Egypt has become our ballad – a testimony before the world, crying out that we live

Israel/Palestine
on 9 Comments

As of late, watching US-based media awkwardly follow the uprising in Egypt has become nothing more than a maddening task; I have learned more in respect to the apathy of Washington than the alleged “chaos” in Egypt. I have watched a slew of pseudo-analysts and pundits bumble through names, political characters and the roles they play in the region; I cringe as Hamas, Hezb’Allah, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are now forced to share one cohesive identity, in spite of blatant disassociation.

The mainstream American media functions tirelessly to reinforce the dominant colonialist dogma constantly repeated during the occupations of both Afghanistan and Iraq – until it became a dry hum, masking a backdrop of wailing and screams.

Yet, despite all attempts being made to salvage the United States’ waning empire,the wings of the eagle are being clipped – in Egypt.

The United States of America now stands stark-naked – in all of its unashamed complicity, in all of its hegemonic cabal, in all of its depraved hypocrisy.

But, this is not about Washington – nor is it about the West. I refuse to grant them center-stage where they may take advantage of being cast as lead or even a supporting role when they are irrelevant. This is about the Arabs, as a people.The Arabs have suffered decades of oppression under the steel boot of colonialism, being forced into submission as pawns in the elusive game of Western hegemony – and over time unashamed apathy became their undoing.Their suffering was furthered by their detachment. They no longer resemble done another in character and dignity; each man becoming nothing more than aforeign entity to the other, divided and decayed.

Decades. Decades. Decades.

For years, arrogance was used to mask harrowing shame – a shame which wept of a homeland occupied, of a people partitioned, of a nation in darkness, of a language numb and powerless.

And they waited, the Arabs, for a single hero to rise.

And they waited.

But, one can only wait so long before slumber pulls at your eyelids, dragging you into a hellish coma – without virtue, armed with nothing more than a pillow of humiliation and a blanket of disgrace; a sleeping death.

The Arab youth became caged birds, creating lullabies for uprisings yet to come. And yet, it came. O’ God, it came at last.

The Tunisian trigger sent a shock-wave up the Arab spine, like a sharp thorn into their backs. And they awoke, in Egypt – where there are no negotiation tables,there are “peace-processes”, there are no meek and hesitant crowds. There is no circus of submitters who lay before dictators and prostrate so that they may eat, just a morsel, off the plate of temporary sustenance.

There is only defiance.

The dust beneath their feet wraps itself in batches, clinging softly to their skin in an act of worship.

I say to you, that no one will understand the cries of a generation lost nor could they understand that of a generation liberated, until they feel this crazed desperation run as deep as their veins. In the streets of Cairo we found our souls, safeguarded in the iron fists of revolutionaries – souls once lost and left idle amongst a valley of old memories long forgotten.

Egypt has become our ballad – a testimony before the world, crying out that we live and submit to the glory of the revolution.

O’ Revolutionary, they attempt to brand your uprising “chaos” as you stand cradling rocks in bloodied hands between heaven and earth; you are reclaiming our history – our past, present and future. O’ Revolutionary, you have awakened the Arab giant and your fragrance has lifted our spirits. I kiss the ground your feet have travelled, I lay my lips upon your head and cry out against the echoing gunshots. I offer you my tears in hopes that you may forgive me for my inability to stand beside you in rank. I wish only towipe your brow and kiss your hands, to taste but a drop of courage, to feel but an ounce of valor.

And now, I refuse to write our eulogy – that of the Arabs – on paper or in ink. I refuse to bury our future amongst the carcasses of wild animals left over from an orientalist wet-dream. I refuse to comply any longer, to remain an instrument in the political machinations which have lulled my people into apathy.

And now, I refuse to sleep.

O’ Revolutionary, I kiss the ground your feet have travelled, for it has given me life.

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American humanitarian activist. She is a an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science/Pre-Law and Journalism. She was a member of the Gaza Freedom March last December in Cairo.

