I hope that now that Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday hoopla is behind us and his devotees have admitted that he is, in fact, dead, we can move on. The Super Bowl is also behind us and we can hope for Spring. No, not Spring Training! Spring, the season when the earth warms up and the migrating birds and butterflies return. (The human whimps who flee each year to warmer climates can stay where they are.)
We can also focus on important matters. A massive, popular revolution is transforming Egypt and the vibrations can be felt all through the Middle East and the entire moslem world. There have been two extraordinary personal accounts [Here and Here] that gave me a glimpse into the proud world of Tahrir (Liberation) Square. Huffpost has even posted an account of a wedding that was held there. [Here] Although the newly-weds’ parents could not be there, the couple received congratulations from all over the world.
One very moving personal account was written by two NYTimes reporters who were arrested and detained by the Egyptian authorities and then turned over to the feared and hated Egyptian secret police (the Mukhabarat). While left all night in a cold cell with overhead fluorescent lights and hard orange plastic stools, the two reporters, Souad Mekhennet and Nicholas Kulish, heard the sounds from other cells where prisoners were interrogated and beaten. As they wrote: [Here]
Captivity was terrible. We felt powerless — uncertain about where and how long we would be held. But the worst part had nothing to do with our treatment. It was seeing — and in particular hearing through the walls of this dreadful facility — the abuse of Egyptians at the hands of their own government.
For one day, we were trapped in the brutal maze where Egyptians are lost for months or even years. Our detainment threw into haunting relief the abuses of security services, the police, the secret police and the intelligence service, and explained why they were at the forefront of complaints made by the protesters.
I hope that other journalists who were held and saw some of the brutality of this secret police will begin to report their experiences. It is to these brutes that our own government has sent some of our prisoners who were detained in Guantánamo. (Shame on all Americans who have not protested.)
Another extraordinary account by one of the protestors has been distributed by The Women’s Media Center. The short essay was written by famed Nawal El Saadawi, feminist, physician, teacher, and writer. Of course, she is there to bear witness to the popular revolution. She writes: [Here]
Now, almost age 80, I have lived to witness and participate in the Egyptian Revolution of 25 January 2011.
I am writing this Sunday morning 6 February 2011. For 12 days and nights now, millions of Egyptian women and men, Muslims and Christians, people of all ideologies and beliefs—the Egyptian people—have continued to unite under the banner of spontaneous popular revolution. They unite against the existing corrupt, tyrannical system, rotten from the head to the feet of the modern Pharaoh. His throne is sticky with the blood of the people, as his ruling party releases thugs to kill the young, and parliament’s deputies forge fake laws, while trading in land and women, drugs and bribes.
This is like a dream.
I live with these young men and women day and night, watching as they form committees to take on the work of daily cleaning the field to the transfer of the injured to hospital, to the provision of food and medicines, to defending the field and responding to the regime’s lies in the media, to the nomination of names for the Transitional Government.
We are one people. Everyone calls for the departure of Mubarak and his men in the Party and the government, calls for an end to the bloodshed like that last Wednesday, and an end to corruption, tyranny, and over 30 years of entrenched governance, and calls for a chance to speak the rest of our reality out loud to the world.
Let us hope that our government and its leadership can find the wisdom and the humanity to deal justly with the demand for democracy that appears to be coming from all parts of Egypt, not just from Liberation Square.
Yes, let us hope...