From minute-by-minute coverage on Arabic channels to conversations from Iraq to Morocco, the Middle East watched breathlessly at a moment as compelling as any in the Arab world in a lifetime. For the first time in a generation, Arabs seem to be looking again to Egypt for leadership, and that sense of destiny was voiced throughout the day.
“I tell the Arab world to stand with us until we win our freedom,” said Khaled Yusuf, a cleric from Al Azhar, a once esteemed institution of religious scholarship now beholden to the government. “Once we do, we’re going to free the Arab world.”
For decades, the Arab world has waited for a savior — be it Gamal Abdel-Nasser, the charismatic Egyptian president, or even, for a time, Saddam Hussein. No one was waiting for a savior on Wednesday. Before nearly three decades of accumulated authority — the power of a state that can mobilize thousands to heed its whims — people had themselves.
“I’m fighting for my freedom,” Noha al-Ustaz said as she broke bricks on the curb. “For my right to express myself. For an end to oppression. For an end to injustice.”
“Go forward,” the cries rang out, and she did, disappearing into a sea of men.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Egypt's Democratic Revolt - from Tahrir Square, Anthony Shadid
In his customary flawless, lyrical style, and with long experience on the "Arab street" - in Baghdad and Beirut, as well as Cairo, Anthony Shadid writes of Wednesday's battles in Tahrir Square, and its meaning across much of the Arab world:
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