Thursday, February 17, 2011

No. 0979 YES WE CAN TOO!

If someone had told me two months ago that there were swarms of Egyptians out in the streets with brooms in their hands cleaning I would have looked at them with disbelief.

Yet today - in the post-Mubarak world - scenes like the below are a growing phenomenon, stretching all across Cairo and indeed perhaps the entire country.

Young people, taking to the streets. Taking responsibility. And not only cleaning up, but watering trees and landscaping the roadways.

Back in the Mubarak days, everyone saw the problems in the country and chose to lay the blame squarely at the feet of the government. Fair enough. The amazing thing in the post-Mubarak world however is that this blame seems to have been replaced by a much more proactive stance: "If you aren't going to fix it, then move over and let me do it!"

Perhaps it is the final change that is happening to the government that has inspired the youth to take to the streets. Or, perhaps, it is the fact that after Jan25 the youth have seen how much power they really have.

Either way, it is clear that "YES WE CAN" is a message most effective when it comes, not from an empty state-imposed dictum, but when it arises from the people themselves. A true "YES WE CAN" happens when citizens experience an awakening. Jolted from their sleep only to learn that the capabilities they sought outside themselves for so long had been there all along, within themselves.

Let's hope this is a lesson the Egyptian youth will carry into the future.

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