Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keep the flag rising: a letter to Egyptians


مقالي في الايجبيشيان جازيت وبيكيا مصر

Oh my Egyptian people! … the kindest and the simplest of all peoples … who have endured lots and lots throughout your lives and your history … who extended your hand with blessing to everyone … and never expected a return from anyone. Oh my people! … who have always been the beating heart of the Arab world, and their frontier defending its dignity, its honor, its sacred and its identity. Oh my people! … who have been drawing the picture of civilization ever since history began … a civilization that commanded the acknowledgment and the awe of the world.

Oh my people! … whose hearts overflow with love, gratitude, appreciation and respect to all your brothers and sisters and your guests … who have the tender smile and the constant laugh – in spite of all the hardships you have to go through … in spite of dire living conditions, recurring disappointments and the murdering of your dreams every day.

Oh my Egyptian people! It is a historical moment that we have reached, no doubt. It is a moment that brought all Egyptians – from all classes, all creeds and all orientations – together. It is a moment with feelings raised, energy gathered, and history – with all our accomplishments, real or not – recalled. It is a rare moment in our modern history when we are all raising the national flag – in our homes, on our cars and everywhere in Egypt – in unprecedented numbers and density. It is a moment in which Egypt looks like a bride, in a magnificent dress, uniting our people – regardless of how trivial the reason of unity is and in spite of the fact that it does not raise to our greater dreams and our real aspirations.

You could see the enthusiasm, the determination and the defiance in the faces. All were anticipating the moment of rejoice, the moment of success – any success, even in a football game. Regardless of all what happened before the two games and afterwards – events that will leave open wounds in the hearts of the two peoples, especially the Egyptian people who will not easily forget what happened in Sudan. Regardless of all this, it is time. It is time to reflect, rethink – and to seize.

Oh my Egyptian people! While our glowing feelings and psychological excitement are maximized, let us raise and nurture our true patriotism. Let us belong to our country truly – a true belonging that will bless our country and create a better future for its people. Let us concern ourselves with our reality, our daily lives, and let us insist on taking our rights from a tyrannical regime – a regime that corrupted our lives and made sadness, pain, annoyance and failure our national characters – a regime that tries to suppress our ability to think and absorb it into trivial matters. Let us dream our dream – a real dream, a full dream, a powerful dream. Let us dream with a renaissance, with an uprising that reaches all areas of our lives. Let us dream of raising our heads amongst the peoples of the world. Let us dream of restoring our position, after we have retreated behind countries with no history and no civilization. Let us restore respect for our people and dignity for ourselves amongst the nations of the world. Let us do that with a project of renewal, rebirth and regeneration of our Egyptian nation – one which it deserves.

Egypt – the nation that blessed the world with symbols and geniuses in every area of competition – can. Egypt can – if there is the political will that is coupled with popular adoption of the idea and pressure for it – a pressure that will transform our country significantly. And the examples of post-WWII Germany and Japan, and of India Malaysia and many others are not far from us.

Egyptians are now united, government and people, for the sake of one purpose. The purpose might be seen as trivial by some. Nevertheless, it did unite Egyptians and it had them all concentrating on one purpose, for the sake of which, all their power and energy was gathered. In doing this, we have seen an example of how powerful and effective the media and art are to the renaissance of any nation – were it to be used in the context of a project that has clear goals and integrated visions.

In order to be realistic, we have to emphasize that any renaissance project has to begin with a healthy environment, one that marked with freedom, transparency and responsibility. And this will not happen before we engage in the fight for democracy and before we impose it on our rulers ourselves. We will not be able to stand up while we are deprived of democracy. Any talk about an economic prosperity in the midst of a dictatorial regime rotted with corruption is exercise in futility, is concealment of facts and is depreciation of our minds. Any discussion of flourishing of art, culture or science in the shadow of unequal opportunity and absence of basic rights and freedoms is deception forwarded by the powers of darkness and will only keep us in an endless cycle whose fruits are depression and despair and whose creation is terrorism and extremism.

If we are honest in our desire of a bright future for our people, let us keep the flags rising. But let us redirect our feelings and our dreams towards what Egypt deserves – and Egypt deserves what is much better. Millions of Egyptians, old and young, women and men, gathered together for some unique moments, gathered together by hope for success and for happiness. It does not matter how small the goal was; we need it; we hope for it. How would it be then if the success, the happiness and the hope is by and for a new future and a true national renaissance?

Oh my Egyptian people! You have a date with a dream and with a hope. Go for it. Go for it while continuing to raise your flags and continuing to belong to your country – a conscious belonging, a sincere belonging. Because this is the hope and the success that Egypt deserves.

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