is controlling the revolution, and no one knows where it’s going, but for that reason, it’s the most amazing, exciting event on the planet. The revolution is being televised around the world. If you’re not an oppressor, you’re in the square cheering for freedom, holding up humorous signs, helping ot prevent violence, and reading the newspaper the protesters publish.
After I wrote these words, Mubarak stepped down! The people won! What a victory for Egypt and for humanity! It’s the fourth of July in Liberation Square. (Tahrir means liberation.) It will inspire oppressed people everywhere, including the United States.
If the revolution leads to democracy, it will be one of history’s greatest moments. Who knows what other countries will throw off their oppressors?
Overthrowing an autocrat who had been ruling for thirty years in eighteen days with relatively few casualties. Hope without government is better than government without hope, but let us hope that America’s example will help Egyptians make the transition to the democratic government for which they’re struggling. The military has vowed to help ensure an election that reflects the will of the people.
Watch the interview if you can, but prepare to shed a tear. Friedman quoted the president of Stanford Research Institute who said that “What comes from the top is dumb and slow; what comes from the bottom is smart and chaotic.” But it’s also authentic.
As Egypt reinvents itself, now is an opportunity for you to think about how you can liberate and reinvent yourself so you’re living in harmony with the only person you were born to be. If you have to, start your own revolution.
What’s coming up from your bottom? What revolution do you need in how you think about yourself, your life, and your future? People and institutions tend to change only when change is less painful than the status quo. But yo don’t have to wait until then.
Your revolution probably won’t have to have anything to do with politics, although everything, including doing nothing, is political. But it should have everything to do with being the best writer and author you can be by serving your readers as well as you can. That’s all you can do, but it’s enough.
The revolution has unleashed a torrent of repressed creativity. May it do as much for you. It’s time to join the Egyptians in the square, which, for the moment, is the Earth’s beating heart. Find the authentic center of your life and celebrate being alive.