Lessons from Egypt

Dear God, Please bless and protect the people of Egypt. May there be a miracle there. Amen~Marianne Williamson

I have been moved. I have been transformed.  I  have been changed.

What haschanged me you ask?  The people of Egypt.

Their  bravery, warmth, wisdom and humanity have transformed  the world. Everyday I sit amazed  watching  Christian and Muslim, rich and poor, young and old come together..its beautiful and inspiring. I spent time in Egypt in the Fall of 2009.I took the picture of this young Egyptian girl during my time in country. I think of her often, especially during these turbulent times.  I have fond memories of a beautiful country with warm, loving people . They were working hard to make  a better life for themselves and their families. Just like they are doing today.

So like then – when I worked besides Egyptians to help families build safe shelter- I am learning many important life lessons.

 

Lesson #1

People will work hard to accomplish almost any task if they feel respected, cared about, trusted, and have been provided the necessary training. Care, respect, knowledge and trust remain the vital keys in mobilizing people. Those amazing folks in Tarir square respect one another. They guard over each other as they pray. They feed each other when hungry  and they trust each other to stand side by side and fight the good fight as long as it take, no matter what. They have used social media to train and educate themselves about organizing and demonstrating. This moment in time has allowed Egyptians to become clear about what is truly important. It has allowed them to clarify what they stand for. They are affirming their values through action.

Lesson #2

Once people see that creativity and genuine participation will not be crushed, they will mobilize themselves.They will be inspired to do more.  They will use their authentic voice to paint a new vision. Local community people are protesting and organizing  and participating. Local community leaders (whether they hold a title or not) are integral  for any project to be a success. These protesters are empowering individuals to collaborate and succeed.Protesting inspires this shared vision  for new leadership. Inspiring a vision is an iterative process that must be repeated constantly. Everyday the hundreds of thousands of protesters do that for me and for themselves.

Lesson #3

Egyptians have taught me that you must give away your power to get power.  There are no stand out leaders. No big name. No one designated leader ( with a big “L”) There are bloggers, and community leaders and average Egyptians utilizing SMS and twitter to share their stories and their voices. These people are  stepping up and help to organize but the real power belongs to the people.  The average Egyptian. I see all of their contributions being acknowledged. The group of Christian men standing  guard over their Muslim neighbors while they do evening prayer. The groups of average citizens  standing guard over the museums and the precious antiquities. The soldier standing shoulder to shoulder with protesters in prayer.  They tell inspirational stories with a human face. They are all powerful.

 

As I write this violence has broken out and the peaceful protest are no more.  I pray for both the oppressed and the oppressors. I pray that  they receive a miracle.  To the million of Egyptians standing up- know that many of us around the world stand with you.

What you seek Egypt,you already are.

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