Thousands of anti-Mubarak protesters celebrate in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday after hearing that Hosni Mubarak had stepped down as Egypt’s president. Linda Davidson / The Washington Post
It seems that the people …who would be free…are now free.
I wept with joy when the news flash came that President Hosni Mubarak had stepped down. The people stood their ground. They practiced non-violent protest …and their voices were heard.
Mr. Mubarak’s stepping down doesn’t mean that everything is A-OK. There needs to be an election. Major internal changes will have to be made …but thank God that the people stood their ground. They got “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” as Civil Rights worker Fannie Lou Hamer once said, and they snatched their freedom from a reluctant, resistant and rebellious leader.
Mr. Mubarak said in recent remarks that he thought “outside influences” were making the people act as they were acting, a statement with which I took umbrage. People were born to be free and were meant to be treated as humans with dignity, not as objects to be ignored, used and scorned.
What happened was that the people lost their fear, and embraced faith. Fear and faith cancel each other out; it is impossible to have faith if fear covers one’s spirit. The ancient Israelites had to have enough faith to believe that the waters God parted for Moses would not swallow them up as they fled the Pharaoh who wanted to kill them.
Had they embraced fear, they would have been defeated and been taken back into slavery.
The Egyptian people lost their fear of repression and repercussions by the Mubarak regime, and it gave them the faith and the strength to stay the course. It is not unlike the faith shown by African Americans as they fought for their civil rights in this country. There was nothing that Mr. Mubarak could do or threaten that the people feared; their faith took over and fed their determination.
The people would be free.
What Mr. Mubarak did not realize is that this yearning to be free, the same yearning that the earliest Americans had, to be free from British rule, is a force that is remarkable in its strength. It is only when people are not afraid that they can force change, and one thing that eventually makes people lose their fear is the desire to be free.
Oppressed humans are liked caged birds or caged animals. At first, they cling to their cages, not realizing that if the door is opened, they can get out, and then, when they see an open door, they are afraid to go out. They know nothing but oppression…
But once they realize that they can get out, little by little their senses change, and faith and determination replaces fear…and they will fly, whatever the cost.
That’s what happened in Egypt. It happened for African Americans in this country. It fueled the earliest Americans to leave England and suffer horrible hardships.
The people …would be free.
We have seen evidence of that truth today in Cairo.