Saturday, February 12, 2011

History in the Making - a Ramble

We're watching the people of Egypt make history right now. Hosni Mubarak, the president who ruled the country for thirty years under an unending state of emergency, is gone. Gone largely without bloodshed, without fighting, without pointing of fingers or mass arrests or urban panic or violence spilling over into neighboring countries. Even the voices of radical Islam have been largely silent. A few people rose up and said, We are ready. We want Mubarak gone. And others joined them, and still others, until their voices could not be silenced.

And now Mubarak is gone.

How many times has this happened in the Middle East? How many times has this happened anywhere?

Of course, we make history every day, and watch it made before our eyes. When I sell my house, it's history. When you send a letter or an email to your friend in another state or country explaining how the recession has affected you, it's history. When your car spins on the ice and blocks traffic in the middle of the worst winter storm to hit North Texas in living memory, it's history. When a soldier leaves for Iraq, or gets shot at, or comes home, it's history. When the Superbowl comes to D/FW, it's history.

Of course, there are some events we can watch unfolding, or take part in if we're in the right place at the right time, and know we are participating in what will be known as a big, historic Event. The men who marched east into Russia with Napoleon knew they were part of such an Event. The men of the Union Army who shouldered arms as the Confederates filed past and stacked theirs at Appomattox Court House knew they were part of such an Event. So did the men and women watching the Japanese planes fly away from Pearl Harbor, and the men and women who with hammers and picks and earthmovers dismantled the Berlin Wall.

We are now watching such an Event unfold in Egypt.

Is it over? Not by a long shot. But for the first time in thirty years, the people of Egypt can go to their beds tonight knowing that tomorrow will be different than yesterday.

This could end badly for Egypt, and for the Middle East, and for Africa, and for the West. But it could end spectacularly well. Right now, none of us knows. But I, for one, am eager to find out.

What an exciting time to be alive!

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