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 24 February - 2 March 2011
Issue No. 1036
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Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875
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The young dream dreams
By Lubna Abdel-Aziz
..... and suddenly it was Spring in January! A faint perfume of rose petals permeated the air, and we breathed deeply, filling our lungs with the scent of freedom. The young beat their drums, sang their song and danced their dance, and we watched in awe, their triumphal procession. The valiant youth had taken their first step on the road to freedom and social justice, and a whole nation followed. Like the 'Pied Piper' the youth sang, and like the mice of Hamelin, the people came out, as in a trance They came from every nook and cranny, avenue and alley, from backstreets and trenches, from mountains and valleys Enraptured by the magic flute of their pied piper, their sonorous sounds filled the bluer than blue sky. They sang of beauty, of freedom, justice, equality, and above all they sang of love. Such was the night before the day. Such was the day broken hearts were restored, the day the sick were healed, the blind could see and the dumb could speak.
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Reflected in a pool of water in Cairo's city centre on a rainy day last week, the Egyptian flag is sold
Egypt had, once again, defined the outlines of civilization, while a dazzled world watched in awe and reverence. How did the young lead a whole nation to rise and revolt? This grassroots revolution of January 25, was only led by the young, but the faces in Tahrir Square and every other square throughout the land, were a beautiful mosaic of the population at large. Young and old, rich and poor, great and small, strong and weak, men and women, boys and girls, toddlers and infants, followed their pied piper, confident they will be delivered from the chains and shackles that were their destiny .
The power that the young possess, lies mostly in their innocent courage and positive attitude The young are filled with a sense of immortality. " No young man believes he shall ever die"; but rather that he will last forever. They are the invincible generation ," that shall outlast the sea, the earth, and all men". Like Faust, I cried: " Give me back my youth", and I was young again, and so was every Egyptian, filled with that positive attitude psychologists claim is the gift of all winners. With the passing of the years we allow doubt and insecurity to enter our hearts and chip away at the flow of positive energy of our "salad days"....but not today! Today, we will have none of the grim litany of realism. Its harsh limitations conflict with the infinite horizons of the dreamer. And the young still have dreams to dream, and hopes to fulfill.
Hope is the inseparable partner of our dreams, for" hope is but the dream of those that wake". It is the medicine for poverty, sickness, suffering and despair, How else could we bear the burdens of evil and injustice? That is not to say that the young never taste the bitter dregs of hopelessness. They have their moments of irrevocable sense of loss. Such moments lead to the high rate of suicide among the young who can be as fragile and vulnerable, as they are strong and invulnerable. When such moments are overcome, hope once again, "springs eternal in the human breast". Like a phoenix, they rise from the ashes, ready and able to tackle the battles ahead,
Besides a Positive Attitude, Courage and Hope, psychologists believe that Leadership is a gift endowed to the young. The talent of the leader is to inspire. If he can taste victory, so can his followers. The gift of leadership may have well been Hitler's only talent, but what a mighty talent it turned out to be! To those who lament a leaderless crowd, psychologists remind us that leaders ignite the fire, but it is the wind that dictates its direction. Crowds have a mind of their own. They have their own passion and motivation. Their power is unsurpassed. They can build or destroy mountains, at will. The leader becomes an idea, and nothing surpasses the power of an idea. Everyone in the crowd was a follower and a leader. Everyone was determined to seize their destiny, and then, " remould it nearer to the heart's desire."
Dreamers must put their dreams into action. When preparation is in place, it leads to confidence, The preparation of our youth is a salute to modern technology. It allowed the dream to take flight through the internet and spread like wildfire to every corner of the land.. Focused and well organized, the torch was lit in an eternal flame that led our nation to victory, and above all, to Freedom, that aphrodisiac for man and beast.
Hope for a rosy future is in our genes, according to prominent anthropologist Lionel Tiger. In his book, "The Biology of Hope", Tiger claims that, " in our ancestral hunter- gathering societies, there was an adaptive benefit to feelings of optimism". These feelings were retained in our DNA, blinding us in our early years, to the realities of a life often unjust and unfair. Tiger concludes that "Hope is the true opiate of the people."
The irony is, that Freedom is not free. In fact its price can be more than excessive, when it is the spilled blood of the innocent, passionate, fearless youth. Our tears for the fallen will never dry. One is often overcome by the shame of sitting idle, and sending our young and pure of heart to fight our wars and die for our causes. The fallen of Tahrir Square have a whole nation kneeling in prayer and gratitude, while pain and remorse will forever abide in their hearts.
As we attempt to wipe away the flood of tears, let us take an oath, to hang on to our dreams. Let us live the life of the young, let us nurture and preserve their dreams, let us wash away every trace of apathy and lassitude. Let us live their lives and die their deaths, no matter how long we may live.
It is Spring again, and in Spring the thoughts of the young turn to love. We are all young again and we are all in love with our new found freedom.
Hail to the young Egyptians who have built the greatest monument of our modern era, who have written a new and momentous page in the glorious history of a land called Egypt.
In war, the strong make slaves of the weak;
In peace, the rich make slaves of the poor.
-- Oscar Wilde (1854 -- 1900)
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