Tuesday, February 1, 2011


From the cradle of civilization are coming the shouted demands for individual freedom and rights; shouts being heard resoundingly around the world.
Having been to Egypt twice in the past ten years, I am both moved and uplifted by the demonstrations, particularly when I saw young demonstrators, men and women, shouting "thief" when news cameras focused on a looter attempting to steal a chair from a downtown Cairo building that had been set ablaze, probably by more of his looter ilk. Several young men forced the looter to drop the chair and he high-tailed it.
Even more uplifting was watching Egyptians, mostly younger, some older, who formed a human chain around one of their country's most cherished buildings, Egypt's National Museum, which houses priceless antiquities from the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings, to protect it from roving gangs of looters. They were protecting not only their own heritage, but one their country shares with the world.
Egyptians must now choose their path to achieve the freedom to speak, to elect their leaders, to freely chart their future. If it is anything like America's path to democracy, it will be a path with many sharp turns and pitfalls.
Freedom is not easily won, and not easily maintained. But if accomplished by these young Egyptians who have taken their yearnings to the streets, it will be a shining achievement that will be honored and venerated by generations and civilizations to come.
I hope America stands in solidarity with the best aspirations of the Egyptian demonstrators, and not ignored as were those of brave young Iranians who took to the streets calling for the same freedoms as the Egyptian demonstrators, only to have those yearnings crushed by the silence of the Obama administration and the brutal repression of their own theocratic leaders.

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