January 25th. This day, one year ago, this date became a global symbol of a wave of change that reached out across from Arab nations, to the Eurozone, the Americas, Asia and places across the globe where once silent voices learnt to roar. January 25th, the day Egyptians took to the streets, the day Tahrir Square became a physical and psychological home for millions seeking a future in their homeland, and the day the world’s cameras put the zoom lens on the seeds of global revolution.
One year on, and the power of the people is redefining the people in power, in political, economic and religious centres across the world, redefining where nations are going.
Defining ‘next’, however, begs the question: where are we now?
Changes are underway in nations that had their foundations shaken and shattered in 2011. Once again, Egypt provides a global window through which to view progress and potential of the region. As happened smoothly in Tunisia at the end of 2011, slowly, step by step, the political processes are unfolding, with Egyptians now standing up and stepping forward to make their mark on the new blueprint of the nation. Temperatures have risen, tempers have flared and tests to stability of the process have occurred. Still, slowly, slowly, the process moves forward.
If 2011 taught us anything, it is this: democracy demands participation, revolution demands patience, leadership demands faith, and revolution demands taking responsibility. These truisms cannot be left behind as part of last year’s learnings.
Why? Because the revolutions that occurred in 2011 were not the end, they were only the beginning. And, importantly, there is no guarantee of their outcomes.
The millions who took to the streets in Egypt year ago, swiftly and successfully overthrowing their well-entrenched ruler of over 30 years, now look to the future questioning what will become of their country should the democracy that they fought for vote in leaders that they did not put their ‘X’ beside. What will happen to freedoms of expression, participation, recreation and identity? What if moving forward ends up taking us back?
The same questions can be posed when looking across the globe at other locations of protest. What if the 1% step back and let the 99% take the reins? Are the 99% prepared to deal with the ‘what next?’ Are the Greeks prepared to start paying taxes? Are the Americans prepared to stop living off of credit card based wealth. Are watchful eyes observing illogical financial activity prepared to give their grey hair and gut feelings a voice?
Clearly, protesting is one thing. Participating is quite another.
Across the map, through 2012 , the path to reform, recovery and real stability is just starting to show its first footprints. With each step, careful consideration of consequences is critical. A new rhythm will be found, one that feels right. Especially if we all stand up and face the music.
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2012