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Thank You, Egypt

An American organizer on Egypt’s lessons in people power.
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Tahrir Square, photo by Mona

The crowd in Egypt's Tahrir (Liberation) Square on February 8.

Photo by Mona

My heart is bursting from my chest today, tears on my cheeks, my skin covered in waves and waves of goosebumps as my body integrates the beautiful revolution in Egypt.

I am watching Al Jazeera, reading the voices of Egyptians on Twitter, watching and listening as the Egyptian protesters dance and sing and scream and celebrate the success of their revolutionary effort.

In case you don’t know yet, Hosni Mubarak, after 30 years of holding the presidency in Egypt, has been forced out of power by the Egyptian people after 18 days of revolution. And it’s not just him, it’s his entire regime. And it’s not just Egypt, it’s Tunisia, it’s the entire region! And instead of handing power over to the unacceptable vice president he appointed 14 days ago, Mubarak conceded power to the army, which has stated that it will stand with the people and the democratic process in this effort.

There is so much work to come as the people continue to learn how to hold power together. There is so much grief to process for the lives lost in this struggle, the martyrs who sacrificed themselves for something they knew was greater—justice.

And right now, there is this moment of feeling absolutely alive, feeling the absolute best potential of humanity when it rises up against corruption, against oppression, against violence.

If I could do backflips, or be a firework, or transport myself to Tahrir Square, I would.

All I can think is how beautiful it is when people love themselves so much that they cannot continue being compromised, when they must stand up for justice. It is so beautiful I can’t take my eyes off of it.

“I feel so proud to be Egyptian,” one person writes. “I love my people.” This is love, that inner transformation which allows you to be brave and persistent and nonviolent and put others before yourself. This is love, happening at a quantum scale.

And I feel so humbled. I live in the United States, where I constantly hear organizers talking about strategy—how can “we beat them?” I have felt, deeply, that it isn’t about the enemy, it’s about what is within you. Are you willing to step up, to put your voice and body behind your beliefs, to live in a new way? Are you willing to be fearless? Are you willing to see everyone as a potential ally in larger mission for justice?

Egypt Protest SeriesIn Egypt, Something Rare and Remarkable

From Cairo, a first-person account of the way Egyptians supported and protected one another during the historic protests that led to Mubarak's departure.

But I haven’t had enough modern models of love and inner transformation creating tangible large-scale change to draw on. Now, Egypt has given us this gorgeous model. Nonviolent, personal, loving, healing, taking care of each other and their country, and not giving up. Cleaning the streets, inviting the army to stand with the people, setting up recycling centers and medical stations and childcare and creating the society they longed for—that is what revolution can look like.

It is so important to me that this model of love and nonviolence comes to the world from the Arab world, from the very people who have been so internationally maligned and targeted, by my country and others, as “dangerous terrorists.” It is important for us all to grasp that, in fact, Egyptians are the current face of people’s power, of a new democracy, of a love-based transformational movement.

I am celebrating, I am crying and laughing and overjoyed. I am so grateful.

Thank you, Egypt. Thank you so, so much. Your love has changed the world.


Adrienne Maree Brown, mug

Adrienne Maree Brown was the national coordinator of the 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit. She also serves on the board of Allied Media, and is former director of the Ruckus Society, a network of volunteers who support nonviolent community-based direct action.

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