Monday, February 7, 2011

I am Egyptian

My name is Adham. The urge to write the above words for the world to see took me a little by surprise. I have always been averse to any form of nationalism, wherever it may originate. I have also lived most of my life outside Egypt. I have lived in great places, and met great people.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always been proud of where I came from. But I wasn’t really sure why. It just seemed like you had to be proud of where you came from. If I thought a bit, I found some reasons… good food, pyramids, bla bla bla. I remember when I was a kid and found out South American cultures had pyramids too, I was kinda bummed. I hurried to check ours were bigger.

Every time I looked towards Egypt, or visited, or saw an Egyptian team in international sport, a powerful sense of belonging would come over me. It would come, and it would pass. But after the past two weeks it will never pass again while I still breathe. Now I know, I know deep inside me:

I am Egyptian.

I sat and wondered where this change came from. I set upon inspecting my own beliefs. I’ve always thought that we were great, friendly people. Many of us achieved success on an individual level in many fields and many countries, just like people from other countries. On an individual level, we were no less than anyone else. What I also believed though, is that as a people we would never stand up for our rights. I couldn’t see how this would ever change. It was too complicated.

In the past couple of weeks, people proved me wrong. They stood up, at great personal expense, and took massive risks to demand our rights. They continue to do so. Some have fallen and will never be forgotten. Others continue to put their necks on the line every day to stand up for what they believe in, for what we all believe in.

No matter what happens now, these people have brought about changes that can never be undone. Changes that will affect not only themselves, but every Egyptian. We owe these people a debt of gratitude we will never be able to repay.

To those who did what had to be done, who relentlessly pursued freedom in the face of violence, intimidation, fear, and even opposition by their fearful peers…

Thank you.

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