Monday, February 14, 2011
Baladna [noun]: our country.
Last month, if you had asked any young adult in Egypt who's country this is, they would've said, "baladhom" - their country. Theirs. The people at the top. The people who have been running this country for the last 30 years or so. The corruption, the poverty, the unemployment, the inhumanity. Theirs. Baladhom.
Tuesday January 25th 2011. I remember thinking, "Why is everyone calling it a revolution? A few thousand people are hanging out downtown. Whats the big deal? They're gonna get rounded up by the riot police before we can all blink." By the end of the night, there were a couple of hundred thousand. The next day there was a quarter of a million. By Friday, there was a million. There was violence. People died. But there was a revolution, and nobody could deny it or say otherwise. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 3 weeks, then you've heard about all this already.
Friday February 11 2011. The end of Hosny Mubarak's dictatorial 30 year rule over Egypt. But I bet you knew that too.
Here's what you don't know: the Egyptian youth have memorized more nationalistic songs in the past 3 weeks than they're ever likely to memorize. They have stood shoulder to shoulder with people they were willing to die with. They know who our ministers are. They understand politics. They even have a political opinion. They have learned to hope. All of them.
I have never felt quite as Egyptian as I'm feeling right now. I've memorized the songs, stood with them, understood our politics, hoped with them. Felt the change. Wanted and fought for freedom, humanity, liberty, and dignity. Basic human rights that the youth of this country are only starting to feel today for the first time. Human rights I would've fought for anywhere in the world.
Today, if you ask any young adult in Egypt who's country this is, they will say, "baladna" - our country. OURS. Mine and yours. Mine to stamp out the corruption, mine to clean up (literally and figuratively), mine to voice my opinion about, mine to work in, mine to thrive and grow in.
For someone as homeless as me, the events of the last 3 weeks have reassured me that I will always have a home in Egypt.