A nation and a people suffering from over 30 years of a dictator’s rule, hunger, poverty, and oppression. That description could apply to countless places across the globe and the human condition. However, today we celebrate the fearless determination that unfolded before the eyes of the world at Liberation (Tahrir) Square, in Cairo, Egypt.
With baited breath, the world watched the hope of democracy march throughout the streets of Egypt, and change the course of history before our eyes. While enamored, by the emotion and celebration taking place, thoughts couldn’t help remind one of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
So much in common, between both nations – yet different processes to achieving very similar results. Much has happened in Iraq since 2003 – although one can’t help but acknowledge how much the movement at Tahrir Square has broadened our ideals about achieving democracy.
Initially, attention was sparked by the passion of Asmaa Mahfouz, an Egyptian young activist who in her YouTube video appealed to the untapped influence of everyone who watched. “Never say there’s no hope! Hope disappears only when you say there’s no hope,” declared Mahfouz. Later, it became the sight of Christians placing themselves between rocks hurled into the crowd praying Muslims –creating a ring of protection around them.
Yes, Egyptians met at the intersection of democracy, and technology – but it was their unwavering faith that drove them there. However, Liberation Square is not new to us. We have been there before. It was Selma, Montgomery, Greensboro, Little Rock, Oakland, Washington D.C., and scores of other intersections of change. It was people of faith in action- united for justice and equality.
In the words of Robert Kennedy, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope…and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Tunisia and Egypt is an inspiration to us all. As people of faith there is work for us to do together. I pray we all add to the ripple of hope, and become swept up in the current of turning our faith into action.
Denisha M. DeLane is the founder and publisher of faithinthebay.com – a Bay Area lifestyle digest for people of faith. She is also a former member of the NAACP Board of Directors.