from Echoes of an Autobiography, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies
I was less than seven years old when I said a prayer for the revolution. One morning I went to my primary school escorted by the maid. I walked like someone being led off to prison. In my hand was a copybook, in my eyes a look of dejection, in my heart a longing for anarchy. The cold air stung my half-naked legs below my shorts. We found the school closed, with the janitor saying in a stentorian voice, “Because of the revolution, there will be no school today.”
A wave of joy flowed over me and swept me to the shores of happiness.
From the depths of my heart I prayed to God that the revolution might last forever.
Eighteen months after uprisings began across the Arab world, hope and heartbreak coexist in struggles that indeed seem as though they may last forever. As bombs detonate in Damascus and Baghdad, as Libya churns in uncertainty, Bahrain trembles in brutally imposed silence, and Egypt debates its future, I pray for the realization of dreams of self-determination and for the safety and preservation of the dignity of the citizens of the region.
“I must confess, my friends, the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will be still rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. There will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. We may again with tear-drenched eyes have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. … let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” MLK JR
Every iteration of strength and hope I can muster I direct towards the people of Libya tonight, and to all my brothers and sister’s under the fist of oppressive regime and brutal dictatorship. I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Cornel West speak two nights ago, and he reminded the audience that, “A blues person is always a long distance runner.” I agree, but the omnipresent spark of hope in me senses the finish line is just around the corner for the people of the Middle East. Your legs may be weary and heavy, but I urge you to keep pushing. The free world is watching, and we recognize our collective histories in your marches. Ya Yemen, Ya Jordan, Ya Bahrain, Ya Libya, we hear your pleas for freedom, and affirm your right for just governance, even if the governments representing us hide behind policies that support stability over justice. I reject American hypocrisy and honor the nobility of your activism. Stay strong.
If Hosni actually wanted to “defend Egypt’s safety and stability and its people’s wishes” he would be on a plane.
Sending out hired thugs to “counter-protest” and incite violence does not reflect the wishes of Egyptians, it reflects and mirrors the last 30 years of your reign. Ya Mubarak, don’t plant looters and chaos, just get out. For over a week now, Egyptians have said it loud and clear: KHALAS, ENOUGH.
Your regime? khalas. Scare tactics? khalas. Thugs? khalas. Corruption? khalas. Police brutality, poverty, indignity, oppression, fear… khalas. As my Teta would say, enough is enough.