“We got a message from Tunis,” Hosam Khalaf, a 50-year-old engineer stopped me to say. “And the message was: Don’t burn yourself up; burn up the fear that is inside you. That is what happened here. This was a society in fear, and the fear has been burned.” Khalaf added that he came here with his wife and daughter for one reason: “When we meet God, we will at least be able to say: ‘We tried to do something.’ ”
Thomas L. Friedman: “Speaker’s Corner on The Nile”
Photos from the protests in Cairo
I’m wondering if the speech Obama gave in Egypt in June 2009 had a greater impact than many realized. Then he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe just having a leader of such character and hope who quoted from the Qur’ an and refused to give the speech unless the entire cabinet of Egypt were in attendance, created an energy that helped motivate the people, especially the young people, to start down a road to what is happening now. His speech was embracing and empathetic and very inspiring, I think. Just a thought.
Oh, absolutely… and if you asked me, the speech he gave in Tuscon, had influence too.
I cannot cease to marvel how everything is related…
“When we meet God, we will at least be able to say: ‘We tried to do something.’ ”
Love this part.
I didn’t see the speech of Obama but I have been in Cairo twice after his speech and I do not remember anyone speaking about Obama.
Speaking from my own experience I would say that Tunisians and Egyptians in general do not like the USA. In the eyes of the people I have met the USA stands for interference, hypocrisy and being the biggest friend of Israel. I wonder if people in the west know how much Israel is hated by people on the streets of the Arab countries. Also people do not forget that the USA and Europe were the biggest supporters of both Mubarak and Ben Ali.
The sound that I hear is; We do not need the west to tell us how to live.
Talking about hope…
I do not think we can compare Tunisia and Egypt. Tunisia was mostly ruled by the Trabelsi clan. Ben Ali was more and more a puppet. The overthrow in Tunisia was a lot more extensive then in Egypt. In Egypt only Mubarak had to leave. But he is still protected by his military clan. The head is gone, but the body is still standing strong.
The Tunisians were able to get rid of the head as well as the body.
In Tunisia live has become even more difficult now. The economic situation is catastrophically bad. There are big problems with the police force. And as far as I can see the country lacks a good leadership to lead the country through this difficult period.
The only hopeful thing I see is that people and journalists are not afraid anymore to speak out. There is (a lot more) freedom of speech. My hope is that this voice. The voice of the people will be strong and loud enough.
Thank you for your insight, Raoef. I am sure there is still a world of difference between how we look at these events and how Egyptians are experiencing it. Time will tell …but them it feels like time has gone too…
And of course…
When they meet God, they will at least be able to say: ‘We tried to do something.’