In February, I went to a rally at the UN in solidarity with the Egyptian “revolution.”
It wasn’t a revolution—yet. Egyptian-Americans, Arab-Americans and yes, even some American-Americans held signs in support of the Egyptians’ struggle for democracy, chanting for the United States to stop giving the Mubarak $1.5 billion dollars per year, standing with the Egyptians against their corrupt regime.
It seemed like a possibility—in Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had fled from power in the face of a massive peoples’ revolt. However, it felt far fetched—Mubarak was giving speeches spewing his power-hungry greed and his complete and absolute ignorance of the people.
Still, we knew that though we were standing in solidarity, as a country that gives massive amounts of money to secure corrupt regimes that serve our multi-national corporate interests per year, our signs and Egyptian flags weren’t going to overthrow Hosni Mubarak. That work—if it was being done at all—was being done in Egypt.
Still, it felt important to stand in solidarity—sometimes, as protesters/activists/idealists—and yes, optimists, we need to displace logic to make room for imagination—our form of fervent prayer for a better world that just maybe—if we work together to create it—it will replace the world as we know it.
It is now October—almost November. Egypt is free, meanwhile the United States is engaged in a mass populist resistance against the corporate powers that embezzle money away from the people, robbing our youth of a viable future and almost everyone of a substantial income. The New York Police Department —and now the police around the country, in particular in Oakland, have engaged in violent police brutality—the same type of brutality that pushed people into the streets in Cairo in the name of Khaled Said.
Today, Egyptians marched from Tahrir Square to the American Embassy in a solidarity protest against police brutality—in America.
On Monday, Asmaa Mahouz—the woman who brought the Egyptians to the streets through a viral video, and has been arrested on several occasions—came to Liberty Plaza, gifting an Egyptian flag to Occupy Wall Street.
A few months ago—after the liberation of Egypt, and before the Americans realized that they were enslaved in the first place—I went to a talk back with Egyptian activists-revolutionaries, really. I was surrounded by the kind of white liberal progressives that make one vomit with their well intentioned racism and fascination with the “other.” One of them—a man, if that even makes the difference—asked if the Egyptians were looking to create a democracy, “like in America.”
Ahmed, one of the revolutionaries speaking who barely spoke English, laughed and said, “No, we want one like in Egypt.”