As a student of history I've been fascinated by Egypt and the Arab world for most of my life. I watched the dawn of the Arab Spring with amazement and a real sense of hope that perhaps once again that part of the world could be an example to the rest of us.
Say what you will of Greece being the cradle of democracy, it was in the lands of the Near East where civilization was birthed and nurtured.
As I watch the Egyptian people fight for a restoration of their rights after decades of near dictatorship, taking to the streets of Cairo in droves, I think back to their ancestors.
In those days learning was treasured. As they tried to make sense of their world they studied the one around them. From the Arab world and India came the concept of Zero (0), without which a base 10 system (used in most computers) would be impossible. The astrologers of the day gave birth to our own wonder at the heavens and the science of astronomy. In the movements of the stars, they noticed that some were fixed while some moved (planets).
In those days, *laughing* unlike ours, there was much complaint in other cultures about the independence of Egyptian women. That still holds today, as some of the most notable of the protesters are Egyptian women. Unlike so many other cultures, in almost all of their art, husbands and wives are pictured together, and ancient documents give testament to their devotion to each other. In most cases, women could hold any occupation they wished, including serving in the army. While not as 'liberal' as we are, they didn't need to be convinced of the value of women in society, it was simply accepted.
There are those who are afraid Egypt and the others will fall under the sway of the militants, but I remember how they stood up first to Mubarak, Gaddafi, etc., and now to the army. Tens of thousands gathered in the square to demand true liberty. Even if they fail, they will have inspired the next generation. After all, they inspired this one. Look at the folks gathered to Occupy Wall Street. It's the same movement, the same idea. And ideals...
Posted by Valerie Douglas at 11:36 AM