Friday, February 11, 2011

Achtung Baby!

I'm old enough to remember jubilant Germans standing atop a graffiti-covered wall with sledgehammers and euphoria, but I was twelve years old and not yet able to fully comprehend why what I was watching was so significant. The feeling of seeing that joy turned out to have a profound effect on my life.

But that triumph belonged to another generation. I was a child when the Cold War was escalating itself out of existence while the Islamic revolution in Iran was just getting underway and Lebanon fought its apocalypse and Arab dictators padded their bank accounts. I was three years old when Hosni Mubarak took power. I was a teenager when Islamic fundamentalism replaced the Soviet Union as "The Enemy," a result of Iran and Lebanon and the various dictatorships in the Arab World. Right now, I am listening to Ahmad, who owns a liquor store across the street, light firecrackers in the road after watching the same jubilation more than two decades after the sledgehammer crushed the hammer and the sickle. This is my generation's Berlin Wall.

Oh what a day after last night's heartbreak! I couldn't take my eyes off the Blackberry when I wasn't in a place with a television. When it was announced yet another presidential statement would be made, I hurried home and flipped on the tube. It only took 30 seconds to ignite euphoria. Aljazeera English once again showed how good it is by having not one talking head say a word for a full ten minutes as we listened to the crowd of more than 3 million make the name Liberation Square mean something again.

This is not just a great day for Egyptians or Arabs, but a great day for all of humanity. Congratulations, people of Egypt. You have been an inspiration to the whole world.

No comments:

Post a Comment