I am not particularly enthusiastic about New Year’s Eve. My favourite in the last decade was in 2007/8; my wife and I watched a movie, and fell asleep at 11pm. That is usually the extent of my excitement on this night. But it seems that a lot of my dear friends take this evening rather seriously, and are becoming very melancholic all of a sudden.
Particularly my Egyptian ones, who are comparing the passing of 2012 to 2013, to that of 2011 to 2012 – and they are feeling rather depressed as a result.
So, while I would be happy to let this day and night pass with barely a mention, I cannot, in good conscience, let my friends be tempted to get into a rut, even for a short while. After all, considering that I inflict my writing upon them on a regular basis (which I am tempted to call verbal diarrhoea), let alone the world at large (through charitable, if unwise, editors), surely it would not be fair to leave them on this occasion. So, here it is:
You, oh Egyptian, ought not be depressed, verging on despair. On the contrary: you ought to be optimistic, and dare to believe in hope. Leave aside the turning of 2011 to 2012 – remember, instead, the fading of 2010 into 2011. You cannot? How surprising.
Actually, it isn’t at all – because most of you were almost asleep inside. Worse than that: you did not even know you were asleep inside. You had been so numbed by the dulling effect of Mubarak’s regime, your senses were just about switched off.
Those days, oh Egyptian, are over. Yes, things have not worked out quite the way you hoped they might. But you know what? The day, let alone the night, is still young. It has been less than two years, and you are still here. You still care. Every day should cause you to wake up and smile – because every day, it is yet another Egyptian that stands in the light, and refuses to bow to any human being. It is yet another Egyptian that insists, stubbornly, to remain conscious, and alive, instead of being deaf and dumb inside, regardless of the odds stacked against him. Or her.
Oh yes: or her. Never, ever, forget her. She is, in all honesty, the real weapon of this revolution – the Egyptian lady who cannot be overcome, regardless of how many might try.
There will be a time, many years from now, when historians, writers, and inane pundits like me, will write about this era in Egypt’s history. They will assign students questions about how the revolution was a success or a failure. You, oh Egyptian, are a part of that story that they will study. You live in this time – you reside in this era of historical proportions, and you, yourself, are a chapter of that saga.
I tell you frankly – in the end, you will not get to decide if it is a failure or a success. That is beyond you, beyond me, and beyond all of us. None of us get to make such decisions – such things are beyond our purview.
But we do make one decision. We choose if we are going to be like those who have gone into the dark, and forgotten all that has come to pass. We choose if we are going to be like those who were as swords forged in fire, and cooled in a square called Tahrir. We choose if we are going to be like those who were as water that splashes away when a tide comes. We choose if we are going to be like those who are as the rock upon which the tide splashes.
That is a choice for each and every one of you, and each and every one of us. It is a choice that no one else can make for you – neither friend nor foe. That much lies in our hands – because that much is our responsibility. It is in your hands to choose to stand on the line; to refuse to submit to any human being; and to smile as your destiny unfolds.
It was never going to be easy. But the miracle, my friends, has already taken place. You are the living proof of it – already. Your resilience, your brightness, your spirit – it is all proof of the miracle that is constantly manifesting itself every day. There is no need to have hope in this – because it already exists. You only need to remind yourself, and open your eyes to it. And as long as you can do that, you never lose.
As for me – I can find no other justifiable state to be in, except one of utter and indescribable gratitude. I can find no words, other than honour, to describe how it was to have been in the midst of this struggle – with you. And I pray that I will be granted that nobility, as I was blessed with before, to stand with you again, and again.
It has been, remains, and I am sure will be in the future, a great privilege.
P.S. The Revolution’s new year is in 3 weeks. See you there. #Tahrir #Jan252013