Today on February 11, 2011, we saw Egyptian dictator Mubarak finally step down and make way for the possibility of a democratic government in Egypt after 18 days of full on protests by the young people in Egypt on Tahrir Square. Tahrir mean liberation in Egyptian. And the square is full of people celebrating.
And I am sitting here, feeling tears of relief. Of joy and gratitude. Feeling a hard place in my heart melting. Opening up to trust my dreams again.
As someone who remembers exactly how I felt on the day that John F. Kennedy was shot: listening to it on the radio. Watching my mother being upset. Being 6 years old, not understanding what it was all about, but knowing that it was important. Terribly important.
The days both Martin Luther King and Bobby Kenny were shot: being told by my mother with tears in her eyes when I came into the kitchen for breakfast. Both times. Again not quite comprehending why she cried, but knowing it was important.
All these events have shaped me life, my dreams and my hopes. My generation.
When the Kent State shootings happened on May 4th, 1970. When the squatter movement in Berlin turned violent on May 4, 1987. When the Tiananmen Square Shootings happened in June 4, 1989 and most likely 3000 young people were killed.
I held all these days, all these feelings of defeat, in my heart. A heart heavy with pain and sadness and loss. My hopes shrank. My dreams receded into the safety of the the far future.
And then came November 11, 1989, the Fall of the Berlin Wall. I was actually living in Berlin then, but that is another story.
The tide turned. The balance of power started having a new face. I knew then, that political miracles were possible.
In the wildest dreams of the peace movement in the 60s in Germany no one I knew had dared to dream such a peaceful solution to such a monumental problem. A country cut in half. A people cut in two for 28 years.
After months of protest by the young ones of East Germany the wall opened its tightly sealed gates. Without violence. So effortless. So strongly on the side of what the people wanted. What the young ones dared to dream.
Back to today, another day of victory for the people’s wishes. The wishes of the young ones. The dreamers. The ones full of hope. The bright ones.
Around 50% of the Arab population is under 30 years old. They do not remember all the shootings my generation carries around in our hearts and bellies. Luckily they do not remember. It made them strong in their dreams. Their hopes. In their demands.
Encouraged by their sisters and brothers in Tunesia, who on January 15, 2011 forced Ben Ali to step down after four weeks of daily protests. They call it the Jasmine Revolution.
The youth in Egypt only took 18 days to accomplish the same. Once again, the army sided with the people instead of following the command of the dictators. What a changed world, where even a trained body such as the army is making choices about who they support.
A world where even President Obama congratulates you on ousting a dictator on your terms.
My heart feels so much lighter. So relieved. So much so that I now feel that I too can dare to dream my dreams again. My big dreams.
Not in some far distant future. Not for my children when they are old. But now. Right now and here. Right here.
Thank you, all you young ones. For following your hearts and daring to dream and taking to the streets. For not giving up and thus giving me back my dreams. My dreams about the world I want to live in. My dreams about what is possible. My dreams about who I can be. Thank you all.