About Roqayah Chamseddine

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9 Responses

  1. crone
    February 3, 2011, 11:09 am

    Roqayah said it all, and so eloquently, lyrically… what more can one say?

    One can only applaud.

  2. Jim Haygood
    February 3, 2011, 11:14 am

    ‘But, this is not about Washington – nor is it about the West. I refuse to grant them center-stage where they may take advantage of being cast as lead or even a supporting role when they are irrelevant.’

    Fair enough. But let’s note that two years after the US/European corporate bailouts injected enormous amounts of freshly-created liquidity into world markets, food prices have screamed higher. The UN’s FAO food price index rose 3.4% in January to a fresh record. This is the economic backdrop of developing world social unrest. An article about today’s FAO report:

    link to zerohedge.com

    Even as we speak, the US Federal Reserve continues a reckless, fraudulent policy of direct monetization of US Treasury debt, creating enormous inflationary pressures which are ravishing family budgets in poor countries.

    Not only US foreign policy, but its economic policy as well has been exposed as a spectacular failure.

    Will our Barack follow Mubarak and dismiss his cabinet? It would be a start …

  3. Avi
    February 3, 2011, 11:17 am

    I agree, Roqayah should write more often (If she can, of course).

  4. Taxi
    February 3, 2011, 11:25 am

    I am truly moved by this passionate and accurate summation of the Arab plight.

    “Decades. Decades. Decades.”

    Even though my heart is full of birdsong for the latest revolutionary developmental, I cannot help but feel so sad that some of my Arab friends who died in the name of freeing their Arab brothers and sisters, aren’t around to see the tremendous and promising changes taking place. I’m sad that quite a few of them passed away with a lump of sorrow and disappointment stuck in their throats.

    So in remembrance of all those brave ones who are no longer with us, I salute you too as I salute the wondrous living and very much alive Arab people across the lay of the land, whom today are demanding their dignity be given back to them unconditionally and immediately.

    R.I.P. all fallen soldiers of liberty.

    Hip hip to the victorious carriers of their torches.

  5. annie
    February 3, 2011, 11:42 am

    your words are poetry in motion roqarah

    dust beneath their feet wraps itself in batches,
    clinging softly to their skin in an act of worship.
    cries of a generation lost
    a generation liberated
    crazed desperation run as deep as their veins.
    In the streets of Cairo
    we found our souls,
    safeguarded in the iron fists of revolutionaries -
    souls once lost left idle amongst a valley of old memories long forgotten.

    Egypt has become our ballad – a testimony before the world,
    crying out we live and submit to the glory of the revolution.

    O’ Revolutionary,
    cradling rocks in bloodied hands between heaven and earth;
    you are reclaiming our history –
    past, present and future.

    O’ Revolutionary,
    you have awakened the Arab giant
    your fragrance has lifted our spirits.
    I kiss the ground your feet have travelled,
    I lay my lips upon your head
    cry out against the echoing gunshots.

    I offer you my tears in hopes
    forgive me
    my inability to stand beside you
    to wipe your brow
    kiss your hands,
    taste courage,
    to feel but an ounce of valor.

  6. virtual lab
    February 3, 2011, 12:04 pm

    A fragille blossom, early messenger,
    the abode of spring,
    unwelcome and knocked off by youtube

  7. seafoid
    February 3, 2011, 12:04 pm

    Yes it is wonderful but when the dust settles 40% of Egyptians will still be living on less than $2 per day. Changing the head of state won’t feed any babies or educate any teenagers or tackle runaway population growth .

    • Citizen
      February 3, 2011, 3:24 pm

      Likely won’t help the USA to change the head of state either; the trend of Americans on food stamps has been going up every year since our government got into wars in the Middle East, the “war on terror.” Currently 43 million Americans get foodstamps, or about 14%–1 in every 7 Americans. In other words, there are more Americans on food stamps than half the population of Egypt. link to npr.org

  8. yourstruly
    February 3, 2011, 12:26 pm

    from having been dreamless adrift the undertow

    to life on the ascending slopes of freedom’s majestic heights

    revolution just keeps giving

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