A siren song is this Cairo freedom fire, the Tunisian spark now a roaring flame.
A new Mecca in Tahrir Square.
I close my eyes and wander to the city of my birth, and I'm just eight years old in the helio-polis my Armenian family called home, playing in the Cairo sands, my father's 1940s Studebaker winding up the road to the Pyramids. And I'm now back in this moment, wondering, what exactly is this social media liberation hour we're in? The words come like this:
regime jam, the people's tram
stronger than the aswan dam
pyramid scheme a nation's dream a peoples' stream
grab your hat, don your fez
caravan down to old Suez
who cares what the empire says
millions jammin in high rez
social media social change
regime jam Arabia!
When life makes a mockery of prediction, you have to tilt your head a bit, squint your eyes to see straight. Dictators fall as they must, but this fresh Cairo breeze was so unexpected, a million strong gust for freedom. Stunning.
One peoples' liberation is potentially everyone's, and actually so. Egyptian courage gives us courage, we re-imagine daring, and we consider fresh responses to the tyranny of globalized greed and excess.
Meanwhile, what's waning worldwide is secrecy itself, as peoples' will to freedom rides social media's ease in communicating, planning, and gathering. Egypt's revolution is humanity's. And as a revolution enhanced by social media before the state silenced them, the Cairo scenario begs a question.
Are we witnessing the emergence of a new fundamental human right -- the right of citizens to connect via social media -- the digital right to communicate? Does any nation that disrupts or suspends the people's right to communicate by this most democratic of means thus not suspend its own legitimacy?
And consider the fate of the children of the entire Arab world. Can this "Berlin wall moment" of the Middle East bring down the fundamentalist veil of gender oppression and religious intolerance? New support for the rights of all women to self-determination can torch the age-old patriarchal coercion that also keeps children cowed to obedience.
Coercion vs. volition, this primary human choice colours early years experience and can shape misguided belief systems or, of course, quite the contrary. Secure in our being, we can learn to celebrate life's diversity; we can revel in the basics that delight: the delicious foods that sustain families and enliven community, the hot drinks that bring us together, and the stories that keep us through the night and return us to work and play each morning.
We humans were not created for obedience. We are made for creativity, and early on our unbounded spirits dare to sing our own song, our childhood imaginings form original futures in thought, word and deed.
Egypt's jump for joy ends the fear of its ruling despot and the power behind him. One can only hope U.S. foreign policy stops its prop-the-dictator balance of power antics very soon.
We're in a whole new geopolitical era, one with great promise amidst the turbulence, one that calls for new individual rights and new global priorities. The more freedom people have to self-determination and fulfillment of their basic needs, the better our chances of survival as a species.
A new basic right is "the right to a future" for Earth and Child -- for both our warming planet and her children scattered on all the lands called home. The right to a viable future is like a beacon to light universal human needs and hopes in this pivotal time for civilization.
Egyptian courage emboldens the region and the world. Let the song of Egypt's liberty ring in our ears. Her sun is ours.
Raffi Cavoukian, C.M., O.B.C., founder and chair of the Centre for Child Honouring, is best known as Raffi -- singer, author, children's champion, ecology advocate, and entrepreneur. Member of the Order of Canada, Raffi is the recipient of numerous awards including the UN Earth Achievement Award, the Global 500 Roll, and two honorary degrees. His renaissance as a systems thinker includes the anthology he co-edited, Child Honouring: How To Turn This World Around (2006) and two recent companion CDs of motivational songs: Resisto Dancing, and Communion. Click here to learn more about his work.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.