These past few mornings I am not surprised to wake to news of revolution coming out of Egypt.
This news I had anticipated for a long time since I watched Egypt fall into Mubarak’s hands some thirty years ago. Watched as an ancient culture turned into an oppressed society ruled by nothing less than a dictatorship. My interest in Egypt is rooted in my own history, because Egypt could have easily become my home some forty years ago, when instead I chose the United States where women had a chance at equal rights.
As Cairo burns I think of the young Egyptian whom I met right after leaving my childhood home. I was all but eighteen when I arrived by train in one of Germany’s largest and cosmopolitan cities in the North. And there he was, as if waiting for me to disembark at the train station in Altona. To a blond girl with bright blue eyes, he seemed exotic in his dark-eyed beauty. Oddly enough, meeting him was no shocking surprise for I had learned to love the Pharaohs’ Egypt while studying their history throughout my teens.
There he was, my Egyptian prince – slender and dark with coal-black and wavy hair. And here I was with, as he described, ‘alabaster skin and the sky in my eyes and the sun caught in my hair.’ And yes we fell in love, for his studies had led him to Germany; and to him I was a part of his new life.
To be honest, I have not though about him much these forty years. He was the road I did not take because my fear of losing independence was too great. He was a modern man, but it was clear enough that if I followed him to his ancient land, as a woman, my life would be restricted by society. Some forty years ago, I walked away and chose a life of personal liberty.
Yet today, as Cairo burns, I wonder if he is there.
Are his children in those streets?
Are his sons and possibly his daughters among the brave who say ENOUGH?
And what of him?
And further more, will his people persevere and will Democracy come at last?
Or will history repeat itself and Egypt see a tragic end to revolution as Iran did in the Summer of 2009?