The recent events in the Arab world have rekindled the hope for democratic rule in the Middle East. History shows that most of these transitions were marked by violence and chaos. What really stands out in the case of Egypt is the protestors’ commitment to nonviolence – and their ability to overcome the fear of reprisal. I heard one man on the radio who expressed that he was no longer afraid for himself or his own family. For his what mattered was that Egypt as a nation came out stronger and that a democracy would be established.
I think Rabindranath Tagore’s poem is particularly apt for this occasion. This poem inspired many freedom activists in India during the struggle for independence. In many ways, the people of Egypt are struggling for independence from oppression today. I believe that such inspiration is important for a society’s future. Though it is still unclear about what sort of a future awaits the people of Egypt, I pray that these events lead to a truly vibrant, secular, and democratic Egypt – despite all the odds!
Where The Mind is Without Fear
WHERE the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
– Rabindranath Tagore