We Are All Egyptians Underscored

In his op-ed piece yesterday, New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristoff reporting from Tahrir Square in Cairo drove home the point that this uprising is not about “them” the Egyptians, but about all of “us.” What is unfolding is an age-old event whereby the people revolt either to get out from an outmoded government or a repressive regime. Kristoff tells of his encounters with determined Egyptians beaten many times over but nowhere close to being defeated. They are all willing to put their life on the line. And they have their supporters: a doctor drives 150 miles to Cairo to volunteer at field hospital in the square; the elderly Dr. Nawal El Saadawi, a leading Arab feminist, is rejuvenated and falls into step with the protestors. They insist that Mubarak must step down–now. And all eyes in the region are on America. Will the US stand back and let the situation deteriorate because Mubarack has been seen as the lynchpin for stability in the region by maintaining an agreement for peace with Israel for the past 30 years? Or will the US and Americans stand by the Egyptians and show support for their struggle for change? Egypt is experiencing a big systems problem that is not unique. The protestors see a bigger picture and it is out of this concern for both their imminent future as well as the future of their children. As Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse told Leonard Lopate of WNYC radio, the young Egyptians see looming problems over food supply and lack of water. Like other Arab countries in the region, it has a large ratio of young people the majority of whom are unemployed. And what adds to their frustration is that their governments do not see them, much less listen to them. And what the past ten days show—they will be heard. They want to take on huge sustainability challenges and have a say in the direction of their country in the future and ultimately make a contribution to global sustainable value. This is where we need President Obama to step into his role as the global community organizer. No more throwing money at regimes, no more invasions or wars. There needs to be, instead, a world-wide conversation and dialogue now. Let the people self-organize around their concerns and allow them to generate the solutions. That is all they are asking for. To say what they are thinking, to see how that thinking stacks up with others and to brainstorm solutions and alternatives. There is an enormous global resource—and that is people. Yet it is the most underutilized natural resource worldwide, even in America. We do not value our students or have confidence in their natural curiosity and love for learning. Instead, the corporate obsession for “facts” and numbers (truth) has infiltrated and dismantled our education system to the detriment of our students’ creativity reflected in the country’s lack of innovation. I agree with Kristoff. May we all stand with our Egyptian brothers and sisters and support their victory. May they continue to inspire us and raise the banner of freedom and renew our hope in a more equitable world for everyone. Kristoff’s quick lesson in colloquial Egyptian Arabic bears repeating here: Innaharda, ehna kullina Misryeen! Today, we are all Egyptians!” (Underscore added).
Kristoff’s column: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/04/opinion/04kristof.html
Leonard Lopate interview with Lester Brown: http://bit.ly/i42xhL

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