I was washing dishes at the cafe today when the radio started playing “way-oh-way-oh-way… Walk like an Egyptian.” I whistled along and thought back to my first dance recital. It was 1990 and the Bangles had just re-released “Walk like an Egyptian.” My dance teacher loved it so she choreographed a number to the hit song. Back in 1990 when I was slipping into my shiny emerald green “geenie” pants Hosni Mubarak was nearing his 10 year anniversary as president of Egypt. It’s been another twenty years and the people of Egypt have taken to the streets to protest against government corruption and extreme poverty. Egyptians are demanding democracy and calling for Mubarak to resign.
I am awed and inspired by the incredible courage that the citizens of Egypt have displayed over the last week. Despite state-sponsored attacks and threats, despite censorship aimed to quell these organized protests, the people of Egypt stand strong. I can only imagine the incredible drive, desire, and dedication that compels Egyptians to keep marching in the face of such violence.
Humming the Bangles’ catchy tune as I brewed up a fresh pot of coffee, I considered my role in the latest developments in Egypt. Isn’t it extremely important how the United States responds to the Egyptians’ organized protests? Many consider the United States to be the leading example of functioning democracy in our world. Maintaining a safe and democratic environment for peaceful protests is crucial. The recent violence in Egypt is an atrocious threat to democracy. The United States is the primary benefactor of the Egyptian regime. I do not want to live in a nation of hypocrisy. We cannot continue to fund the violent repression of democracy in Egypt. We must stand in solidarity with those who are currently risking their lives by protesting against injustice. We too must call for the immediate resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. As a nation and as a society we must stand up for peace and justice.
I want to channel even the tiniest shred of the tremendous courage we see on the streets of Egypt and call for truth and democracy in my home, in my workplace, in my town, in my country, in my world. I want to bravely stand up for what I know is right. I want to recognize the freedoms I do have and continue struggling for the ones I don’t have yet. I want to be strong. I want to be hopeful. I want to walk like an Egyptian.