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AMASHIWI

"The day will come when history will speak...Africa will write its own history, it will be a history of glory and dignity" - Patrice Lumumba

"They can because they think they can" - Virgil (Inspirational quote in Zambian newspaper The Daily Mail, 13th February 2012 to describe the Chipolopolo AFCON win)

"Be yourself, everyone else is taken" - Oscar Wilde

"The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever seen" - Albert Einstein








Friday, 28 January 2011

Egypt - Following in Tunisia's Footsteps

It seems that Egyptians are committed to following in their North African brothers' footsteps and are looking to oust President Mubarak who has been in power for even longer than Tunisia's Ben Ali, having had a tight grip on the Land of the Pharaohs for 32 years now. Curfews are now in place as the violence escalates.  I do not condone violence, I'd like to think that as an intelligent species we can use reason and logic through carefully crafted arguments to battle and win, but as a collegue remarked in a conversation last week, we humans forget that we are animals.  We are just as visceral  as we are cerebral.  Sometimes violence is our only recourse.  And it is clear that North African citizens are tired of trying to reason with words or staying quiet through inaction.  With the Tunisians successfully removing and calling for Ben Ali's arrest, while moving forward towards democracy, is it any wonder that other states are following suit?

Here is a video showing just how passionate Egyptians are for change and just how much the current establishment is committed to resisting.



The man showing his bloody hands really got me thinking.  He said:

"They shot at us! Why? I don't know! Who are we, the enemy?! Am I an enemy of the state? I just came here to ask for rights, I came here to ask for a home, for a dignified life. For a regime who's been in power for 30 years to go away."

There is such disillusionment in Egypt that I had no idea about.  I keep thinking of ads I see on CNN about going to Egypt and that is the image that I have:



I think of them as being vital to peace in the Middle East - helpers rather than struggling for their own peace and freedoms. The unrest starting with the Coptic killings has really taken me by surprise.  I am ashamed that I have not looked past the media to understand all parts of the African continent better.  I am glad that I have made the effort this year to cover the whole continent more fairly that I did in the last.

It is interesting that social media has paid a huge part in coordinating protests and engaging not just activists, but the average citizen in both Tunisia and Eygpt.  As a blogger taking advantage of the affordances mobile and online technologies have brought us, I am happy to see it working to help citizens exercise their rights.  I hope it will also be used to educate, not only those who are in the thick of it, but the rest of us in the periphery so that we have an understanding too. I just hope that the violence ends soon.  Tunisia has also inspired a similar movement in Yemen.  I wonder if other African countries will be inspired too.  I am glad that Sudan is dealing with the referendum in a peaceful fashion and seems ready for the change, I think enough blood has been shed there already so I am thankful.  Will other apathetic nations, and I am thinking of one in particular somewhere in Southern Africa find their voice too?

I leave you with the words of the woman in the video who is clearly searching desperately for an oasis in the desert and is prepared to drink sand until she finds it (I know, a very cheesy yet appropriate metaphor I think): "We are tired....We are Egyptians, we love Egypt, but stop this!" Inshallah, her wish will be granted soon.


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