I was born again on #Jan25. So was Egypt.
I am only 22 years old, and Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt with an iron fist for my entire life. But during the protests, I saw a new Egypt emerging – my Egypt. Men didn’t deal with me as a woman but as a fellow citizen. In place of the normal class and religious divisions, I only saw acceptance.
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Where I might have normally seen division according to class, gender, and religion, I only saw acceptance and understanding. For the first time in my life, men didn’t deal with me as a woman but as a fellow citizen. That sense of unity still doesn’t cease to impress me. It was as though everyone suddenly had an epiphany and discovered they were all Egyptians.Skip to next paragraph
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This is my Egypt. And I feel it’s my Egypt for the first time – a feeling shared by millions of Egyptians who took part in this revolution. This newfound freedom and sense of ownership resulted in an unprecedented sense of individual ethical responsibility. People’s morals and behaviors literally changed overnight. Verbal harassment stopped, as well as littering in the street – two widespread behaviors Egyptians used to complain about. The shift was noticeable in even people’s basic interactions. Everyone was especially polite, as if to prove a point: We’ll do everything we can to make this revolution succeed.
With peaceful revolution, 'impossible is nothing'
A new spirit was born out of the events of the last three weeks. If it can be summarized in one sentence: “Impossible is nothing.” Ordinary people felt their power for the first time, and the sense of empowerment was overwhelmingly palpable. Millions of Egyptians now believe that if they were able to overthrow a dictator who had been ruling for 30 years and change the entire regime in 18 days, they can simply do anything. A new spirit of optimism and hope is swaying the country. I have never felt anything like it in my life.
In seeking their freedom, Egyptians were able to gain the world’s respect and admiration as well, by showing an astounding ability to adhere to the principles of civic responsibility, respect, and peacefulness. The civility of the revolution surprised the world and challenged many of the Western stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims being dogmatic and anti-democratic. During the protests, not a single church or mosque was attacked, despite police absence. “Revolutionaries” made it a point to keep their activities peaceful until the very end, asserting and reasserting that the demonstration was selmeya – peaceful. After the protests ended, in a rare post-revolutionary scene, protesters actually made sure to clean all the streets and even painted the pavements and walls.
I feel so blessed to be of this generation, the generation who not only made this change possible, but also led it. Today I feel I am Egyptian and proud. I feel liberated. I don’t exaggerate when I say that I feel born again, because Egypt, indeed, has been born again. Something in the Egyptian psyche, the Egyptian mind, heart, and soul has changed – hopefully for good. We discovered a new Egypt and a new “us”.