Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The Egyptian revolution has had ripple of effects that we have seen and some we haven't so far. It was a magnificent sight to see Egyptians from all walks of life, old and young, men and women, christian and muslim, all united as one. The spark was lit in Tunisia when people took to the streets to protest unemployment and corruption. It was allegedly sparked by the suicide of a young man who was barred from selling fruit without a permit. It spread like wildfire to Egypt when thousands of people protested the thirty year rule of Hosni Mubarak. Under Mubarak, the Egyptian people had to endure a three decade long state of unemployment, poverty, and government crookedness. After eighteen days of an intense stalemate, Mubarak finally resigned and gave power to the millitary. The Egyptian revolution spawned similiar uprisings in Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya. Whether or not these protest in these other Middle Easteren countries will force the change that happened in Egypt remains to be seen. One side effect it seems to have had an effect on is waking up the sleeping giant known as the United States of America. To look at their revolution as an American should remind us that This country was founded on protest and speaking up about conditions that are not right. The Boston Massacre was an incident that led to the deaths of five civilians at the hands of British soldiers. The legal aftermath of this incident helped spark rebellion in the colonies that culminated in the American Revolutionary War. Throughout our country's history there have been examples of protest to make change. In 1913, Alice Paul led a march of eight thousand women participants on President Woodrow Wilson's inaugration day. Seven years later, women finally won the right to vote throughout the nation. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and social protest campaign that started in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama intended to oppose the city's policy of racial segregation on its public transportation system. The movement had siginificant historical figures including a young reverend by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. The boycott was one of the catalysts for the civil rights movement.During the sixties protest sprung up all over the country. The initial protest were in support of the civil rights movement. Young African-Americans and young caucasians marched together hand in hand in the deep south to try to erode the ignorant way of Jim Crow. When the United States became involved in Vietnam, anti-war protest came to fruition. The Kent State protest resulted in death. All thru that era of the 60's and 70's there was a new sense of making a difference and making a change by any means necessary. When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, it ushered in a era of super capitalism defined by the phrase "greed is good." It is not a coincedence that when captialism was at it's apex, productive protest in the U.S. seemd to be at it's lowest. With the coming of the 90's and the 21st century, playing video games and watching reality shows were chose over speaking your mind. Why get off of the comfortable couch to go out and give these politicians a piece of your mind when you can stay home and feed your face? The education system is disengrating before right before eyes and more and more people seem dumbed down. The internet and social networking which can be informative and a resourceful tool, is instead used for buffonery and ignorance. Then came Egypt. The siginificance of Facebook and Youtube was a important way the people used to let their struggle be seen to the rest of the world. Americans got to see the images of what positive protest can accomplish, real change. Did we see in the Egyptians something remind of US of how we USED to be? Maybe so as we have seen recently seen protests in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Maryland. Can we take it back and get that mentality that provokes change? Is this wave of protest in the United States a passing trend? Time will tell, but we can always look to our Egyptian brothers and sisters for reminding US what is the best in US.