As some of you know, I am currently in New Zealand working on a memoir of my life in the 1960s and 70s. I had just finished the chapter on 1965 the year McGill erupted with the youth rebellion that had been spreading across the continent from Berkeley California when the people of Egypt rose up against a brutal dictatorship. That year taught me that things can change very quickly.
I am reminded again of how quickly everything can change. My last book was about of the 21st Century people's power focused on democracy and deeply influenced by the new ways of thinking and organizing created by the internet in general and social media in particular. In the first draft of Transforming Power I wrote about movements around the world particularly in Latin America and Europe but also in Africa and South Asia but I left out the Middle East even though I had been very active in the Palestinian rights movement and knew a fair bit about what was going on in Iraq and Iran.
At the time 2006/2007, I just didn't see much hope there. In a panel discussing an early draft of the book, Sunera Thobani, said "Judy, you have to write about the Middle East."
I realized she was right so I wrote about the amazing people I knew in both Palestine and Israel who were fighting for an end to the Israeli occupation and a way for the two peoples to live in peace and brotherhood but still I focused more on non-violence in that chapter than on the rise of social movements as I did in other chapters.
Only a few years later, the very elements that I describe in Transforming Power have erupted in a people's revolution across the Middle East, first in Iran then Tunisia and now Egypt. In addition, over the last couple of years, a movement of non-violent resistance has been spreading among Palestinians in both Palestine and Israel and is starting to attract more grass roots support.
There are many interesting articles analyzing the importance of the revolution in Egypt but the one that means most to me is this moving interview with Waseem Wagdi, an Egyptian living in London expressing his joy at what is transpiring in Egypt.
Thank you for reading this story…
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