I’m dreaming some of Egypt, feeling that joyous swoop of energy from yesterday, and all it says about the possibilities for tomorrow. During the key moments in the last few days — Egyptians’ hopes were lifted by promises of getting what they wanted, Mubarek’s non-resignment speech, the subsequent heartbreak and commitment of many voices to given whatever is needed for real change, and then the slippery rumors of Mubarek leaving town that led to the announcement that he had indeed resigned — we were driving across Kansas. Up and down hills (and yes, dear readers who don’t live here, Kansas is full of hills) that gave us NPR as fast as it took it away, we were playing radio roulette, trying to land on the news as it unfolded. Heading west, we turned to each other somewhere well past the Smokey Hills but still east of Colby, and yelled out, “Oh, no! He’s not resigning? WTF?” Heading east the next day, somewhere between Hays and Salina, we high-fived and yelled out in happiness. For hours afterward, listening to pundits and politicians speculate just as we had been doing, we double-checked our initial explanations, turned up the volume whenever the radio replayed Egyptians yelling in joy at the news, and shut off the radio in the valleys before turning it back up on the hilltops.
It’s not just about one country stopping its daily grind to bring together millions who want democracy; it’s about one of the oldest known civilians, a country that’s been a country for what? 6,000 friggin’ years rising up out of concentrated power in the hands on one pharoah, dynasty or ruler to finally claim its right for some kind of system that allows for many voices.
According to the Old Testament, it took my people a crazy-long time and all those plagues to get freedom from dictator-like Egyptian rule. It’s astonishingly and brilliantly miraculous that now, without plagues or more than the tiniest outbreaks of violence, millions of Egyptians used their feet and voices to land in the kind of freedom that makes anew the old land. Welcome home, Egyptians!