Christopher Dickey spoke with Nawal El Saadawi, an 80-year-old protester, about her refusal to go home when the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square turned violent. “They have a strategy to frighten us and to starve us,” she said.
Rami G. Khouri writes:
To appreciate what is taking place in the Arab world today you have to grasp the historical significance of the events that have started changing rulers and regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, with others sure to follow. What we are witnessing is the unraveling of the post-colonial order that the British and French created in the Arab world in the 1920s and 1930s and then sustained – with American and Soviet assistance – for most of the last half-century.
It is fascinating, if insular, to focus attention, as much Western media are doing, on whether Facebook drove these revolts; or to ask what will happen if the Muslim Brotherhood plays a role in any new Egyptian government. The Arabs are like a bride emerging on her wedding day to face people commenting on whether her shoes match her gloves, when the real issue is how beautiful and happy she is.
The events unfolding before our eyes in Egypt, after Tunisia, are the third most important historical development in the Arab region in the past century, and to miss that point is to perpetuate a tradition of Western Orientalist romanticism and racism that have been a large cause of our pain for all these years. This is the most important of the three major historical markers because it is the first one that marks a process of genuine self-determination by Arab citizens who can speak and act for themselves for the first time in their modern history.