As I watched the protestors in Egypt railing against their government so that they might gain freedom from thirty years of being ruled by a dictator, I felt an overwhelming joy that I was able to witness the courage and bravery that we humans are capable of.
I was especially taken with the young people and the fervor they portrayed. It gave me pause to think about how often society mocks the habits of the young, especially their attachment to cell phones and texting. I have often remarked to my grandchildren that they will soon become one with their phones. However, this amazing foray into a nation’s democracy would not have occurred without the spirit of the young and the social networking that they have so grown accustomed to. It shows unequivocally that technology can be a tremendous blessing and that we must use it as such rather than as a conduit to becoming alienated from one another.
I also felt incredible gratitude as I listened to the participants in the rallies for the many years I have lived in freedom. We, Americans have never been held hostages by a government that disallows our ability to follow our hopes and dreams. Our right to speak out is available and encouraged. Our airwaves are filled with individuals who are allowed to say just about anything. The Egyptian government and others like it do not allow any news that vilifies those in public office. Not a day goes by here without some caustic and crude remark about some politician. We do not sit in fear in our homes waiting for some covert agency to show up and spirit us away to never be seen again. We come and go without restraint, unless we are a criminal or deemed insane, and even then we are not put in a gulag type facility to be left drooling and overmedicated.
I hope that many of you felt a new-found respect for your freedom as I did. I know I take it for granted because I have become accustomed to the privileges it gives me. Perhaps this is the greatest lesson we can learn from Egypt’s journey to freedom, that we must never take living in this country for granted. We are fortunate and because we are, it is our responsibility to make sure we never surrender our freedom to anyone.