Friday, February 11, 2011

Celebration in Egypt!

Congratulations go out to the people of Egypt for their persistence and dedication to democracy over the last few weeks. Hosni Mubarak has stepped down and left office.

Their collective spirit has been there for a while. In late 2008, I visited Alexandria right after Barack Obama was elected president. The Egyptian people were crazy about him. As soon as they found out I was American (and not British which was their first guess), they would smile and greet me with "Obama!" This happened more than once and was always celebratory. During this same trip, while wandering through a shopping mall, I came across a book on Barack Obama's life. It was written in basic English and included a hand-drawn picture that showed with an arrow how Barack was born next to a vacant lot. He was a ordinary man (with an Arabic name) who was able to win the honest vote of his people, particularly meaningful after all of the hanging chads and years of corruption related to George W. Bush.

Maybe, in addition to Tunisia's success, Barack Obama was one of the many things that touched the Egyptian heart and gave them confidence that a people's voice can be heard, even in an oppressive dictatorial state like their own. Their spirit, with an assertive attitude, toppled a corrupt government without bloodshed, without assassination, and without intrigue in just under three weeks through peaceful demonstration. What an amazing thing to have witnessed in the course of history.

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